Conyers sends out invitations to a great party

House Judiciary Committee chair wants some answers about who authorized torture and when.

By Steve Benen

Published April 11, 2008 9:48PM (EDT)

The likelihood of this actually happening are about as strong as John McCain picking me as his running mate, but it would be quite a party.

Earlier this week, House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) invited John Yoo to testify before the committee on May 6th about the infamous legal memos on torture that he issued while with the Department of Justice. If Yoo did not want to appear, Conyers wrote, then the panel would subpoena him.

Now Conyers, following up on the reports in the last couple of weeks about the role of top administration officials in authorizing the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques including waterboarding, has invited a slew of current and former officials to testify at the hearing. Among those invited are former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former CIA Director George Tenet, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, Chief of Staff to the Vice President David Addington, and former Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin, who headed up the Office of Legal Counsel for a brief time.

As Conyers explained, "New and troubling allegations suggest that the decisions on torture came from the highest levels of government. These reports, if true, represent a stain on our democracy. The American people deserve to hear directly from those involved."

Well, sure, of course we deserve to hear directly from those involved. But as David Kurtz noted, "Not seeing that happening without subpoenas, executive privilege claims and a few trips to court."

At a minimum, Conyers is thinking along the right lines.

Steve Benen

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