The Call for a Non-Partisan Investigation

The Brennan Center produced a proposal for an independent commission of inquiry to examine recent counter-terrorism policies that may have violated the rule of law.

April 7, 2009

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Proposal for an Independent Commission

The Brennan Center produced a proposal for an independent commission of inquiry to examine recent counter-terrorism policies that may have violated the rule of law. The commission would be charged with learning the full truth about policies such as “enhanced” interrogation techniques, extraordinary rendition, and warrantless wiretapping. Just as important as determining what happened, the commission would examine how and why it happened, including any institutional failures that contributed to the problem. And it would answer the question of whether these departures from the rule of law really made us safer—or whether they in fact made us less safe.

Click here to read the proposal.


Testimony

Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., Brennan Center's Chief Counsel, testified before Congress on three occasions, calling for a non-partisan commission to investigate potential violations of the rule of law in counter-terrorism policy. Click on a link below to read or watch his testimony.

  • Schwarz before Sen. Leahy's (D-VT) hearing, "Getting to the Truth Through a Nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry." (3/4/09) Click here.
  • Schwarz before the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property rights on Restoring the Rule of Law. (9/16/08) Click here.
  • Schwarz before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations." (7/25/08) Click here.

Our Advocacy

  • "Abuse revelations demand an inquiry," Boston Globe, by Elizabeth Goitein (08/05/09) Click here.
  • "Investigating Bush: the political consequences," LA Times "Dust Up," by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (3/13/09) Click here.
  • "A Bush 'truth commission': the pros and cons," LA Times "Dust Up," by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (3/12/09) Click here.
  • "A 'truth commission' for Bush?," LA Times "Dust Up," by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (3/11/09) Click here.
  • "More on a Commission of Inquiry," Daily Kos, by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (3/31/09) Click here.
  • "After Leahy’s Hearing ... A Response," Daily Kos, by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (3/12/09) Click here.
  • "After Leahy’s Hearing on a Commission of Inquiry," Daily Kos, by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (3/9/09) Click here.
  • "A Commission of Inquiry: Not Criminalizing Policy Differences", Huffington Post, by Elizabeth Goitein (3/6/09) Click here.
  • "Accountability...and Its Opposite", Huffington Post, by Elizabeth Goitein (2/13/09) Click here.