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View Diary: Bush Administration Pushed Torture In Attempt To Find Iraq-al Qaida Links (335 comments)

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  •  Once they were briefed, they probably (10+ / 0-)

    had to be silent because the information was classified.  To me, the bigger question was whether they objected and sought to end the torture through the means available to them.

    "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

    by TomP on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:32:27 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  "had to be silent"--I don't know about this (6+ / 0-)

      Sure, to save their hide they had to be silent.  But, where are the Daniel Ellsbergs who are willing to risk imprisonment for what is right.  Where were the members of Congress who were willing to risk their political careers for what was right?  I know this is a lot to ask for a bunch of politicians.  But, I'm not ready to let them off the hook.  Let's get the facts first.

      Let's also praise those like Feingold who fought with everything he had against the war and all its' accoutrements of horror.

      •  It's a choice, yes. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jct, phonegery, linkage, Predictor

        But they would have been committing a crime by disclosing classified information.  Pelosi would have bene convicted and spent time in prison.

        Part of the problem is receiving the information.

        "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

        by TomP on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:41:25 AM PDT

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        •  I agree that they were in a horrible bind. I (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sharman, linkage, TomP, Amber6541

          will even go further to say that under the climate at they time they may have calculated that going public would not only send them to prison, but, would have increased the hysteria of Democrats and anti-war people being traitors.  But,  I want to know more before I give them a pass.

        •  More than that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sharman, phonegery, TomP, Amber6541

          it would have allowed the Republicans to argue, this time with extreme credibility, that the Democrats were endangering national security.  If Pelosi comes forward and divulges the paltry information she may have had, not only does it mean that we don't take back Congress in 2006, but probably that we have President George Allen in 2008.  Her leaking this information would have been the story of the past three years.

          Unless she had enough information for an absolutely knockdown case, and I doubt she had (especially given lack of media interest), her hands were tied.

        •  Once you know just how far Bush and his ilk were (4+ / 0-)

          willing to go, there is a reasonable reason for fear.

          Pelosi has children and grandchildren.

          Justice, if not pursued, does not exist.

          by phonegery on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 08:02:03 AM PDT

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        •  Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP

          Article 1, section 6:

          They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

          The only body that can punish for speeches in Congress is Congress; and it's punishment is limited to expulsion.

          •  Not certain (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jct

            how that has been interpreted by courts with respect to classified information disclosed in floor of house of senate.

            In any event, partof a security clearnace is agreeing to keep these things classified.  It creates a moral quandry.  Some, like Ellsberg, chose to disclose.  

            "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

            by TomP on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 08:58:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's clear -- (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomP

              It's one of the simplest pieces of the constitution. If a court were to try to twist that one out of shape, we might as well dump the entire text as worthless.

              The tradition comes right out of parliamentary tradition for exactly these kind of cases -- where parliamentarians were accused of sedition, treason, etc for refusing to kowtow to the king.

              Re moral quandary: seriously, you can claim a moral quandary between "promising to keep a secret" and "disclosing a crime against humanity". I'd laugh if it wasn't such a serious issue.

              •  I understand that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jct

                You assume that she would do it on the floor.  But even there, an argument can be constructed.  Revealing classified information is not what the provision was about, and it's reference to treason suggests this also.

                I tend to agree with you, but there always are arguments.

                In any event, Pelosi swore not to reveal classified information when she was read into various programs.   It is not an easy question.

                The enemy is Bush and Cheny, not Pelosi.  But let's see what comes out.  

                "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

                by TomP on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 10:35:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's exactly what that provision is about. (0+ / 0-)

                  A speech on the floor could not possibly be treason or a breach of the peace, and it's pretty damn clear, from the historical record, what that bit is all about -- keeping the executive branch from interfering in any way from the working of the legislative branch by censoring them in session. It's clear that "appropriate" speech is purely defined by the House or Senate while they are in session, and the only punishment for speech is purely expulsion.

                  Remember, that phrase was put in when the Constitution had no 1st amendment -- it was the only guarantee of free speech in the document. Any secrecy required could be instituted by Congress itself by going into closed session.

                  The enemy is Bush and Cheney -- but Pelosi can't sit on the fence. If this is a minor issue to her that can be played for political advantage, then she is also the enemy.

    •  Did not "have to be silent" (0+ / 0-)

      You are free as a congresscritter to speak on the floor. You can not be prosecuted for what you say -- that's in the Constitution specifically for cases like this, where the executive and legislative branches are at odds.

      No -- criminal cowardice is the guilt of anyone who claims they "couldn't" say anything.

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