[WASHINGTON, DC] – Drawing on her 23 years of service in the Reserve Forces, Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke out in opposition to torture memo author Steven Bradbury’s nomination to be General Counsel of the Department of Transportation today. Speaking before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Duckworth outlined how Mr. Bradbury’s authorship of the torture memos demonstrated poor judgement and compromised our nation’s values, putting our troops and diplomats in harm’s way. The Senate Commerce Committee approved his nomination on a party line 14-13 vote and his nomination will now proceed to the full Senate, where Duckworth has placed a hold on his nomination. Video of Duckworth’s remarks today is available here.
“I cannot in good conscience validate a decision that jeopardized the safety of men and women in uniform across our military by voting to advance Mr. Bradbury’s nomination. Authoring torture memos should disqualify someone from any government service,” said Senator Duckworth. “Presidential appointees are sworn to serve the interests of the American public, but Mr. Bradbury’s noteworthy history of demonstrating complete deference to a single President’s policy goals is deeply troubling to me, especially in an Administration that demands loyalty to one person above all else. As I said during his nomination hearing, ‘an unprincipled lawyer paired with an unprincipled President is a dangerous combination, regardless of the agency he serves,’ and I stand by those words.”
Duckworth previously delivered powerful remarks against Mr. Bradbury’s nomination during his confirmation hearing, referencing her experience of being shot down in Iraq and her prayers that if she were found by insurgents, she wouldn’t be treated with the same tactics that Mr. Bradbury justified. Video of those remarks is available online here and for download here.
“When you’re stuck bleeding in a helicopter behind enemy lines like I was, you hope and pray that if the enemy finds you first, they treat you humanely,” Duckworth said at the time. “Mr. Bradbury lacked moral conviction in the Bush White House, and I don’t think he can be trusted to stand up for the values I fought to defend, especially not in a Trump Presidency.”
In a 2005 memo, Bradbury attempted to justify the use of 13 so-called “enhanced interrogation tactics” including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, physical violence and cramped confinement. In a 2007 memo, Bradbury attempted to justify similar techniques even after Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act to prohibit cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.