Reuters : Cheney aide subpoenaed to testify to Congress

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cheney aide subpoenaed to testify to Congress

By Thomas Ferraro | May 7, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was subpoenaed on Wednesday to testify in a congressional probe of the administration's treatment and possible torture of enemy combatants.

House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, issued the subpoena to David Addington a day after it was authorized by a House panel.

The administration contends its aides can not be forced to testify. But Addington has indicated he may do so if subpoenaed, congressional staffers said.

Megan Mitchell, spokeswoman for the vice president's office, said, "I can confirm that we have received the subpoena. We are reviewing it and will respond accordingly."

The subpoena orders Addington to appear on June 26 before the House Judiciary's subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which is examining the administration's treatment of detainees.

Addington reportedly played a key role in drafting U.S. strategies to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Bush maintains the United States does not torture, but he has refused to discuss interrogation techniques, saying he does not want to tip off the enemy.

The CIA has acknowledged using a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding on three terrorism suspects, but says it stopped using that method in 2003.

Waterboarding has been condemned by human rights groups, foreign countries and many U.S. lawmakers as torture.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft and John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general, have agreed to testify before the Judiciary subcommittee.

Bush has invoked executive privilege in rejecting congressional subpoenas for a number of current and former aides, many sought in a probe of the firing in 2006 of nine federal prosecutors.

In March, the House Judiciary Committee filed suit in U.S. District Court asking it to direct White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to produce subpoenaed documents and order former White House counsel Harriet Miers to comply with a subpoena and testify about the ousted prosecutors.

A ruling is not expected for at least several months.

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria)

© Thomson Reuters 2008 All rights reserved