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We need an independent special prosecutor to be named by the Attorney General to investigate and, where warranted, prosecute violations of the law as it relates to the detainee program conducted by the United States immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001.  A so-called truth commission will, as such things so often do, result in a papering over of criminality by reducing such depraved acts as have been uncovered with absolute certainty to the lexicon of bi-partisan compromise and the necessary dilution that accompanies consensus.  Nor are we in any way going to be served by a months-long congressional investigation of the abusive techniques authorized in Washington and employed in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The police (i.e., the media and the Senate Armed Services Committee) have done their job and have discovered there is sufficient enough probable cause to believe that crimes have been committed, and so it is now for the prosecutor–once he or she is appointed–to assemble a staff of investigators and attorneys to prepare their case, and move forward.

Already, we are now some seven years on from the first of these abuses.  Time is of the essence, and justice requires prompt action.  Yet, senior Democratic leaders are dithering.

Sen. Diane Feinstein has already determined that—either in spite of or in studied avoidance of the fact that Sen. Levin’s committee has now released its findings—another six to eight months of investigation is necessary before we can even hope to move forward.  Her leader, Harry Reid, agrees, and has publically called for allowing the Intelligence Committee the time to "[get] the facts."  And all of this appears quite reasonable to Pres. Obama, whose stance on the issue of an investigation and possible prosecution of the senior Bush officials who authorized and justified the program seems to change with the wind (or, more cynically, as he comes to better understand the Constitutional and statutory limits on his power to decide whether criminal activity will be excused or charged).  One thing that he does remain constant on, though, is his seeming desire see as little done about this as he can legally and politically get away with.

Now that serious people agree that the decision to prosecute lies with Attorney General Eric Holder, not with the president, and that it is for the Justice Department to determine the path forward, it would be best for the president to step back from this, say he supports a thorough investigation, and allow the process to proceed.  (If Bill Clinton could do so when he was himself the target, surely Barack Obama can in these circumstances.)  What most assuredly is not needed is further uninformed commentary from Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs as to where the president stands with regard to the details.  His only stance should be that Holder and Justice be provided with the time and distance to do their jobs, and his only goal should be that the whole truth is disclosed to the public and that, if criminality occurred, the criminals be held to account.  
That’s the ideal, sure, but it ignores the political reality that very powerful people—some of them still in office—may be discovered as complicit in, if not perpetrators of, these crimes.

So, why a special prosecutor?  To answer this, perhaps it’s best to ask, Why not a Truth Commission?, and for that I must align myself with Jeremy Scahill, the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, who writes:

Recent experience with such commissions, most prominently the 9-11 commission, shows that these can easily turn into whitewash operations. If they wheel out tired old Lee Hamilton, you know this ain’t going anywhere. What is actually needed is an Independent Prosecutor—someone like a Patrick Fitzgerald—to treat this as the major league, far reaching crime investigation that it should be.

Funny, that just two days ago Nick Kristof proposed precisely that: "Among those often mentioned [for heading up a truth commission] are Sandra Day O’Connor, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton [...] ."  

But more substantively, the primary reason for going forward with an independent prosecutor is that, in contrast to what the 9/11 commission was investigating, (i.e., a failure of government to protect the security of its citizens), the principal matter to be investigated here is the probable criminal activity of that same government.  We are not here so much concerned with how we can learn from past mistakes or failures of structures, regulations, laws, and as the 9/11 commission put it, "imagination," in order to correct for governmental failure.  Rather, the principal matter for investigation is whether those we elected, those they appointed, and those who carried out the purposeful orders of their civilian superiors committed and ordered others to commit crimes; in short: this isn’t about misfeasance, but malfeasance.
The American public does not need an investigation to determine if torture was committed—of course it was.  Read any serious work, such as Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, and that conclusion is inescapable.  Nor does it need a commission to delve into the question of whether such acts of torture were authorized by top-level lawyers and officials in the Bush Administration—of course they were.  Read the various torture memos themselves or listen to the former vice president himself, and it is equally inescapable to conclude that what was done to detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan was proudly and directly authorized by these people.  Nor do we even need a commission to study and report on what the administration’s rationale was for ordering, implementing, and carrying out these activities.  They told us flat out: to extract information that would prevent another attack (as if . . .) and, as more recently reported, to obtain information linking 9/11 to the already formulated decision to invade Iraq.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

"There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.
"The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.

Yes, those issues are properly reviewable by congress, commissions, historian, and the after-action investigators found at all levels of government.  And certainly, someday, it would be good for such people to look deeply into the whys and wherefores of all of that, for it is important that we learn from the mistakes of the past.

But determining what occurred, while necessary, is not as important as determining that, given what did occur, were crimes committed and, if so, who committed them.  And, for that, do we gather a group of citizens with little ability to force an administration hell-bent on secrecy and obfuscation to do anything more than dance legal circles around them, much like David Addington and John Yoo already did when called before congress, and do so without consequence?  Or, do we, in full recognition of what these people did—what we already know them to have done—force them to appear pursuant to subpoena (after an obligatory fight to avoid it) and give real answers to direct questions or invoke their right not incriminate themselves?  
Only the latter course should be acceptable.  We need to know whether crimes were committed in our names, and that is the province of the prosecutor, not the commission.  If immunity is going to be offered to some—and you know it will—let it at least come in exchange for accountability and the possibility of convictions, and not merely a better understanding of what took place.

For his part, however, Barack Obama has been, to put it mildly, resistant to the appointment of such a prosecutor.  Only recently, and not terribly strongly, did he admit to the idea that it is for Eric Holder to make the ultimate determination as to whether a formal appointment will be made.  In doing so, he released the statement of April 16, 2008, that recognized Holder’s role by dousing it with the huge presidential wet blanket of looking forward and moving on:

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.

Is this to be taken as a hint to the attorney general that he will not whole-heartedly support—or in fact disfavors—the appointment of a prosecutor?  I would certainly say "yes," if the purpose of the prosecutor is to lay blame.  But that is not the role of that office.  Rather, the role is, as Obama does at least pay some heed to in his statement, to enforce the laws of the land:  "The United States is a nation of laws. My Administration will always act in accordance with those laws, and with an unshakeable commitment to our ideals."  At the very least, I hope it is not lost on the former constitutional law professor that there is an ocean’s width of difference between merely laying blame and exacting retribution versus the constitutional and statutory (and in this case, treaty-mandated) duties of seeing to it that the laws are faithfully executed.

This is not a time where failures of enforcement, or to be more kind, selective enforcement, of laws can be justified in the name of political expediency and unnecessary (and ultimately unwelcomed) attempts at a false unity between the parties and the people they nominally represent.  Not when the very morality of the nation, how it is viewed in the world as it seeks further moral authority to lead it, and its ability to attract international partners for its endeavors (especially in dealing with Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan) is at stake.

Were Crimes Committed?

Clearly, I believe crimes were committed—otherwise, no diary arguing for their prosecution would make sense.  And though this is not anywhere near a unanimously held opinion, there are several statutes that certainly do appear to have been violated, assuming what we have read to be authorized in these memos is what took place.   For a factual predicate to proffer charges, I take as at least facial accurate the interrogation techniques described in the popular press, most particularly the work of Jane Mayer, as it appears in The Dark Side, but more so the requests for legal pre-approval that appear as questions in the various torture memos (especially that written by John Yoo and signed by Jay Bybee dated August 1, 2002, which reads as a studied disregard of Sec. 2340A, reproduced below); leaks from the Report of the Internation Committee of the Red Cross; and, perhaps most especially, the recent comments of the Richard B. Cheney and previous comments of high administration personnel who have admitted to fact that interrogation techniques which qualify as torture—as per Attorney General Holder—were committed.

This is Section 2340A of US Code, Chpt. 113C, Title 18:


     (a) Offense. - Whoever outside the United States commits or
   attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or
   imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to
   any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be
   punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
     (b) Jurisdiction. - There is jurisdiction over the activity
   prohibited in subsection (a) if -
       (1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
       (2) the alleged offender is present in the United States,
     irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged

     (c) Conspiracy. - A person who conspires to commit an offense
   under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other
   than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the
   offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

Section 2340 defines torture:


     As used in this chapter -
       (1) "torture" means an act committed by a person acting under
     the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical
     or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering
     incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his
     custody or physical control;
       (2) "severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged
     mental harm caused by or resulting from -
         (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of
       severe physical pain or suffering;
         (B) the administration or application, or threatened
       administration or application, of mind-altering substances or
       other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or
       the personality;
         (C) the threat of imminent death; or
         (D) the threat that another person will imminently be
       subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the
       administration or application of mind-altering substances or
       other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or
       personality; and

       (3) "United States" includes all areas under the jurisdiction
     of the United States including any of the places described in
     sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501(2) of title 49.

Additionally, 18 USC, Chpt. 118, Sec. 2441 details and makes illegal committing war crimes, which include grave violations of the Geneva Conventions:

War crimes

     (a) Offense. - Whoever, whether inside or outside the United
   States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described
   in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
   for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the
   victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
     (b) Circumstances. - The circumstances referred to in subsection
   (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of
   such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States
   or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of
   the Immigration and Nationality Act).
     (c) Definition. - As used in this section the term "war crime"
   means any conduct -
       (1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international
     conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to
     such convention to which the United States is a party;
       (2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the
     Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on
     Land, signed 18 October 1907;
       (3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the
     international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or
     any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a
     party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
       (4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and
     contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or
     Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices
     as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3
     May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol,
     willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.

I’d think we could leave it to the special prosecutor to determine and make the case for whether such interrogations techniques such as though pre-authorized by Bybee and Yoo would be considered grave violations.  That we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for similar techniques would seemingly provide at least persuasive precedent for an affirmative finding.  Bybee and Yoo treat such cases as though they do not exist.  And that leads to the next issue: criminal intent.

Of course, with certain exception, no crime can be committed without proving the requisite criminal intent, or mens rea.  And while I would love to be able to slam dunk this one, it’s much more difficult to assess based upon merely the facts we have at public disposal.  There will be much made of this legal requirement, for it is usually the toughest element of a crime to prove.  Thankfully, much of what we have read in the various memoranda themselves evinces a studied and woefully feeble effort to cloak the requested techniques with the imprimatur of law, and in so doing discloses the mental pathway the authors and their higher-ups took to arriving at these so-called legal justifications of torture.  They read as the illegal acrobatics taken down the pathway to a studied disregard of the plain meaning of words, phrases, and legal precedent.  No lawyer, no matter how "innocent," can claim ignorance of such relevant precedent with a straight face.  That discussion of prior cases was so obviously left from the discussion could only mean that the resultant conclusion was one that had been pre-ordained.  And we know precisely who in the administration had the power, authority, desire, and bloodlessness to order a legal justification of torture.

For a more thorough explication of the mens rea issue, please see Scott Horton’s excellent piece, The Torture Tango, that appeared in the April 20, 2009, issue of Harper’s.

In addition to what appear to be at least prima facie violations of Sections 2340A and 2441 of Title 18, the Geneva Conventions and the 1994 Convention Against Torture (signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988) obligate the United States to investigate and try persons believed to have either committed torture (i.e., "grave breaches" in the case of the Geneva Conventions) or ordered others to commit torture.
Finally, allow me to get a bit cynical.  Once the ball on all this starts rolling, it is not too fanciful to predict that some of these lawyers are going to start falling on their swords and start talking at length as to who it was who ordered these memoranda, under what circumstances, and for what vile purpose.  I cannot see Jay Bybee taking the fall to protect those whose bidding he did (or, at the very least, signed his name for).  Too, a thorough reading of the journalism that has come from the detainee torture issues discloses several people who did much to try to persuade their superiors and others in the administration not to head down this path.  They include such people as Jack Goldsmith, Ali Soufan, John Bellinger, Alberto Mora, Lawrence Wilkerson, and numerous others.  (And that is something I’ll try to look into in a later diary: who can be counted on to give evidence to support convictions?  Fascinating stuff.)

There is clearly enough to proceed with here, and I believe Eric Holder is obligated to proceed.  The acts with are documented (and were admitted) to have occurred clearly justify—indeed they mandate—the appointment of a special prosecutor.  From his seat before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, he said himself that waterboarding, if nothing else, was indeed torture.  These memos shine a clear light on how we got from the evil inspiration to the commission of the final acts.  An investigation centered on the question of prosecution, to fact-finding, is warranted, and there is no longer any reason to dither with this by awaiting the findings of yet another committee.
So, no, we don’t need another truth commission; it’s time to give this one to the prosecutor and let the case be made.

Originally posted to GOTV on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 06:52 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So you're against torure? (7+ / 0-)

    That's really taking a stand GOTV.  Good for you dude.

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 06:59:04 PM PDT

  •  Make that torture. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    panicbean, Skid, trashablanca

    I'd hate for the spelling police to jump on me too...I have enough problems with the diary police.

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:01:55 PM PDT

  •  The only reason we would need a truth comm (5+ / 0-)

    is if we were coming out of 30 years of dictatorial rule with horrible abuses of the constitution and general rule of law.  

    Only if our government was so coopted by special interest and big money that there was really no way to get resolution to the crimes that were committed.  

    Only and only if we are trying to save ourselves from the failed-state status that we were in.

    I am not saying we don't need a truth commission, I just hope not.

  •  Of course D.C. Dems want to punt this issue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GOTV, Skid, NewDealer, chrome327

    Even after eight years of the Bush administration's constitutional depredations, Beltway-based consultants continue to feed them the same old line: "But if you come out in favor of that, 'swing voters' and 'security moms' don't like it."

    Earth to D.C. Dems: what happened during the Bush years was definitely not "politics as usual."

    "Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio."--President Gerald Ford.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:34:10 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, that's true, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dump Terry McAuliffe, Skid

      but there's no denying the complexity of the politics of this, and I never did address what may be an even more difficult and layered reality, and that is the huge vaccuum that such a prosecution will act as on anything and everything else of substance that Obama and the Dems want to get done.  In that, there are plenty of good reasons for not proceeding.  My point was to present a plausible legal case for the apppointment of a special prosecutor, with the politics of the matter mostly set aside.

      Magis vinum, magis verum

      by GOTV on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree 100 percent (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GOTV, Skid, NewDealer

        with the appointment of an independent counsel. There are two important--and related--objectives of such an investigation: (1) finding out who gave the green light to torture, and the events leading up to that decision; and (2) minimizing the chances of this happening again.

        "Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio."--President Gerald Ford.

        by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:44:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read Horton's "Torture Tango" article (0+ / 0-)

          linked above.  He does a great job of interpreting the interplay between Bybee/Yoo and Rizzo, and makes some pretty salient observations as to what was requested and when.

          Magis vinum, magis verum

          by GOTV on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:48:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent diary, tipped & rec'd (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GOTV, NewDealer

        You make an excellent case for appointing a special prosecutor, a position I support 100%.  It's time to prove to the world (and ourselves) that nobody is above the law.  Yes, the politics are complicated.  I suspect that the President's odd stance on this issue is directly due to the effect he knows it will have on his agenda.  However, this is not some minor issue which we can afford to put off for now.  If America is to reclaim her place in this world we must deal with this now.  

        Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management. - Edward Kennedy

        by downsouth on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:50:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

          You really nailed down my thoughts on this, especially the politicla misgivings I have on it.  I was against impeachment for largely political reasons, but also for the reason that I didn't think Democrats could prove their case even to the satisfaction of the House.  As so much more has come out since then, and as the finder of fact will no longer be a political body, but a legal one, I am now, based upon the newly released memoranda (epecially as concerns the ability to prove a criminal intent), coming down on the side of having the prosecutor appointed--with the idea that a provable case can be made--and let any warranted prosecutions go forward.  

          I agree that the political ramifications and even some of the substantive policy initiatives may well have to take a back seat.  

          Magis vinum, magis verum

          by GOTV on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 07:59:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One minor objection "tired old (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GOTV, athensga

    Lee Hamilton' is a cheap shot on a guy who earned his stripes.

  •  How about a Professional Responsibility (0+ / 0-)

    investigation of the lawyers?  Seems to me that's where this begins, and maybe ends unless one of them turns into John Dean after disbarment. It would definitely send the message that torture is illegal.

    •  That's probably a much easier, but ultimately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      todd in salt lake

      inadequate, sanction.  If they're convicted, suspension of a law license is almost automatic in most jurisdictions.  Disbarment would be walk in the park.  No, what these guys did was criminal, and they ought to stand for crimes, breaches of legal ethics.

      Magis vinum, magis verum

      by GOTV on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 08:29:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Problem with Prof. Respon investigation... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of the lawyers, athensga, is that such investigations are confidential and not revealed to the public.  

      Don't get me wrong, I think that such investigations should be conducted but that they should proceed parallel to the actions of a Special Prosecutor for all the reasons that are in this excellent diary.  

  •  I tipped and recommended this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I'm going to link mine here, which is probably rude, but seriously, once you read you'll see why.

    It's more evidence of a policy of torture, and evidence of these people trying to blame the troops, when a lot of the torture can be found in CIA manuals that were written in the '60s and used in the Reagan administration.

    They tell the readers if the prisoner is afraid of bugs to put them somewhere with bugs, which was written in the Bybee memo.

    So I'm totally linking it for my own ego but also because it's completely relevant.

    "ENOUGH!" - President Barack Hussein Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 08:34:48 PM PDT

  •  Super Diary, GOTV, with lots of good... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    comments and links.  Hats off to your excellent work.

    Just a few points:

    You write:  "Yet, senior Democratic leaders are dithering. Sen. Diane Feinstein has already determined that..."  

    Good points but points that need further development.  I truly believe that Obama is reluctant to investigate and prosecute in this area BECAUSE so many democrats in Congress aided and abetted the torturers (through action or inaction).  Take Feinstein, now head of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  What exactly has she done in the past on these issues?  We also have the question of Jane Harmon probably being blackmailed by Bush's AG into supporting their positions.
    I did a diary recently that looked at the CIA Inspector General's Special Review in 2004 of torture.  This diary, "Bush HIMSELF Called for Prosecution of Torturers in CIA Report" is found here at Dailykos.

    The Special Review conducted by the CIA indicates democratic complicity in events surrounding torture:

    "In the Fall of 2002, the Agency [CIA] briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EIT's [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques)."

    Source:  Special Review at 23.  

    So leaders of both parties on the intelligence committees, according to the CIA, were briefed as early as the Fall of 2002 (and did nothing).  I believe THIS is the real reason that Obama is opposing any real investigation of this question.  

    •  Thanks, and great points (0+ / 0-)

      I started down the Dems are complicit path, but this diary got too long for most people's patience, I'm sure, as it is.  And, it wasn't precisely germane to the issue of a commission (or other congressional inquiry such as Feinstein's) versus, just appointing the prosecutor and letting her or him do the work needed to investigate and, if warranted, prepare a case.  Nonetheless, that is a very real issue, and I'm sure is more substantive than we are currently aware.  

      What troubles me is that if Pelosi was briefed on the actually methods employed and not simply that they were presenting to her a hypothetical menu, she's in a deep shit on this--which makes her high-stakes game of chicken, calling for the attorneys to be investigated all the more, well, ballsy.

      Thanks for the link to your diay; I'll check it out.

      Magis vinum, magis verum

      by GOTV on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 09:12:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pelosi on Waterboarding/Torture (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Thanks for the detailed reply and the reasoning provided.  Yes, this whole issue is a complicated and thorny one.

        On Pelosi, here is some good info courtesy of Wikipedia:

        In one hour-long 2002 briefing [which appears to be the one referenced by the CIA's Special Review in my comment above], while Pelosi was the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, she was told about enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding.[97][98] Two Unnamed former Bush Administration officials say that the briefing was detailed and graphic, and at the time she didn't raise substantial objections[99]. One unnamed U.S. official present during the early briefings said, "In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to September 11 and people were still in a panic. But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.'"

        Officials in congress say her ability to challenge the practices was hampered by strict rules of secrecy that prohibited her from being able to take notes or consult legal experts or members of her own staffs.[100] In an April, 2009 press conference Pelosi stated, "In that or any other briefing...we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used. What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel -- the Office of Legislative Counsel opinions that they could be used, but not that they would. And they further -- further, the point was that if and when they would be used, they would brief Congress at that time"[101][102] Pelosi's office stated that she later protested the technique and that she concurred with objections raised by Democratic colleague Jane Harman in a letter to the C.I.A. in early 2003.[96]

        Here are the Wikipedia footnote sources from the same article:

        96 a b Mazzetti, Mark, C.I.A. Official in Inquiry Called a 'Hero', New York Times, 2007-12-10
        97 Torture battle escalating, Pelosi vs. Boehner, San Francisco Chronicle, April 23 2009

        98 Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002, The Washington Post, December 9, 2007
        99 Warrick, Joby; Dan Eggen (2007-12-09). "Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002". Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-12-10.  
        100 Thrush, Glenn (2009-04-23). "Pelosi briefed on waterboarding in '02". Politico. Retrieved on 2009-04-23.  
        102 Thrush, Glenn (2009-04-23). "Pelosi: I didn't know about use of waterboarding". Politico. Retrieved on 2009-04-23.  


        Glenn Grennewald over at his Salon blog has an excellent discussion of the democratic complicity and points out that it makes this issue really nonpartisan.

        •  US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          My post above refers to the House committee overlooking intelligence.

          Of course, there is a complimentary Senate committee.  Wikipedia shows that Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fl)was head of this from 2001-2003 followed by Pat Roberts (R-Ks) (2003-2007) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) from 2007-2009.  All of these people could be on the hot spot.  Of course, Dianne Feinstein was also on the Intelligence committee during these times and has a lot to answer for.

    •  Harman (2+ / 0-)
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      GOTV, srkp23

      It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for her to be weakened enough to be taken out in a primary.  Too much protecting of those who have compromised themselves got the Republicans in a lot of trouble.  Generally not a terrific idea, to my thinking.

      The river always wins. -- Mark Twain

      by Land of Enchantment on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 09:37:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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