Torture Timeline

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The Washington Post just published a timeline on the CIA’s torture program approval process. Its from a report Holder provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Here are a few of the key points.

Rice gave a key early approval, when, as President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, she met on July 17, 2002, with the CIA’s then-director, George J. Tenet, and “advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation of Abu Zubaida,” subject to approval by the Justice Department, according to the timeline…

A year later, in July 2003, the CIA briefed Rice, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Attorney General Ashcroft, White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and National Security Council legal adviser John Bellinger on the use of waterboarding and other techniques, it states. They “reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy.”…

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld were not briefed on the program until Sept. 2003, according to the narrative…

In the fall of 2002, four senior members of Congress, including  Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), now speaker of the House, were secretly briefed on interrogation techniques including waterboarding, according to U.S. officials…

A fresh legal review by the Justice Department prompted Ashcroft to inform the CIA in writing on July 22, 2004, that its interrogation methods — except waterboarding — were legal. The following month, the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel added that even waterboarding would be legal if it were carried out with a series of safeguards according to CIA plans. By the following May, the department had completed two more reviews of the program that came to the same conclusion. These were among the memos released by President Obama this week.

A couple of thoughts I had:

1. Pretty damning for Condi – perhaps why we got all the bluster yesterday from Zeikelow, her legal counsel.

2. Pelosi and three other members of Congress knew in the fall of 2002.

3. Ashcroft says waterboarding isn’t legal – so OLC responds by writing memos that it is.

4. I think it might be important to remember that this is a timeline for CIA activities. Sounds like the report from the Armed Services Committee documented a whole different process.

5. That this came from Holder indicates that perhaps the investigation has been underway for awhile now.  


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  1. tidaL wAve! Pictures, Images and Photos

    • ANKOSS on April 23, 2009 at 04:16

    It is just a matter of time before the prime instigators for torture are revealed. I’m betting it was Cheney, seconded by Rove. These people are the kinds of subhumans to whom torture would be intrinsically attractive. I don’t believe for a moment that Tenet started the push to torture.

    Cheney was the one who croaked about the need to go over to the “dark side” to defeat terrorism, and his chief thug Addington worked relentlessly to advance the dark side agenda. It is my earnest hope that these men are convicted of crimes against humanity.

  2. I’ve wondered throughout the discussions why members of the previous Administration–like Ashcroft who believed waterboarding (as well as other torture techniques dreamed up by the bushies) was not legal, and members of Congress–like Intelligence Committee members who were briefed on the Administration’s actions–didn’t ever stand up and insist that this was a Constitutional matter that could not legally be decided by members of the Executive Branch.  

    It still baffles me why the current Administration and the Congress is dithering about an issue that involves interpretation of the Constitution–including the Eighth Amendment and the Geneva Conventions as covered under the Treaties portion of the Constitution–as if they had an inherent right to ignore the Constitutional constraints on their Branches of government.  It also baffles me why more political analysts and legal types aren’t bringing the Constitution into the discussion.


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