POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 3:39pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm
Debate continues over possible prosecution in Bush administration torture probe...
The angry debate over torture got hotter Wednesday in Washington.
Secretary of State Clinton took a shot at former Vice President Cheney who claims the tough techniques made America safer.
But a new senate report blames Cheney and President Bush for making secret policies that led to abuses not just at CIA prisons but in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just a few days ago this was a fight over a few instances of waterboarding.
Now the debate is over widespread abuses that this new report blames on the Bush White House and says ought to be investigated further.
And the Obama Administration might do just that.
With President Obama referring any torture prosecutions to his justice department but considering a commission to investigate the Bush Administration role, Secretary of State Clinton defended that plan on Capitol Hill.
"I believe that we ought to get to the bottom of this entire matter. I think it's in the best interest of our country and that is what the president believes and that is why he's taken the actions he did," said Clinton.
A newly released report by the Senate Armed Services Committee says it was senior civilian leaders who set the tone that resulted in abuse,
And it wasn't just the waterboarding of a few top Al Qaeda suspects at secret CIA prisons.
The Senate report after 9/11 President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld authorized "harsh and abusive" interrogations at Guantanamo, then Afghanistan, then in Iraq.
Prisoners starved, shaved, chilled and left naked according to Bush White House policy.
Then, a cover-up, says the committee chairman.
"They tried to pass this off to a few bad apples that was the effort in the Bush Administration. These decisions were made at the highest level,” said Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan.
Vice President Cheney insisted this week that the techniques worked and saved American lives.
Clinton doesn't buy it
"It won't surprise you that I don't consider him a particularly reliable source of information," said the Secretary of State.
And President Obama’s national security advisor, Dennis Blair, told him this week the harsh interrogations did produce good intelligence.
But many democrats say this is not just about results.
It's about law and morality and they want all the facts out.