Mukasey Can't Dodge Torture, Spying Questions

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Nov 2, 2007, 5:12:21 PM11/2/07


Senators must insist Mukasey denounce acts of torture.

*_Demand Your Senator Gets Real Answers.

Dear Friend,

President Bush has gone on the offensive for the confirmation of Michael
Mukasey, his nominee for attorney general. His tactic? Calling any
senator who insists Mukasey give */real /*answers to questions on
torture and wiretapping -- you guessed it -- soft on terrorism.

Having served as a top federal prosecutor and judge, Michael Mukasey is
perhaps the best-qualified nominee for attorney general in history to
answer the questions he has been asked by senators.

Yet when it comes to straightforward questions, like whether
waterboarding (simulated drowning) is torture, and even whether it is
legal for foreign governments to beat and administer electric shocks to
American soldiers overseas^(1) , Mukasey won’t give straightforward
answers. Until he gives real answers, it is impossible for senators to
fully exercise their constitutional duty to "advise and consent" on the
Mukasey nomination.

*_Take Action: Senators Must Insist Mukasey Denounce Acts of Torture.

Mukasey has not only refused to state whether waterboarding is torture
when authorized by the U.S. government, but he also _refused to say
whether it is illegal for foreign countries to commit acts such as
waterboarding, electric shocks, beatings, head slaps, and induced
hypothermia on Americans._ Senators must hold off with Mukasey’s
nomination unless he clearly states that tactics like waterboarding and
electric shocks are torture. And Mukasey needs to commit to enforce our
nation’s anti-torture laws, regardless of who is ordering or carrying
out torture.

*_Take Action: Senators Must Insist Mukasey Denounces Acts of Torture.

As the top law enforcement official in the country, the attorney general
is supposed to enforce the law, not equivocate and dance around
clear-cut legal issues. Yet Mukasey has evaded straight answers -- not
only on torture -- but on eavesdropping as well. Under his theory, any
restrictions on unfettered spying that Congress passes may be
meaningless, since Mukasey believes the president has the power to
engage in domestic wiretapping without a warrant and outside the law.

Mukasey's answers to these questions reveal a more fundamental and
troubling problem in his views on the scope of executive power. If an
attorney general, whose mission is to enforce the law, believes the
President has the power to disregard the law, our constitutional balance
of powers is in peril.

Efforts to bring spying in line with the Constitution, to stop torture
and abuse, and to get to the bottom of potential crimes by top federal
officials, like former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, all depend on
an attorney general that will enforce the law.

*_Take Action: Senators Must Insist Mukasey Denounces Acts of Torture.

Thank you for your continued involvement.


Caroline Fredrickson, ACLU
Caroline Fredrickson, Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

_1. "Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing for Nomination of Judge Mukasey
as Attorney General, Day Two"
source: The Washington Post

© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10004


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