Monday, June 08, 2009

The Cover-Up Exposed

Today, Dan Froomkin does us all proud in giving an excellent, comprehensive summary of the WH cover-up for torture, a cover-up that he follows through its disgraceful commission.

While several sources have dealt with the subject, including a NYT article that was yet another cover-up, White House Watch covers the whole dismal affair. one e-mail, Comey describes an exchange with Ted Ullyot, then Gonzales's chief of staff: "I told him that the people who were applying pressure now would not be there when the s--- hit the fan. Rather, they would simply say they had only asked for an opinion."

Gonzales and Ullyot both came to Justice from the White House counsel's office. And Comey writes that "everyone seemed to be thinking as if they still work at the White House and not the United States Department of Justice."

Noting that he had already announced his resignation at the time, Comey expresses sadness that some top officials who were "too weak to stand up for the principles" that undergird DOJ.

This is exactly what many of us have been alleging for a long time.

In one e-mail, Comey describes a dramatic meeting with Gonzales, in which he warned that approval of the interrogation techniques would likely lead to criminal prosecution.

"In stark terms I explained to him what this would look like some day and what it would mean for the president and the government," Comey writes. "I sketched out the 'summation' that could be made to demonstrate that some of this stuff was simply awful. I told him it would all come out some day and be presented in the ways I was presenting it."
"The AG began by saying that [then-national security adviser Condoleezza] Rice was not interested in discussing details and that her attitude was that if DOJ said it was legal and CIA said it was effective, then that ended it, without a need for detailed policy discussion," Comey writes. "Pat and I urged the AG in the strongest possible terms to drive a full policy discussion of all techniques."

Comey then writes about delivering to Gonzales that imagined "summation" in the case against the administration for torture. And, he adds: "I mentioned that there was a video of an early session, which would come out eventually."

Comey writes that later that day, upon returning from the White House, Gonzales "said the meeting had gone very well, and that there had been a full factual and policy discussion. He said the issues were fully presented and and he had drawn my 'worst-case scenario' for them. At the end, all the Principles approved the full list."

Comey's prediction that "simply awful" things would be eventually made public was proven correct. But the video he mentioned was one of many that the CIA conveniently destroyed less than six months later. And of course his vision of a criminal prosecution remains unfulfilled. Oh, to hear that summation -- either from Comey, or from a federal prosecutor.

As Froomkin says in the intro in his post, we have known how badly the government has been run, and seen it was from ex-Darth, but now we have documentation.

Crimes were committed, the effort to cover them up has failed, and we must prosecute. We do not have a right to claim that the Rule of Law prevails here if we don't. We lost a whole generation of 'conservatives' who were turned into monsters. We can't afford that to happen again.


On another atrocity; today is World Oceans Day.

The U.N. reports that 75 percent of seafood species are maxed out or overexploited and catches of nearly a third of these species are less than 10 percent of what they once were. Ninety percent of the big fish -- sharks, tuna, swordfish -- are already gone, according to a 2003 study in Nature.

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