Brennan Center Urges President Obama to Appoint Investigatory Commission

February 19, 2009

For Immediate Release:


Contact: Susan Lehman, (212) 998-6318
Jeanine Plant-Chirlin, (212) 998-6289 or (646) 265-7721

Generals, Diplomats and Clergy Join Forces with the Brennan Center in Quest for Truth

Today, the Brennan Center for Justice joined experts from the military, religious, diplomatic and human rights communities in urging President Obama to appoint a non-partisan, investigatory commission to examine the post-9/11 detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees.

Among the first, most ardent proponents of a fact-finding venture, the Brennan Center has pushed for an independent, non-partisan commission to explore and expose violations of the rule of law in counter-terrorism policies in testimony before both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees last summer. The full proposal is here.

"Our self-correcting mechanism is one of the great strengths of our democracy," Brennan Center Chief Counsel Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. said. "It is time for such a searching assessment and self-correction again."

Leading experts calling for the commission include a former FBI director, an Army General who investigated detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, and a former Under Secretary of State.

"We hope that President Obama listens to these prominent experts and to the concerns of most Americans who, according to a recent poll, support an investigation into policies relating to detention, interrogation, warrantless wiretapping, and other abuses," said Liza Goitein, Director of the Brennan Center's Liberty and National Security Project.

Mr. Schwarz or Ms. Goitein are available to talk about the necessity for an endeavor motivated by the quest for truth rather than vengeance. To arrange an interview, please contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212-998-6289 or jeanine.plant-chirlin@nyu.edu.

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