WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Leading congressional Republicans said Tuesday a special counsel's preliminary review of alleged CIA interrogation abuses will hurt the national interest.
The GOP lawmakers denounced Monday's decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to expand the mandate of special counsel John Durham by ordering him to conduct a preliminary review of whether there should be a full-scale investigation of alleged torture under the Bush administration, The Washington Post reported. But some Democrats worry the investigation may not go far enough.
"We are witnessing the beginning of a witch hunt that will decimate both the morale and effectiveness of those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our nation," the head of a House conservative caucus, the Post quoted Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., as saying in a statement.
Eight senior Senate Republicans wrote a letter of protest to the attorney general, saying they fear "the true cost of this endeavor will ultimately be borne by the American people, who rely on the intelligence community, operating without distraction, to protect them from the many threats, known and unknown, that our country faces in this post-9/11 world."
Signers included Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican leader; Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee; and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
The Post said Democrats, for the most part, approved the preliminary inquiry, but Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called again for an independent review of all Bush-era policies in the war on terror.