Friday, April 11, 2008

They worked backwards

They decided to adopt a policy that allowed torture first.

They justified it afterward, purely as a CYA measure.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the meetings described them Thursday to the AP to confirm details first reported by ABC News on Wednesday. The intelligence official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

Between 2002 and 2003, the Justice Department issued several memos from its Office of Legal Counsel that justified using the interrogation tactics, including ones that critics call torture.

"If you looked at the timing of the meetings and the memos you'd see a correlation," the former intelligence official said. Those who attended the dozens of meetings agreed that "there'd need to be a legal opinion on the legality of these tactics" before using them on al-Qaida detainees, the former official said.

The meetings were held in the White House Situation Room in the years immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks. Attending the sessions were Cheney, then-Bush aides Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.


"With each new revelation, it is beginning to look like the torture operation was managed and directed out of the White House," ACLU legislative director Caroline Fredrickson said. "This is what we suspected all along."

The former intelligence official described Cheney and the top national security officials as deeply immersed in developing the CIA's interrogation program during months of discussions over which methods should be used and when.

At times, CIA officers would demonstrate some of the tactics, or at least detail how they worked, to make sure the small group of "principals" fully understood what the al-Qaida detainees would undergo. The principals eventually authorized physical abuse such as slaps and pushes, sleep deprivation, or waterboarding. This technique involves strapping a person down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning.

The small group then asked the Justice Department to examine whether using the interrogation methods would break domestic or international laws.

"No one at the agency wanted to operate under a notion of winks and nods and assumptions that everyone understood what was being talked about," said a second former senior intelligence official. "People wanted to be assured that everything that was conducted was understood and approved by the folks in the chain of command."

I find it wholly intolerable that none of these people are likely to stand trial or be otherwise held accountable for deliberate actions that have betrayed this country and undermined the rule of law. I maintain that impeachment remains the only avenue to assure justice has a chance of being served. Unless this president is impeached, he retains the power to pardon, and can do so preemptively.

I am not happy at the prospect of an American administration being charged in international courts with crimes against humanity like they are so many tin-pot dictators and bloated, ineffective, slobs; never quite far enough removed from the leisure suits and the comb-overs to be comfortable in their own skins in the outclassed world they floundered and failed in. What a humiliating embarrassment these inept idiots be.

(h/t Cernig)

No comments: