What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 23, 2009

Torture Update

We are going to follow the evidence, follow the law and take that where it leads. No one is above the law. - Attorney General Eric Holder
Yesterday, via CNN.

Later in the piece there's this:

Holder also repeated assurances the Obama administration had given CIA interrogators who employed the controversial techniques that they would not be charged.

"The president's comments were consistent with what we've said all along. Those who, in good faith, followed legal guidance they were given will not be prosecuted or investigated," Holder said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who earlier in the day released a newly declassified timeline -- compiled when he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- of how the approval for the controversial interrogation techniques played out, said he agreed that CIA operatives shouldn't face prosecution.

Now about that timeline (an excerpt is here and the full list is here.)

The AP is reporting:
A new document indicates the CIA first proposed waterboarding alleged al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah to top Bush administration officials in mid-May 2002, three months before the Justice Department approved the interrogation technique in a secret legal opinion.
Specifically (from the Washington Post):

July 17, 2002 "Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) met with the National Security Adviser, who advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation of Abu Zubaida. This advice, which authorized CIA to proceed as a policy matter, was subject to a determination of legality by OLC."

July 24, 2002 "OLC orally advised the CIA that the Attorney General had concluded that certain proposed interrogation techniques were lawful and, on July 26, that the use of waterboarding was lawful."

Aug. 1, 2002 "OLC issued three documents analyzing U.S. obligations with respect to the treatment of detainees. Two of these three documents were unclassified: an unclassified opinion interpreting the federal criminal prohibition on torture, and a letter concerning U.S. obligations under the Convention Against Torture."

Before hearing from the OLC, then-National Security Director Condolezza Rice approved the waterboarding. A week after that, the OLC "orally advised" the CIA it was OK and then a week and a day after that, it was in writing.

More from the AP:
The new timeline shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The narrative also shows that dissenting legal views about the severe interrogation methods were brushed aside repeatedly.

So she lied? Someone in the Bush Administration lied about the torture they approved?

What a shock.

McClatchy notes:
A newly declassified narrative of the Bush administration's advice to the CIA on harsh interrogations shows that the small group of Justice Department lawyers who wrote memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques were operating not on their own but with direction from top administration officials, including then-Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

At the same time, the narrative suggests that then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell were largely left out of the decision-making process.

Senator Rockefeller issued a statement with the release of the chronology. From the LATimes:
"The records of the CIA demonstrate that the lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel did not operate in a vacuum," Rockefeller said in a statement. That office is the Justice Department entity that issued many of the key opinions endorsing the CIA's techniques. "The then-vice president and the national security advisor are at the center of these discussions."
Investigate and prosecute the torture. It's the law.


Heir to the Throne said...

Progressive Torture definition.
Here a liberal professor Erwin Chemerinski claim that being kept awake for 8 days straight is torture.

wklo said...
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Dayvoe said...

Previous comment deleted b/c it was spam.