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House speaker claims CIA misled Congress on use of harsh interrogation techniques

[JURIST] Speaker of the US House of Representatives [official website] Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) [official website] said Thursday that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] misled Congress about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques [JURIST news archive] during the Bush administration. Pelosi, the former top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee [official website], said that CIA officials had explicitly said that they were not using [AP report] the controversial waterboarding [JURIST news archive] technique. Pelosi did concede that she had learned in 2003 that harsh techniques were being employed but defended her decision not to speak up over security concerns. Pelosi renewed calls for an independent "truth commission" [Reuters report] to investigate alleged abuses committed during the Bush administration.

On Wednesday, the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts [official website] held the first hearing [materials; JURIST report] on whether Bush administration interrogation techniques constituted torture. The recent release of four CIA interrogation memos [JURIST report] has renewed calls for the criminal prosecution of the memos' authors. Last month, UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] said that the US must prosecute [JURIST report] DOJ lawyers who drafted the memos. US President Barack Obama has said that he would not rule out the possibility of prosecuting [transcript; JURIST report] lawyers responsible for authoring the memos. Obama had previously said that he would not pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators [statement], a pledge which drew sharp international criticism [JURIST report].

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