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American Today


Senator Whitehouse Delivers Speech at WCL Event on Torture

By Mike Unger

photo: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Photo: Rick Reinhard)

Former federal prosecutor Sheldon Whitehouse, now a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, delivered the keynote address at a Washington College of  Law panel on torture memos and legal ethics. The event was sponsored by the Program on Law and Government.

“Let me offer two beliefs about America,” began Whitehouse. “Beyond our borders, America is a beacon of light in a shadowy world. Within our borders, America is an ongoing education of a people in freedom and democracy.”

Those comments set the foundation for remarks that railed against torture and criticized Justice Department lawyers who offered legal opinions defending it. Whitehouse also offered his support for investigations into the torture memos issued by the Justice Department during the Bush Administration.

He concluded by revisiting his opening themes. “For a country that holds its lantern up to the world, traveling down to the dark side is a grave mistake.”  

The day-long Nov. 3 event,opened with a screening of the Alliance for Justice’s new, 10-minute documentary, Tortured Law. The film examines the role lawyers played in authorizing torture, and calls upon Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a full investigation of those who ordered, designed, and justified torture.  Two panel discussions rounded out the day.