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Legislative Business

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Madam Speaker, I further say to the gentleman, the majority leader, that we've had a discussion on the floor today about the potential transfer and release of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay. There's also been significant debate on the interrogation of these terrorist suspects, including the potential for congressional hearings and possible legislation.

I say, Madam Speaker, to the gentleman, the Speaker of the House has signaled her intent to create a truth commission to investigate CIA interrogation tactics. I was wondering, Madam Speaker, if the gentleman could tell us the status of that truth commission and when we might expect such a commission to be formed and perhaps produce legislation that would come to the House floor to be voted upon.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

I think there is certainly a concern to ensure that all laws have been followed. Certainly our primary concern is to make sure that we are protecting Americans in everything we do. And given the growing threat globally, the terrorist threat that we face, all of us share in that end.

But I would say to the gentleman that somehow there have been statements made by the Speaker and others indicating a certain preconceived bias, like a belief that perhaps the CIA or others have somehow misled us.

I do think the gentleman is correct in saying that we need to focus on what kind of practices occurred, but I also think that in an ongoing manner, to ensure compliance with the law, we need to understand if there is some type of preconceived bias, as was indicated in some of the public statements that may have been made today. And I do think that the gentleman would agree, openness and an indication of a predisposition prior to the revelation now of who knew what when may be somehow shaping the bias in these discussions.

I share with the gentleman the notion, we need to follow the law. But if there is somehow a belief--and I'd ask the gentleman whether he shares this belief--that somehow the CIA or others have intentionally misled this body, because that seems to be some concern that has been raised today.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

I remain concerned. And I think it is shared by my colleagues on this side of the aisle that if it is the intent of the Speaker and the majority leader to pursue a truth commission surrounding the investigation of terrorists and the interrogation tactics employed, that we do know what interaction this body had, the Members of this body and its committees had, in the oversight of the tactics that were employed. Because if we are all concerned about following the law, which we should be first and foremost here, and if there was acquiescence, if there was knowledge on the part of this body, but yet now allegations made suggesting that certain tactics were used and were against the law, that raises serious questions about the ability for this body going forward to properly exercise its oversight authority so we do uphold the law.

That would be our concern over here, Madam Speaker, that we make sure that there is a full vetting of what transpired so that we don't repeat the type of mistakes perhaps or we don't repeat the omission of action, if you will, on the part of this body.


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