Alberto Gonzales Explains Why Torture Didn’t Work Even While Defending It

By: Monday May 9, 2011 8:30 am

The “painstaking analysis” Gonzales claims DOJ did to authorize torture relies on the argument that torture must be used because only torture will reveal information quickly enough. But here we are, nine years after that analysis was done, and the recipient of one of the memos summarizing that analysis now concedes that “every intelligence expert” he knows confirms that “it takes a great deal of time to develop human intelligence.”

 

The Bush White Paper and the Classified Opinion

By: Thursday March 24, 2011 6:20 pm

As has often been noted, the White Paper the Bush Administration released on January 19, 2006 largely repeats the analysis Jack Goldsmith did in his May 6, 2004 Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion on the warrantless wiretap program. So I decided to compare the two documents.

Not only did such a comparison help me see things in both documents I hadn’t seen before. But there are a number of things that appear in the White Paper but not the unredacted parts of the opinion. Some of this, such as Administration statements after the warrantless wiretap program was exposed in 2005, simply serve as the publicly acceptable discussion of the program.

The Crooks Trying to Bail Out Alberto Gonzales

By: Friday December 3, 2010 4:50 pm

Let me start by stating that the words “legal” and “trust” don’t belong on a letterhead with Alberto Gonzales’ name blazoned at the top.

But that’s not the most interesting part of the letter soliciting donations for a legal defense fund for AGAG (linked by Main Justice). It’s the number of signers who were deeply embroiled in Bush Administration corruption. Starting, appropriately enough, with Bush himself.

Bush Admits to Approving Torture – But Which Use of It?

By: Thursday November 4, 2010 6:03 am

Bush has admitted to approving torture in 2003. But that likely obfuscates his earlier approval for torture at a time when he had no legal cover for doing so.

In other news, the statute of limitations on the torture tape destruction expires in just three or four days. Yet we’ve got silence coming from John Durham.

Why Were the Torture Tapes Destroyed?

By: Friday April 23, 2010 3:45 pm

Bob Baer has a column out stating that he can’t figure out why the torture tapes were destroyed–and repeating CIA spin claiming the torture depicted in the tapes should not, itself, be a legal problem, since it was approved by DOJ. I thought I ought to sum up what we who have been following all along already know–but Baer’s CIA sources aren’t telling him.

What Happened to That Other OPR Report?

By: Tuesday April 13, 2010 7:59 am

Remember the OPR Report? No, not the OPR Report on John Yoo’s laughably bad torture memos. I’m talking about the OPR Report on John Yoo’s even worse memo(s) authorizing domestic surveillance. The Torture OPR Report notes that it was the domestic surveillance memo, and not the torture memos, that first clued Jack Goldsmith into how dangerous John Yoo was. So where is it?

Justice Dept.’s Daniel Levin Told DOD General Counsel Haynes – Again – Not to Torture

By: Sunday April 11, 2010 5:00 pm

We’ve long known that in February 2005, then-acting head of OLC Daniel Levin contacted DOD General Counsel to remind him that the March 14, 2003 Yoo memo on torture had been withdrawn. But I, for one, had never seen a copy of that letter. It turns out the government included it with their Appeals brief in the David Passaro case (see pages 99-100).

How the CIA Avoided Negligent Homicide Charges in the Salt Pit Killing

By: Monday April 5, 2010 6:05 am

There’s a reason why Gul Rahman’s killer wasn’t charged with negligent homicide. The declination memo used to analyze the death worked under the claim that such laws didn’t apply.

CIA Lawyers Discussed “Issue that Arose” Three Days Before July 13 Fax

By: Sunday April 4, 2010 6:45 am

Something appears to have been done to detainee Abu Zubaydah which caused severe mental suffering–something amounting to a threat of imminent death, like waterboarding or mock burial. In response to that treatment AZ gives his torturers the first piece of intelligence that actually involves al Qaeda (because, of course, he wasn’t a member of al Qaeda). But the treatment is serious enough that CIA’s lawyers (probably including John Rizzo) start worrying whether it can get the torturers charged with torture. That probably weighed heavily on John Rizzo when, after he presented the “proposed” torture program on July 13, the country’s top prosecutors reacted badly. And so, panicked, he asked John Yoo for a fax laying out how to avoid being charged under the torture statute. And while CIA and OLC danced around for two more weeks preparing a document that made the torture program look palatable enough to sign off on, that wasn’t what CIA would rely on.

Did Addington Oppose 9/11 Commission Questions to Avoid Independent Evaluation of Torture Program?

By: Wednesday March 17, 2010 4:30 pm

As former legal counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney, David Addington apparently took the lead on refusing the 9/11 Commission’s request to review interrogation tapes or access to detainees. It appears Addington got the draft of the letter from 9/11 Commission–which was addressed to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet. Tenet and Addington clearly had a conversation about how to respond. But it seems that Addington drafted the response, got Condoleeza Rice, Andy Card, and Alberto Gonzales to review it, and then sent it to Tenet (and, presumably, Rumsfeld) to okay and sign the letter.

Why would Addington have obstructed the 9/11 Commission’s review?

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