End DOJ’s Unwarranted Investigations of CIA Interrogators

WASHINGTON — In light of the vital role that our nation’s intelligence community played in gathering intelligence to end the reign of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today led 34 of his Republican colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama urging him end the U.S. Department of Justice’s unwarranted investigations of CIA interrogators whose cases had been formally closed after thorough consideration by career federal prosecutors. The full text of the letter is below:

May 12, 2011

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

Last week, we welcomed your news that justice has finally been served on Osama bin Laden, nearly a decade after al Qaeda carried out the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 under his leadership. Since then, we have learned more about the vital role that our nation’s intelligence community played in gathering the critical information that enabled this hugely successful operation. We commend you, President Bush, and all the national security professionals whose tremendous efforts ended the reign of this terrorist mastermind.

These Americans have our thanks and admiration, and our nation should honor them for their selfless service. Therefore, we find it extremely troubling that your Attorney General is apparently continuing to pursue charges against some of them for their actions during the previous administration. Specifically, we are referring to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) inappropriate and unjustified investigation – and potential future prosecution – of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) professionals who interrogated specific detainees at overseas locations.

As you know, in August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder reopened investigations of several of these CIA interrogators. Their cases had been formally closed by 2007 after thorough consideration by federal prosecutors, who declined to seek grand jury indictments. At that time, in protest of the Attorney General’s decision, seven former CIA directors, spanning multiple Administrations, wrote to you urging you to end these investigations, based on the detrimental impact it could have on our intelligence efforts. Now, after bin Laden’s death, the American people face the reality that these CIA interrogators – whose work materially contributed to the successful operation against bin Laden – continue to be persecuted by the very government they honorably serve, on allegations for which they have previously been cleared.

According to press reports, officials in your Administration now recognize that key intelligence used to find bin Laden was obtained at least in part through the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which you subsequently prohibited. In a recent interview with NBC Nightly News, CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledged that the bin Laden operation involved “a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation… Clearly some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees...” Director Panetta confirmed that “they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of those detainees.”

We call on you to finally end the DOJ’s unwarranted investigations of CIA interrogators, whose work led to one of the most defining moments of the Global War on Terror. These Americans did their jobs at the direction of the President of the United States. Punishing them for their actions, which likely saved lives by helping avert other terrorist attacks, will continue to have a chilling effect on the critical work of their colleagues and other national security professionals in the U.S. Government. Our nation cannot afford these politically motivated investigations to continue.


John Cornyn, United States Senator
Roy Blunt, United States Senator
Jeff Sessions, United States Senator
Saxby Chambliss, United States Senator
Richard Burr, United States Senator
John Boozman, United States Senator
Lindsey Graham, United States Senator
John Barrasso, United States Senator
Mike Enzi, United States Senator
John Hoeven, United States Senator
James E. Risch, United States Senator
James Inhofe, United States Senator
Mitch McConnell, United States Senator
Rob Portman, United States Senator
Jerry Moran, United States Senator
Dean Heller, United States Senator
Lamar Alexander, United States Senator
Ron Johnson, United States Senator
Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States Senator
Mark Kirk, United States Senator
Dan Coats, United States Senator
John Thune, United States Senator
Mike Johanns, United States Senator
Roger Wicker, United States Senator
Mike Crapo, United States Senator
Kelly Ayotte, United States Senator
Orrin Hatch, United States Senator
David Vitter, United States Senator
Chuck Grassley, United States Senator
Marco Rubio, United States Senator
Mike Lee, United States Senator
Johnny Isakson, United States Senator
Pat Roberts, United States Senator
Bob Corker, United States Senator


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