Thursday, October 04, 2007

Another Cave-In

Senator Patrick Leahy had promised that the confirmation hearings for the new Attorney General would be held up until the White House complied with the Senate's demand for documents concerning the Justice Department's politically motivated behavior under Alberto Gonzales. Today, we learn that Sen. Leahy has backed down from that promise. Ironically, today the NY Times reports that the Justice Department under Mr. Gonzales issued a sweeping secret opinion justifying the use of what can only be called torture in interrogating terror suspects.

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures. ...

Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil.
[Emphasis added]

Secret documents which most lawmakers didn't know existed: the hallmark of the Bush White House.

Yet Mr. Leahy doesn't want to hold up the confirmation of the next White House nominee? There's something wrong here, something desperately wrong, and Mr. Leahy needs to reconsider his position.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saved this but I don't remember where it was from.

Is there anyone but me who is troubled by the fact that the "wardrobe malfunction" received a fine more than the total fines imposed by OSHA for all coal mining deaths in places like Sago for all years combined 2000-2006?

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reneging on torture, the second that Comey was out and Gonzales was in, raises a question that Congress should have asked about the NSA "program" and, so far as I know, never did.

At Comey's behest, the warrantless wiretapping was altered, and the most egregiously illegal pieces of it modified. Okay. So was it modified right back again, the moment that those ACLU-licking do-gooders Ashcroft, Goldsmith, and Comey were safely gone?

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Gonzales say under oath that that program was cancelled and that after 2004 there was no more torture?

Or did he just perjure himself about that, too?

11:09 AM  

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