Two-thirds of Americans favor investigating whether the administration of former US president George W. Bush overstepped legal boundaries in its “war on terror,” a poll released on Thursday by USA Today and Gallup found.
A majority of respondents said a probe should be launched into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terror suspects.
Investigators also should look into the former president’s program of wiretapping US citizens without first securing court warrants, respondents said.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents polled by USA Today favored criminal investigations, while 24 percent said they wanted an investigation without criminal charges. Some 34 percent said they wanted nothing done at all, the pollsters said.
The survey comes as Amnesty International and other rights groups press for formal inquiries into whether the Bush administration flouted US and international laws banning torture and the constitutional right to privacy.
The group said in a statement that it plans to mount a campaign next week urging the public to press lawmakers “to fully investigate the US government’s abuses in the war on terror and hold accountable those responsible.”
“The human rights organization is calling on President Barack Obama and the US Congress to create an independent and impartial commission to examine the use of torture, indefinite detention, secret renditions and other illegal US counterterrorism policies,” Amnesty said.
Two leading Democrats, House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, have proposed commissions to investigate possible Bush administration violations.
US President Barack Obama this week expressed reticence about a probe, saying it was time to move forward.
But he did not rule out possible prosecutions, adding “my view is also that nobody is above the law.”