During upcoming confirmation hearings for Attorney General-nominee Alberto Gonzales, senior Democrats want to screen infamous videotapes showing Iraqis being abused at Abu Ghraib prison, top sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
The curtain is raised Thursday for the Senate Judiciary Committee's showdown with Gonzales.
The Bush White House counsel will be grilled about his role in formulating the administration's legal policies on coercive techniques in interrogations -- techniques some Democrats believe led to outright torture!
Yet it's the grainy prison videos, shot by a soldier's cellphone and never before viewed by the public, that threaten to turn the New Year ugly: A video of a handcuffed prisoner beating his head against a wall; a video of a group of hooded men shown masturbating.
The Pentagon and the White House hold the videos in their possession and have not authorized any public release, including to the senate.
One top Democrat senate source said over the holiday weekend: "Mr. Gonzales should explain to us, to the public if this was policy. I am demanding we move to full disclosure."
Republicans counter showing the videos during the Gonzales hearings would jeopardize evidence in trials of the soldiers involved in the abuse.
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has said making the videos public might endanger more men and women serving in the armed forces in Iraq.
"Normally, I side with disclosure and openness, but in this case, the material is evidence," Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said last year.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the videos should be made public and that they proved to him that there was an organized policy of abusing prisoners to get information -- approved by the White House.
Top Hill insiders explain Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has not ruled out exploring the abuse at Abu Ghraib with Gonzales in open session. But a well-placed Kennedy source said the Attorney General's confirmation hearings will not be turned into a showdown with the military.