A new proposal for a commission to review policies from the Bush administration has the support of former FBI director William Sessions and the retired Army general who investigated prison abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.
The commission would examine the “detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the consequences of those policies and actions, according to a statement released today by The Constitution Project and signed by a handful of former government officials. The commission would also make recommendations for future policy.
Sessions, now a partner in the D.C. office of Holland & Knight, was FBI director from 1987 to 1993 and previously served as a federal judge in Texas. Other supporters of the proposal include retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the Abu Ghraib inquiry, and several human-rights groups.
“We believe all members of the commission must have reputations for putting the truth and the respect for our nation’s founding principles ahead of any partisan advantage,” says the statement (pdf).
Like other proposals to investigate accusations of Bush-era wrongdoing, the proposed commission would include people of “irreproachable integrity, credibility, and independence.” But unlike a commission suggested by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who wants to investigate a wide variety of accusations involving Iraq and the Department of Justice, this one would have a limited scope.
The Constitution Project, a non-partisan group that has examined such thorny questions as war powers and the death penalty, wants President Barack Obama to appoint the commission with congressional input on its membership. Obama has said repeatedly that his priority is to move forward with his own agenda.