Skip to comments.Reno wows crowd ("My mother told me: 'Truth Is A Very Elusive target'")
Posted on 02/18/2008 6:41:57 PM PST by presidio9
Former Attorney General Janet Reno said the U.S. government must be careful to avoid selectively using facts when prosecuting suspected terrorists.
Reno, who served as attorney general under President Bill Clinton, said prosecutors often allow prejudices to skew their use of facts.
"But what I've discovered (from being a prosecutor and attorney general) is that we get tunnel vision," Reno said. "We want the facts to be something and we wish them into being."
Reno made her comments while speaking to an audience of mostly students and professors at the S.J. Quinney College of Law on Tuesday. Her speech focused on the role technology plays in helping prosecute terrorists and the attention prosecutors should give to facts.
Reno did not specifically name members of the Bush administration or the Department of Justice, but criticized their practices in general.
"We have obscured that truth with other overlays that don't lead to the truth, but lead to murky prosecutions and to intelligence efforts that should be headed in another direction," she said.
Reno specifically spoke out against waterboarding, an interrogation technique where water is poured over the face of a detainee to evoke a drowning sensation. Lawmakers and others have criticized the George W. Bush administration for waterboarding several suspected terrorists.
Before denouncing the practice, Reno reiterated that decisions must be made by applying the law to the facts.
"With that understood, I am opposed to torture, I am opposed to waterboarding, and if I were reviewing the facts I would make sure that I understood what people were talking about when they said waterboarding," she said. "Because here is an example of where people can get into trouble by misstating the facts, confusing the facts."
Martin Stolz, a first-year law student, said he thinks the Bush administration has abused the facts.
"I think that our current administration has fallen prey precisely to the danger Janet Reno spoke of," he said.
The real danger is that these murky prosecutions undermine the confidence we have in the rule of law and the trust other nations have in the United States, Stolz said.
To avoid misusing the facts, Reno said prosecutors must engage in "good, hard self-searching" and pay particular attention to nuances in language, which she said can change meaning drastically.
"Facts can produce so many answers if we search hard enough for them, but too often we don't, and too often, even having searched, we do not apply the law to the facts as we should," she said. "These are small items, but they make a tremendous difference when you're sitting there having to make the decision of arrest or not arrest, of file charges or not file charges."
Reno said the key to fighting terrorism on an international level is collaboration. She repeatedly praised the law school's collaborative efforts.
"Unless we start adding collaboration like I've seen here today, were not going to be successful in fighting terrorism," she said. "Collaboration is the name of the game."
Reno said the United States must work with other nations to fight terrorism because there are too many variables of terrorism that the U.S. government has not dealt with directly.
Reno concluded her speech by talking about the challenge of finding truth, a lesson she learned from her father who worked as a crime reporter for the Miami Herald.
"My mother once told me truth is elusive," she said. "And it is a very elusive target."
Still shot from the documentary: “Waco: A New Revelation”
Reno:” Bill Clinton demanded that I follow HIS facts and HIS law, and I was happy to oblige, because I was a doddering fool and a blithering idiot.”
What makes you so sure?
The interview with the young man is very compelling. There is a special place in hell for Janet Reno...
those are good reviews. they need to tune up their site a bit. I couldn't get to the "picture gallery."
This whole thing is very disturbing all over again. It's like the 90's were a very bad dream.
back into your hole, Janet Reno.
She should have already been executed for the deaths of the 74 human beings; 53 men and women, and 21 children under the age of 16, who were murdered by the government forces operating under her authority in the inferno at Waco on April 19, 1993.
Her very existence is a disgusting travesty of justice.
John McCain has a problem with authority figures. He apparently likes to piss them off just on general principle. For the last eight years that’s been Bush.
If he gets to be President, and the Dems still control Congress, he sure as hell isn’t going to appoint an AG that the Dems like. Just to piss them off.
I quite agree. Attract them to Iraq and shoot them there.
That seemed to have worked well for a while. I think they've 'caught on' though.
Albright, Reno, Clinton, Carvalle, yep the insane aslyum was what he White House was turned into, during the Bubba years.
Lets hope we do not return to the Washington Aslyum countdown with Hillary bringing the cast back for another 4 year season.
A tragedy. Elian is now a trapped soul. I hope he may breath free one day soon.
That’s an interesting read on John McShortfuse. I’m not sure I agree with you though. This is the guy that teamed up with John F’in Kerry (who served in Vietnam) to shut down the POW/MIA investigations and silence the families of MIA’s.
Did she have tunnel vision in Waco?
“Reno ... said prosecutors often allow prejudices to skew their use of facts.”
Reno, of course, is speaking of her expertise.
Janet speaks from vast experience, look at the care she took not to prosecute Bill Clinton for any number of crimes.
“Former Attorney General Janet Reno said the U.S. government must be careful to avoid selectively using facts”
Janet Reno is the last person to be lecturing others about that.
John McCain fought bravely in Vietnam.
No doubt about his service.
No doubt about his being tortured and physically incapacitated.
But once the enemy found out he was the son of a politician, he got treated like a king(comparitively).
Once he was freed he went into politics.
The Dems wanted to look good, and since rescuing POW/MIA’s would take a long time and a lot of resources (money), they decided to just ‘sign off’ on those soldiers.
But, they needed partisan support. So, they threatened McCain with exposing his ‘life of Riley’ prison stay.
Kerry negotiated control of the real estate market in South Vietnam for his brother.
And promised McCain if he ever ran for President, he would have the support of ‘the rich and powerful...dems’.
At the presentation of the signed document stating that Kerry and McCain had visited all suspected prison camps and found no POW/MIAs, McCain hung his head in shame as Kerry held up the document for the press.
Anybody have any idea why Frank Fuster is still in prison??