Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Shocked by Torture Memo Revelations, Serrano Calls for Full Disclosure by Administration

Jun 10, 2004
Press Release
June 10, 2004
Contact: Ben Allen
(202) 225-4363

Shocked by Torture Memo Revelations, Serrano Calls for Full Disclosure by Administration

Washington, DC, June 10, 2004—Shocked that government lawyers were tasked with writing legal justifications for the use of torture, Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) called today for administration officials to release the memos outlined in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post that argued that international bans on torture were not binding on President Bush because he is commander in chief. 



“While the administration has tried to paint the Abu Ghraib outrages as isolated incidents perpetrated by rogue elements, recent revelations show that attempts to justify the use of torture went up to the highest levels of government,” said Serrano.  “It is high time for the administration to level with the American people and release these memos.



“We fully understand the government’s obligation to protect the country in these difficult times. But justifying the use of torture puts our men and women in uniform at risk.  If we do not uphold basic standards of decency in prisoner interrogation, how can we expect others to do so when our own soldiers are captured?" 



In discussing the memos, Tuesday’s New York Times reported that “the administration’s lawyers were set to work to find legal arguments to avoid restrictions imposed by international and American law.”






“It is extraordinary that government lawyers were being ‘set to work’ devising arguments to flout US and international law,” according to Serrano.  “The chutzpah of this administration is incredible.





“These memos helped lead us down the path toward one of the worst scandals of the war, a scandal that has seriously damaged both our nation’s international credibility and our ability to win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.  In refusing to disclose them, the administration thumbs its nose at Congress’ and the American people’s need to know the truth behind Abu Ghraib.  We deserve so much better.”