Friday, April 24, 2009

Barack Obama Being Pushed on Torture Issue

The White House and the Democratic leadership in the Senate signaled on Thursday that they would block for now any effort to establish an independent commission to investigate the Bush administration’s approval of harsh interrogation techniques.

In doing so, they sought to reduce pressure for a full inquiry — from, among others, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi — that has grown more intense since President Obama suggested on Tuesday that he would be open to such an investigation. While the White House has contended that Mr. Obama never actively supported an inquiry, his firmer opposition to the possibility, communicated to Congressional leaders in meetings on Wednesday night and Thursday, represented a shift in emphasis.

Meeting with the Democratic leadership on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama said a special inquiry would steal time and energy from his policy agenda, and could mushroom into a wider distraction looking back at the Bush years, people briefed on the discussion said. Mr. Obama, they said, repeated much the same message on Thursday at a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders.


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