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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Strategic leaking on torture

Now this is interesting. A day after a Senate hearing and WaPo frontpager laid the blame for torture at the feet of Rumsfeld and his minions, there is, magically, the appearance of new leaks and a new storyline which also get promoted on the WaPo frontpage.

Yesterday, they tried to blame "officers down the chain of command," but that didn't take,
...top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command...

So, magically, today, it was a lawyer at the CIA who fooled them into the policy.
A senior CIA lawyer advised Pentagon officials about the use of harsh interrogation techniques on detainees at Guantanamo Bay in a meeting in late 2002,....

But some of Fredman's advice was apparently persuasive for top Pentagon officials, who in the following weeks approved the first formal program for harsh interrogations at the facility in Cuba.

See, they weren't going to do it, they really weren't, except that all these people talked them into it. It's not their fault that they wrote the policy, signed off on it, distributed it, and conducted senior staff level meetings on specific techniques being applied to specific detainees including Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.

They were all just tricked. Dupes, you see.......


  • They were all just tricked. Dupes, you see.......

    Good point.
    Of course, the WH still maintains a variety of contradictory positions on this: it's necessary, it's not torture, you can't prove it ever happened, etc.

    The new one, however, is the most over the top yet: the only way to be sure it's torture is if the detainee dies under interrogation.

    "A senior CIA lawyer at the meeting, John Fredman, explained that whether harsh interrogation amounts to torture "is a matter of perception. The only sure test for torture is if the detainee died."

    Yeah, it's a lot harder to get answers from a corpse, I guess. Let's draw the line there.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 8:14 AM  

  • Yeah, that's new information, but it's from 2002 and echoes John Yoo's "organ failure or death."

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 8:23 AM  

  • The sad reality is, no one will be punished for this. Domestically, we've lost the moral bearings to be outraged. And the international community has shown it's willing to turn a willfully blind eye and are content to say "Tut, tut. Bad form." and move on.

    We're in the age of the Sternly Worded Letter...

    By Blogger -epm, at 8:55 AM  

  • And the Thorough Investigation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:27 AM  

  • Nope. The real problem is that the Dems don't really have incentive since they took power. They're much better off using all these things as bargaining chips than taking the political risk of doing anything significant.


    Anon, Congress is holding hearings. That always solves stuff. Right?

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:56 AM  

  • "Anon, Congress is holding hearings. That always solves stuff. Right?"

    I have no recollection.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:59 AM  

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