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12 July 2009 

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US Attorney General Considers Torture Probe

12 July 2009

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 25 Jun 2009
US Attorney General Eric Holder (File)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate interrogation practices during the administration of George W. Bush.

Such a move would put the attorney general at odds with President Barack Obama. The U.S. president has repeatedly expressed a reluctance about a probe into the previous administration's actions, saying the nation should be looking forward, not backward.

The proposed investigation would focus in part on whether CIA personnel tortured terrorism suspects after Sept. 11, 2001. Holder has said those who acted within the government's legal guidance would not be prosecuted, but he has left open the possibility of pursuing those who went beyond the guidance and broke the law.

Republican lawmakers expressed concern Sunday about the possibility of probe.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Senator John Cornyn (Texas) said such an investigation could have a chilling effect on the intelligence community. 

And, on the program Meet the Press, Senator John McCain (Republican - Arizona) said he is against the idea of a probe. He said he did not see what could be gained by calling more attention to practices that are already known to have taken place and that many, himself included, have fought against.

Presidential aides are concerned that an investigation into Bush-era abuses could cause partisan bickering and create a distraction to Mr. Obama's legislative agenda.

Media reports say Holder's decision could come within weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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