WASHINGTON — Three U.S. senators urged President Barack Obama in a letter Wednesday not to prosecute Bush-era government lawyers who declared harsh interrogation tactics widely seen as torture to be legal.
"In the interest of national security, it is the future, rather than the past, on which we believe America's gaze must be fixed," said Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, as well as Joseph Lieberman, an independent. [Editor's Note: See the Full text of the letter - go here now]
The senators' letter came one day after Obama left the door open to prosecuting the authors of newly released memoranda that declared harsh tactics, like the controlled drowning known as "waterboarding," to be legal.
"Pursuing such prosecutions would, we believe, have serious negative effects on the candor with which officials in any administration provide their best advice, and would take our country in a backward-looking direction at a time when our detainee-related challenges demand that we look forward," they said.
The lawmakers, who also opposed the creation of a commission to look into controversial "war on terrorism" tactics of the past eight years, said they opposed the harsh tactics and found some of the legal reasoning to be wrong.
"Providing poor legal advice is always undesirable," they said, "but that is a quite a different matter from making legal advice with which we may disagree into a crime."
The senators, noting that U.S. forces still hold prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, warned against proposals to create a commission to investigate U.S. tactics since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"We have every interest in looking forward to solutions, not backward to recriminations. That is why we do not support the idea of a commission that would focus on the mistakes of the past," they said.
See the Full text of the letter - go here now
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