Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pat Leahy: You're funny, Al, but not haha funny.

At today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Department of Justice, Chairman Patrick Leahy questions Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the details regarding a Canadian citizen sent to Syria to be tortured.

GONZALES: I think General Ashcroft confirmed this publicly, that there were assurances sought that he would not be tortured from Syria.

LEAHY: Attorney General... (derisive chuckle) ... I'm sorry. I don't mean to treat this lightly. We knew damn well, if he went to Canada, he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held. He'd be investigated.

We also knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured.

You know, and I know, that has happened a number of times, in the past five years, by this country. It is a black mark on us. It has brought about the condemnation of some of our closest and best allies. They have made those comments both publicly and privately to the president of the United States and others.

And it is easy for us to sit here comfortably in this room knowing that we're not going to be sent off to another country to be tortured, to treat it as though, well, Attorney General Ashcroft says we've got assurances.

Assurances from a country that we also say, now, we can't talk to them because we can't take their word for anything?

GONZALES: Well, Senator, I...

LEAHY: I'm somewhat upset.

GONZALES: Yes, sir, I can tell. But before you get more upset, perhaps you should wait to receive the briefing...

LEAHY: How long?

GONZALES: I'm hoping that we can get you the information next week.

LEAHY: Well, Attorney General, I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll meet you halfway on this. I'll wait next week for that briefing. If we don't get it, I guarantee you there will be another hearing on this issue.

Canadians have been our closest allies -- longest unguarded frontier in the world. They're justifiably upset. They're wondering what's happened to us. They're wondering what's happened to us.

Now, you know and I know, we're a country with a great, great tradition of protecting people's individual liberties and rights. You take an oath of office to do that; I take an oath of office to do that.

I believe, in my basic core nature, in that. My grandparents, when they immigrated to this country, believed that. Let us not create more terrorism around the world by telling the world that we cannot keep up to our basic standards and beliefs.

So I'll wait a week. I'll wait a week, but I won't wait more than a week for that briefing.

1 comment:

Mr. X said...

I <3 Patrick Leahy.