The New York Times reports that even after the Justice Department disowned the 2002 Torture memo in 2004, it created a new secret memo in February 2005 under the direction of the new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. This new memo, signed by the new head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven G. Bradbury, endorsed "the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency." According to the Times report, this memo-- what I will call Torture Memo 2.0-- "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."Let me understand, Gonzo quits and all the outrage, demands for documents, threat of subpoenas, promises to get to the bottom of wrongdoings -- all that came to an abrupt halt. What gives? Was it all political posturing by Sen. Leahy et al? Why the silence? Are they willing to just let the scoundrels slink away, scot free? Was it all about driving Gonzo from office and nothing more? I certainly hope not.
The twisting of law by the Justice Department under Alberto Gonzales is far worse than Gonzales' misleading testimony in front of Congress about the U.S. Attorney scandal. That scandal dominated the headlines for weeks. This one deserves far more searching press scrutiny. Despite the fact that Congress repeatedly passed legislation stating that it was illegal for U.S. personnel to engage in torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the Justice Department repeatedly redefined the terms of these prohibitions so that the CIA could keep doing exactly what the Justice Department had authorized to do before. Gonzales treated all of these laws as if they made no difference at all, as if they were just pieces of paper.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Yale law professor Jack Balkin writes:
Posted by Grey Matter at 6:34 AM