This afternoon, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a member of the House Government Oversight Committee, appeared on MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show to talk about what he feels should be the GOP’s legislative agenda.
At one point, Chaffetz started to list off a number of investigations — like probing the Countrywide “Friends Of Angelo” scandal — he wanted to conduct in the House of Representatives now that Republicans are in control of that body. Ratigan asked the congressman how “far back” he thinks is “appropriate” for these investigations. He noted that Chaffetz had not listed a “torture investigation.” Chaffetz responded by saying that that “may be on the list as well. I’m not afraid of going after the Bush administration”:
RATIGAN: How far back do you think is appropriate? Because the one thing that’s not on this list is for instance a torture investigation.
CHAFFETZ: Well, it may be on the list as well. I’m not afraid of going after the Bush administration. I wasn’t brought here by the establishment. When I ran for congressman in 2008, I’m just a freshman year, George W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, and Bob Bennett, three Republicans, they campaigned against me. So I don’t mind going back and looking at ’em. So I don’t have any hestitation whatsoever.
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In endorsing investigations of the Bush Administration’s use of torture, Chaffetz is advocating a position that the Obama administration has thus far refused to take. Just this week, the Justice Department announced that it will not pursue any sort of criminal charges against officials who ordered the destruction of CIA tapes depicting torture of terrorist suspects during the Bush Administration. In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer that aired last night, former President George W. Bush repeatedly admitted to authorizing waterboarding, a practice that is illegal.