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Democrats push for probe into Bush policies

  Politics  -   POSTED: 2009/07/13 14:43

President Barack Obama has been reluctant to probe Bush-era torture and anti-terrorism policies, but his Democratic allies aren't likely to let the matters rest.

"I've always preferred my idea of a commission of inquiry to look at all these issues," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Sunday.

Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., head of the intelligence committee, suggested that the George W. Bush administration broke the law by concealing a CIA counterterrorism program from Congress.

The Wall Street Journal, anonymously citing former intelligence officials, reported Monday the secret program was a plan to kill or capture al-Qaida operatives.

The Journal's sources said the plan, which was halted by CIA Director Leon Panetta, was an attempt to carry out a presidential finding authorized in 2001 by President George W. Bush.

The Journal said the agency spent money on planning and maybe some training, but it never became fully operational. The plan was highly classified and the CIA has refused to comment on it.

The assertion that Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the program kept secret from Congress came amid word that Attorney General Eric Holder is contemplating opening a criminal probe of possible CIA torture.


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