These senators say they will have more hearings if they don't get answers. They don't get answers but then they don't hold more hearings either. Meanwhile the press loses interest so they can just keep everything steaming along to nowhere.
Senators say U.S. investigators getting stonewalled on Arar case
Wed, 2007-02-28 20:19
By: BETH GORHAM
WASHINGTON (CP) - Two U.S. senators complained Wednesday that American investigators have been stonewalled in their internal reviews of Canadian engineer Maher Arar.
In letters to the independent investigative arms of the Homeland Security and Justice departments, senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter demanded to know the status of any probes of Arar's case. And they noted that a former Homeland official reported delays and obstruction in July 2004 in obtaining documents and interviewing officials about how Arar was treated in the U.S.
That investigation is apparently ongoing, said the senators, who want to see a similar inquiry by Justice officials if it isn't already happening.
"We request that you examine the Justice Department's role in the decision to send Mr. Arar to Syria," they wrote.
"We are interested in how the decision was made, whether there were errors in judgment or violations of law and if so, by whom, and what steps have been taken to redress any such errors and to avoid repeating them in the future."
Leahy, chair of the Senate judiciary committee and Specter, the ranking Republican, also want the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct an inquiry into whether people like Arar can effectively challenge their presence on terrorist watch lists.
"We ask that you look at . . . any recourse available to people like Mr. Arar who are purposely placed on watch lists but for whom significant additional scrutiny has been conducted which may support a different conclusion," they wrote in a letter sent last week.
Leahy and Specter were briefed by Justice officials on Arar last month but complained they still have a lot more questions.
Arar can't fly into the United States despite being exonerated by a Canadian inquiry of any terrorist ties and getting C$10.5 million in compensation from Ottawa.
He was detained by U.S. officials in New York in 2002 and deported to Syria, where he was interrogated and tortured while imprisoned for 10 months.
Leahy angrily demanded answers in January from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at a public hearing, saying the case was a black mark on the Unites States.
He threatened to hold more public hearings unless he got answers.
Arar, who is still suing U.S. officials, is perhaps the highest-profile case of the U.S. practice of extraordinary rendition where foreigners are sent to third countries for interrogation.