A House subcommittee authorized a subpoena Tuesday to compel Douglas Feith, a top aide to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to testify before Congress about his role crafting the administration's harsh interrogation policies toward suspected terrorists.
The Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties approved a subpoena on 9-to-3 vote. Feith had agreed to testify at a hearing last week, but backed out hours beforehand.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who chairs the subcommittee, hopes to work with the former undersecretary of defense policy before issuing this subpoena, but pledged to force his testimony if Feith fails to comply.
“While most witnesses with relevant information appear before Congress voluntarily, in some cases, it is necessary to compel their testimony,” Nadler said in a statement after the vote. "It is simply not prudent to rely on the voluntary promise to appear of a witness who already has broken such an agreement."
Many believe Feith was instrumental in crafting the administration's interrogation policies to suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. He also helped lay the political groundwork for the U.S-led. invasion of Iraq, making him a despised figure to the left.
Since leaving his post, the former Pentagon aide has traded barbs with many of his contemporaries in the White House and the departments of Defense and State about the expected outcomes in Iraq and who bungled the initial occupation.