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Falsifying legislative history.

Last December, President Bush signed into law a measure called the Detainee Treatment Act, which was intended to prohibit the use of torture in interrogating terrorist suspects. At the time he signed the act, Mr. Bush attached a "signing statement," effectively nullifying the act by claiming that he could suspend its application in the interests of national security.

But even before the bill reached his desk, Mr. Bush's congressional allies had used a similarly dishonest gambit in an attempt to preserve the extra-constitutional powers claimed by the president.

As Nixon-era White House Counsel John Dean recounted in an op-ed column, when the conference report on the Detainee Treatment Act was sent back to the Senate last December 21, it contained a "lengthy colloquy" involving Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). This 12,000-word document purported to set forth the "legislative history" and intent behind the Detainee Treatment Act.

The only problem, Dean points out, is that the colloquy never happened. It was confected by staffers working for Graham and Kyl and inserted in the record after the fact. This act of Orwellian "rectification" served as the basis for an amicus brief filed by the mendacious Republican senators in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which they insisted that the Detainee Treatment Act's "legislative history confirms that Congress intended all pending claims" to be extinguished by the measure.

"I want our colleagues to know exactly what they are agreeing to," Graham supposedly said, as recorded in the bogus colloquy. Graham and his comrades in deception were willing to falsify legislative history and perjure themselves in the service of absolute presidential powers.
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Title Annotation:Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief Act of 2005
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 7, 2006
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