White House opposes independent commission to investigate Bush policies

White House opposes independent commission to investigate Bush policies

[JURIST] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the Obama administration opposes the formation of an independent commission to investigate Bush administration interrogation techniques. During a press conference aboard Air Force One on Wednesday, Gibbs said that the president had not left the door open to a commission [press briefing] "because what he's saying – he was asked, what about these commissions, and he said if Congress were to decide to set one up, it has to be done outside of the realm of politics." On Thursday, Gibbs clarified that statement [press briefing] by saying that after internal White House discussion, "the President determined that the concept [of an independent commission] didn't seem altogether that workable in this case" and that there was no evidence that the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] would not be able to handle the investigation.

In February, chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profile; JURIST news archive] called for the creation of a truth commission [JURIST report] to investigate the national security policies of the Bush administration. The committee held a hearing [JURIST report] on the formation of a truth commission in March. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website] has said that the Senate Intelligence Committee should first be allowed to complete an ongoing investigation.