Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On CIA Interference with Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Investigation
March 11, 2014
I commend Chairman Feinstein for speaking so forcefully in defense of the indispensable role that Congress plays under our Constitution in overseeing the executive branch, and in particular the intelligence community. Chairman Feinstein described a troubling pattern of interference and intimidation by the CIA that raises serious questions about possible violations of the Constitution and our criminal laws. This only compounds the grave concerns I have had for years about the underlying conduct that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating: the torture of detainees during the previous administration. I fully support Chairman Feinstein’s efforts to seek declassification of her committee’s report on the CIA detention and interrogation program.
This is not just about getting to the truth of the CIA’s shameful use of torture. This is also about the core founding principle of the separation of powers, and the future of this institution and its oversight role. The Senate is bigger than any one Senator. Senators come and go, but the Senate endures. The members of the Senate must stand up in defense of this institution, the Constitution, and the values upon which this nation was founded.
I applaud Chairman Feinstein for her work on this matter, and will continue to support her efforts. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Department of Justice, I will work to ensure that the Senate’s constitutional role is respected and protected.
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