WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to compel a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney to testify to the committee about the Bush administration's interrogation practices.
David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, refused to testify without a subpoena. No date has been set for his appearance before Congress.
Addington is one of several lawyers believed to have played a key role in crafting the administration's interrogation policies shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, policies which some say amounted to torture.
John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote a now-repudiated memo allowing the harsh interrogations of military prisoners agreed late Monday to testify to Congress about those practices, averting a subpoena. Yoo is now a law professor at University of California-Berkeley.
Yoo's memo, dated March 14, 2003, outlines a legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics against al-Qaida and Taliban detainees overseas -- so long as they did not specifically intend to torture their captives.
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and former Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin have also agreed to give testimony at a future hearing. Former CIA Director George Tenet is still in negotiations with the committee, according to House Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Melanie Roussell.
The Judiciary Committee hearings are meant to determine what role administration lawyers played in creating and approving interrogation procedures that went far beyond those traditionally used by U.S. forces, and whether any of them violated their legal or ethical obligations, said Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.