News Release

Bush “Pardons”: Covering Criminality


Holtzman has been a Congresswoman and the district attorney of Brooklyn; she was a member of the House panel that impeached Richard Nixon. She recently wrote in the Chicago Sun Times: “President Bush … is quietly trying to pardon himself of any crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of U.S. detainees. “The ‘pardon’ is buried in Bush’s … legislation to create a new kind of military tribunal for cases involving top al-Qaida operatives. The ‘pardon’ provision has nothing to do with the tribunals. Instead, it guts the War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal law that makes it a crime, in some cases punishable by death, to mistreat detainees in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and makes the new, weaker terms of the War Crimes Act retroactive to 9/11.

“Press accounts of the provision have described it as providing immunity for CIA interrogators. But its terms cover the president and other top officials because the act applies to any U.S. national. Avoiding prosecution under the War Crimes Act has been an obsession of this administration since shortly after 9/11.”

Holtzman is co-author with Cynthia L. Cooper of the forthcoming book The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens.
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Elizabeth de la Vega served as a federal prosecutor in Minneapolis and San Jose for 20 years. She wrote the piece “The White House Criminal Conspiracy” and most recently “Pardon Me? Scooter Libby’s Trial Strategy,” in which she writes: “U.S. v. Libby is not only alive and well; it is also set to begin on January 16, 2007, just three and a half months from now. … Last year, not long after Libby was indicted … the Democratic leadership was asking the president to reassure the public that he would not pardon Libby or anyone else ultimately convicted of a crime as a result of the CIA leak investigation.

“The president never responded. … And Vice President Cheney, when asked recently by Tim Russert on ‘Meet the Press’ whether the president should pardon Scooter Libby, refused to answer. …

“December would be an excellent month for a pardon — it’s the holiday season after all — and the mid-term elections would be over. The best way to head off this possibility is to call attention to it. Now.”

De la Vega is author of the forthcoming book U.S. v. George W. Bush et. al.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167