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President Should Reject Legal Advice Seeking to Justify Torture

Location: Washington, DC

Pelosi: President Should Reject Legal Advice Seeking to Justify Torture

Washington, D.C.-House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on media reports that Bush Administration lawyers advised the White House in internal memos that the war on terrorism might justify torturing suspected terrorists:

"If these media reports are true, I call upon the President to disavow this legal advice immediately, and to make public the documents that contain it.

"Having served on the Intelligence Committee for 10 years, I know that the American people expect that their security at home and the safety of our troops overseas will be safeguarded by the best possible intelligence. However, Americans also expect that intelligence to be obtained in a manner consistent with the law.

"The notion that the law is whatever a President determines it to be is so contrary to our Constitution and our experience as a nation that President Bush should have rejected it out of hand. He must do so now, clearly and unequivocally.

"If other countries adopted the approach his lawyers recommended in one memo - that 'criminal statutes [do not] infring[e] on the President's ultimate authority' - it would put our troops at risk. Laws regulating the treatment of prisoners are necessary to protect our own soldiers, not just the rights of suspects."

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