Senate Judiciary Hearing on Torture

 Here’s the committee stream.

Whitehouse: [link] Winston Churchill, truth always attended by bodyguard of lies. Sordid truth of torture accompanies by bodyguard of lies. Lies are legion. Bush told us America does not torture. Cheney agreed that waterboarding a dunk in the water. Former CIA said waterboarding once. Waterboarding determined to be legal, but not told how badly law ignored and bastardized, how furiously lawyers rejected OLC opinions. Couldn’t second-guess CIA officers, now told led by contractors with a profit motive. [Enters Hayden statement on experience of torturers into record] I believe Judge Mukasey and General Hayden owe experienced interrogators an apology. Example of Zubaydah is false, as information given before torture. No accounting of wild goose chases. Legislators can’t declassify. Though many of us in Congress knew lies were false, we could not reply. You criminalize conduct by making it illegal. Prosecution does not criminalize conduct, it vindicates it. First of series of hearings. I hope we’ll soon be provided the OPR report, and hold more thorough hearings. How sad it is that there should be an OPR investigation into OLC. Thank Leahy for holding this hearing. Thank Feinstein, leading detailed investigation into Bush’s interrogation program. Ali Soufan. Interviewed al Qaeda terrorists, threats have been documented, avoid photographing his face.

Graham: Nobility of the law or political stunt. I guess if we’re going to talk about evil, we’re going to have to talk about more than just the last Administrations efforts to fight evil. Would we have this hearing if we were attacked this afternoon? Or would we focus on repairing damage and staying ahead of enemy. We need to find out who was told and when. I’m calling for any memos that show information gathered from EIT be made available to the Committee so we can see what worked. Many years after 9/11. The people we’re judging woke up one morning and said, "oh my god, what’s coming next." I’ve been a prosecutor most of my life, I know the difference between political disagreement and a crime. The idea that you’d consult your political opponents with a crime.  As to Army Field Manual, to say that is the only way to interrogate is just not right. Let’s bring CIA director into this hearing, he has already testify he would ask for techniques not in army field manual. I think this Administration’s policy, at least through CIA Director’s sworn testimony, include techniques not included in AFM.  Members of Congress allegedly were briefed about these interrogation techniques. If you’re trying to commit a crime, it’d be the last thing in your mind to go around telling people on the other side of the aisle about it. Levin report a good one, it’s there to be read. Graham says that military will be prosecuted. As to others, Geneva Convention did not apply until 2006. We have today the best war crimes statute, would outlaw a "grave breach" of the Geneva Convention. McCain Amendment [which only codifies the 8th Amendment and so is not new] gives clear direction. Graham, Obama Administration very responsible view. I believe will ask for another continuance. I do appreciate what President is trying to do to repair our image. As we harshly judge those who had to make decisions we don’t have to make, what we do in looking back may determine how we move forward. 

Leahy: [link] This is one of the most important hearings the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold this year.  I would urge Senators not to raise straw men and try to predetermine this hearing. Let’s listen to the witnesses and not raise hypotheses not in the record. Chairman’s background makes him eminently suited. How we got to a place where the OLC came to write predetermined and premediated legal opinions that allowed President Bush to authorize torture. Opinions that ignore our own laws and precdents. Purported legal bases, ends justify the means, it is not reasoning that stands up. Hypertechnical that disregard the prohibitions in our law. All premised on President can be above the law. None of us as Senators, no one in this room. Senator Whitehouse deserves applause, commitment to rule of law. I’d like to go foward with non-partisan commission, but that’s going to require support from both sides. Invited Bybee to testify. I did so after reading WaPo and NY, regrets about, the defended the opinions. Which Jay Bybee do we rely upon? He’s declined through his lawyers, I assume he has no exonerating information to provide. He’s talked to friends and colleagues, apparently the only people he has not explained his actions to are the people who granted him a lifetime appointment to the bench. We have to restore the trust in our govt. All Vermonters are proud Americans. I’m also proud that the USA has not been afraid to admit its mistakes. It’s why the American people deserve to know what mistakes have been made.

DiFi: Last month the Obama Admin released four memoranda. Well within Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction, to make findings as to whether they fall within existing law. Listened very carefully to Graham. I do not agree. Prior Admin made the judgment that they [GC] do not apply, but they were repudiated by SCOTUS. As was the case with the program on warrantless surveillance restricted for years. Authors of these opinions may face certain sanctions. While DOJ can review, SJC does have responsibility of oversight of DOJ and how it interprets the law. Just as SSCI has oversight of 16 intelligence agencies. Intell exercising oversight responsibilities. Detailed review of conditions of detention experienced by HVDs, how techniques applied, by whom, what information produced, whether such info could have been obtained through other means, eval of whether the interrogation program complied with or exceeded the guidelines, and whether SSCI was accurately briefed and given a full explanation of what was happening around the world. This particular point is important given our oversight responsibilities.  Involves months of review, millions of unredacted cables and emails, substantial personal interviews. Work will be classified to get full scope of what has happened. Work will be done fairly and professionally and in strong bipartisan manner. Brief meeting with Soufan. He’ll be asked at right time to come before Intell. 6 crossover members.

Feingold: [link] Enhanced interrogation program was illegal, contrary to national values. Like Chairman Whitehouse and Feinstein, nothing I have seen, including two docs to which Cheney has repeatedly referred indicate that torture necessary or best way to get information about detainees. Former VP misleading the American people, Further declassifications, including IG report, and work of intell committee, also sought declassification of my own correspondance, sent to Hayden detailing my clear opposition to the program. Absolutely essential if we are to return to the rule of law. Commission is needed. 

Whitehouse: I also agree that the time will come that it becomes inevitable that nonpartisan committee take a look at this all and draw it all together. David Luban. 

Luban: Opinions are ethical trainwreck. To tell it straight, without skewing. That can be hard thing to do, to say no to a client hoping for yes. OLC’s job not to provide legal cover for illegal conduct. Unfortunately the torture memos fall far short of candid advice, in some places eccentric reading of law. Reverse-engineered to approve of these techniques. 26 years ago Reagan’s DOJ prosecuted officers for waterboarding prisoners. Court of Appeals repeatedly referred to waterboarding as torture. Single most important precedent. But the authors of the torture memos never mentioned it. Hard to avoid conclusion that Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury chose to avoid mentioning it bc it declared waterboarding illegal. Other ways torture memos distort the law. Bybee broad theory of executive power, Goldsmith, extreme conclusion, no foundation in prior decisions. Comes very close to Nixon’s statement, when the president does it, except that Nixon was speaking off the cuff. Medicare statute for torture. 

Whitehouse: [introducing Zelikow] headed up 9/11 Commission, career foreign service officer at State and NSC staff.

Zelikow: I was working on counterterrorism before 9/11, looking both as scholar and policy maker, I do remember what it was like after 9/11, I’ve had some responsibility in having to make tough decision on the policy side. Reasons why we got into such a program. Collective failure, a lot of Americans felt they needed a program like this to protect the country. Collective failure, to learn from the mistake. I talk about our suspicions growing about them in 9/11 Commission, included recommendation designed to anticipate these issues. My getting involved more directly in 2005. During most of 2005, our work to get this to change–Rice, Bellinger, and I–a series of Deputy meetings, he clearly wanted his advisors to reevaluate all of these issues. Tried to get administration to agree to CID standard. Cruel and inhumane. Basic provision of law of armed conflict. Various battles that went on documented by documents. By December 2005, that battle had been won, internal work, McCain amendment. By early 2006, no way to avoid CID standard. Work of NSC deputies intensified. OLC had guarded against contigency of CID standard. It said the full program complied. [hey, I pointed this out] OLC also believed McCain was null. How to define meaning of CID standard. OLC said it should be interpreted by constitutional law. To challenge OLC’s opinion, necessary to challenge constitutional interpretation. I had worked in area of law. US interpretation of ConLaw was strained and indefenible. Could not imagine any court agreeing that the entire program could be conducted and it would not violate constitution. OLC implications way beyond intl treaties, then a program would pass American constitutional muster even if employed on American citizens. Distributed at meeting in 2006. [This means it should show up in Presidential Records] Took off to Middle East. No further discussion.  Internal debate culminating in Hamdan. Secretary Rice had argued again and again, defend the need for some continuing CIA program but would comply with relevant law. Left govt at end of 2006. Secty Rice remained deeply involved for following two years. US govt, over the past 7 years, unprecedented program, dehumanizing abuse, physical tormet. A mistake, perhaps a disastrous one, a collective one, both parties played a part, endorsing physical coercion even after McCain amendment. precisely because collective failure, more important to understand it. We’ve been doing this under international standards for years. Our decision to respect intl standards does not appear to be a hindrance in this fight. 

Addicott: Torture Convention primary document we’re looking at here, in measuring CIA. When we signed CAT, we had certain reservations, an act must specifically intend to inflict mental or physical suffering. CIA interrogation did not constitute torture under international law. Ireland v. UK. Inhumane and degrading, ill-treatment, but not torture. One was wall-standing, practiced up to 30 hours. Hooding, placed dark hood over head of detainee. Noise, continuous loud and hissing noise. Deprived of sleep, food and drink. Considering level of interrogation standards in CIA, even worst, would not constitute torture. CIA method of waterboarding, same as what we’ve done hundreds of times in SERE. Senior legal advisor for all Green Berets in the world. My legal conclusion based on Ireland case is that we did not commit torture. Those who order or engage in torture must be criminally prosecuted. If we ignore Ireland precedent, we have to prosecute. 

Turner: Like most JAG officers I’ve dealt with Senator Graham got this right from the beginning. Shortly after story of abusive treatment first broke, VOA wanting a comment. My comment was it appears good people made very bad decisions. Coauthored article in WaPo entitled War Crimes in White House. One of my suggestions was that torture was not the international standard. Article 3. Spending a lot time deciding whether torture or not. Some things done since then made me furious, wanting to kick a wall. Decent, honorable, and able. Frightened. Some may think that good people can’t do bad things. EO 9066, detention of more than 100,000 Americans without individual cause. Many of them never even visited Japan. Today we see as one of the most outrageous abuses since slavery. How could so many able people endorse such a horrible policy. I would submit the OLC lawyers acted from precisely the same motive. The title is "what went wrong." Part of problem is a general ignorance of intl law. Country been divided by basic principles of intl law. GC provides that prisoners of war tried by military courts. How could bright lawyers fail to understand that Common Article 3 did not apply. Torture lite. Not comparable to what was done in Vietnam. Not comparable to maiming done around the world. No one demanded a truth commission to go after FDR. They understood that people made bad decisions. That’s what happened here. 

Whitehouse: It sounds like you’d agree that greatest danger comes from zeal of those that are inexperienced.  Security measures for Soufan. [5 minutes break] Former FBI supervisory special agent. Investigated highly complicated terrorism cases, including Cole and 9/11.

Soufan [behind a screen]: It was always clear that those of us on the front line had your support. Interrogation methods should not be a partisan matter. Best interrogation method possible that fits within framework of nation’s principles. Spent much of my career unraveling terrorist cells around the globe. Govt’s main witness in both trials at Gitmo so far. From my experience, mistake to use enhanced techniques. Slow, ineffective, unreliable, harmful of efforts to defeat al Qaeda. Abu Jendal. [Whitehouse introduces 302s from Abu Jendal] Together with Robert McFadden. Trove of intelligence. It’s included extensive information on OBL’s network to details on individual operatives we later apprehended. Informed interrogation approach. Approach is based on leveraging knowledge of detainee’s mindset, knowledge, and culture. Interpersonal, cognitive. If done correctly, works effectively. Using a method he is not trained to outwit. It’s about outwitting the detainee. Sharp contrast to enhanced that tries to force submission. force compliance rather than elicit cooperation. Ineffective. AQ trained to resist torture. The torture they would receive done by dictatorships. Eventually detainee will call interrogator’s bluff. The contractors had to keep asking for harsher methods. In case of AZ, continued for several months. 83 times, AZ had already called Az’s bluff. WIthin first hour, gained actionable intelligence. Technique is unreliable. Don’t know if just talking. Waiting 180 hours for sleep deprivation not work in ticking timebomb. Plays into enemies handbook. Recreates chinese wall. Taints sources. Diminishes moral high ground. Not to advocate the prosecution of anyone. It has not been easy to object to these uses when backed by powerful backers. I hope you help ensure these grave mistakes are never made again.  

Whitehouse: Interrogation of AZ. You were present, first interrogators when AZ brought into custody outside of Pakistan. Within first hour, had gained actionable intell. At that point, his condition was such that hospital or die. At hospital you continued your questioning. During your questioning. KSM as mastermind. One of most significant pieces of intell. Before CTC team arrived. Then they arrived, on instructions of contractor, harsh techniques introduced, which did not produce results, AZ shut down and stopped talking. You knew we had good information. You were again given control. Used same techniques. 

Soufan: Me, another FBI agent, top CIA interrogator. Combination of FBI and CIA, all had the same opinion that contradicted with the contractor. 

Whitehouse: Third interview, pursuant to appropriate tactics that AZ disclosed details of Jose Padilla. Contractor reasserted himself, reimplementing harsh techniques. AZ shut down, stopped producing information. Brought back to interrogate. Now more difficult bc of harsh techniques. Reengaged. AT that point contractor stepped up notches of his experiment.  Might have to arrest.

Soufan:  Borderline torture.

Whitehouse: Your participation ended. 

Soufan: Asked by Mueller to leave.

Whitehouse: Page 10, OLC said: Interrogations of Zubaydah, once enhanced were employed, furnished key information. You’ve informed us that Zubaydah provided significant information, Padilla. From your position at interrogation, you know that statement not to be true.

Soufan: Yes sir.

Whitehouse: September 6, 2006, Bush said,Zubaydah defiant and evasive. During questioning disclosed nominal information. It became clear that Zubadaydah had training on how to resist. Does that accurately reflect?

Soufan: Environment, yes, injured medical care. President told half truth.

Whitehouse: Repeated half truth.

Graham: We’ve got four lawyers, all of whom are very bright, like VA, Mr. Soufan thank you for serving our country. I appreciate your view of how we should behave. As we go forward we should get this right. Is it your testimony that EIT yielded no good information.

Soufan: Can only speak about my own experience.

Graham: I think information out there that EIT yielded good information. Were you involved in KSM at all?

Soufan: No sir. After my stint with Zubaydah.

Graham: This idea that no good information acquired. Turner, GC, to me, has been a warehousing agreement between signatories. 

Turner: That’s exactly how I teach it.

Graham: problem with this war al Qaeda not signatory. The only way to find them and hit them before they hit us.

Turner: This is 90% if not more intelligence. In this battle a good police department could find AQ if we found them.

Graham: Addicott, is that right? Every other nation looks through law enforcement prism. 

Zelikow: No, that’s not right.

Graham: Any country that holds detainee under theory of armed conflict.

Zelikow: they don’t because others are holding them under theory of armed conflict.

Graham: Interrogation by spanish police? Carbineri in Italy? Turner–interrogations common article 3 compliant? No police force in world that interrogates under Article 3. Reason we have adopted different theory. People we are prosecuting didn’t rob a liquor store. Armed conflict restrict ability. 

Zelikow: we need coalition standards for the fight. Work on standards interoperable with our allies. 

Whitehouse: Interrogation with Zubaydah. Considerable conflict between one side, actionable information. Jose Padilla, Ashcroft had a press conference in Moscow. Often cast between trained professionals at CIA, and young interrogators at Army, and law enforcement constrained by Miranda. Two elements of framing wrong, very well that military and law enforcement trained professionals. You refer to other group as amateur Hollywood type. You had CIA professionals with you and wanted to continue, private contractor, not govt employee.

Soufan: Disagree that there was a conflict between FBI and CIA. Chief psychologist objected to techniques, left location before I did. Top interrogator in synch withour view, professional interrogator. This technique misunderstood threat we face from Islamic extremists. Ideologically motivated, expecting a lot, best way to deal is to be smart and engage with them, that’s what provided a lot of actionable intelligence, we can talk about successes and failures. Successes that have been talking about are Padilla and KSM. Padilla after manhunt in 3 countries, on May 8, 2002, almost 3 months before imposed. We knew about KSM in April 2002. Basing on what I’ve been hearing. 

Whitehouse: Luban, in your review, any mention of private contractors?

Luban: Specific mention. 

Whitehouse: It would seem that might raise legal issues.

Luban: Also troubled by chronology, when Bradbury wrote that Padilla was enhanced interrogation, already public information. Legal opinion stipulates something that public information showed to be untrue.

Durbin: Rice and ED of 9/11 Commission. Amplify disclosures to leaders to Congress on interrogation techniques. Served in Intell committee for four years, warned not to breath a word of it. Really briefed before the fact?

Zelikow: Feinstein, SSCI trying to break down chronology. What’s supposed to happen is Memorandum of Notification, that lets key members know. 

Durbin: After the fact?

Zelikow: it could be, should be after the program is initiated but before implemented.

Durbin: I recall Rockefeller hand-writing letter to protest this. Only way to create tangible evidence of his disapproval. Duty bound not to make disclosures. I raise this because many people seem to be suggesting that if members are informed they are complicit. I’ve seen specific limitations. Do you understand the difference here?

Zelikow: as I listen to both sides. I will tell you on the inside, we were having heated arguments. The argument would be deployed against me that "well we briefed the following members of Congress." These briefings are being used in arguments within the Administration. Does the Congress think that the oversight process is working to their satisfaction.

Durbin: Not even close. Zelikow, opinion on closing Gitmo.

Zelikow: Gordon England and I wrote a paper on closing that facility. 

Durbin: One detainee advised by email there were no charges against him. He is still in Gitmo. Indication to be of serious miscarriage of justice. Many arguing to maintain Gitmo. What do you think would be consequence if we kept Gitmo open.

Zelikow: Gitmo has become as much symbolism as substance. Everyone in America has heard of Alcatraz. Had become a symbol. Then we created supermax facilities. It doesn’t become the same focal point of controversy. Gitmo had become in world opinion toxic problem Needed to address as issue of foreign policy.

Durbin: Could people be held safely?

Zelikow: Ramzi Youssef currently in supermax now. I’ve had opportunity to examine files on holding these people. We have a vast amount of experience in how to judge highly dangerous prisoners. We routinely make these decisions. That’s a whole body of knowledge that hasn’t been tapped very well. 

Graham: Recidivism rate?

Zelikow: No reliable numbers, numbers range dozens, have been encountered again on battlefield. 

Graham: Would that be a miscarriage of justice? What if it was your daughter or son.

Zelikow: I’d feel as if it parole board released, that happens all over the country.

Graham: Is there a difference between KSM and a guy who robbed a liquor store. If you’re waiting for a member of Congress to bring them to their state, you’re not going to get that. We had 450,000 German and Japanese prisoners inside the US. Decision to put them somewhere needs to be well thought out. The idea that you have to let them go or try them.

Turner: Durbin talking about being held for years without being tried. Warehousing. Intl law does not require that military combatants not be charged. None of them got a day in court. Not supposed to try in civilian court. 

[Does this guy know diddly shit about history?]

Graham: if independent judiciary agrees with CIA and military, there is no requirement to let people go. Do you agree Addicott. 

Addicott: My opinion closing Gitmo is a mistake. It’s saying we’re torturing them. We’re in a state of war with these people. 

Graham: I agree it’s an image problem. Moral high ground is place to be. I don’t want to treat these people with kid gloves. Once we capture an enemy combatant, it becomes about us, not them. We’ll do things that they won’t do to us. 

Addicott; The propaganda that we have tortured people is a lie.

Graham: Waterboarding at 2002 was not clear what law it violated. Difference between law enforcement and intelligence gathering is a different thing. Was your interrogation Common Article 3 compliant, Soufan?

Soufan: Not after 9/11.

Graham: I would argue there was never an FBI interrogation that was Article 3 compliant? 

Soufan: I don’t agree that everybody in Gitmo enemy combatant. I don’t agree that people haven’t been tortured in Gitmo. al-Qahtani, four of the tactics later surfaced. 

351 replies
  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Lindsay Graham appears not to have heard that interview with Army Cmdr Karpinski, about how soldiers were sent straight to hell, along with their captives.

    Here’s hoping Sen Graham finds a way to focus on the military consequences and the need for maintaining the integrity of information across cultures.

  2. bmaz says:

    Um, what trials are Huckleberry talking about that we have given enemies?? The unconscious tribunals he helped set up?

  3. phred says:

    What crime would a Republican have to commit for another Republican to call it a crime?

    What the hell happened to the Republicans of the 1970s who understood that Nixon had gone too far?

    Graham has sold his soul to the devil.

      • phred says:

        Happy to help — can’t wait to hear what they have to say when you get to the bit that Graham sold his soul to the devil ; )

        • Petrocelli says:

          Sorry, I said that Graham sold his soul to Chin-ee … silence on the other end. *g*

          So I added, “Senator Graham should ask himself, if he were to meet the spirit of Washington or Lincoln, if he was representing them well, by his stance on EI.”

  4. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thank you Marcy! You should be assigned to the Treasury Dept., as you are a National Treasure!

  5. Neil says:

    Lindsey Graham is a cafeteria constitutionalists, torture, pfeww. Nation of laws? Whatever.

  6. klynn says:

    This comment I made back on The Five Criminals post…Fits some of Graham’s comments… I hear a reference to ticking time bomb legal angle scenario.

  7. phred says:

    Senator Graham, just for the record sir, investigating and prosecuting torture is the highest item on this average American’s list of things for Congress and the DoJ to do. Just wanted to clearly answer your despicable question.

  8. Neil says:

    Did Lindsey Graham just say the Geneva Convention was suspended until 2006? Does anyone remember when Congress so acting?

    • skdadl says:

      Yes, Graham was doing a very fast-fire bit of logic-chopping about the law right at that point. I’m counting on EW to have got all the detail, because it went too fast for me.

  9. Neil says:

    Graham is nervous… rocking in his chair. He knows he’s crossing a line into a place he doesn’t want to go, to defend Cheney/Bush authorization of torture.

  10. eCAHNomics says:

    Why do they let Bybee get away with refusing to testify? Don’t they have subpoena power?

  11. Neil says:

    Will some Senator in their opening statement say “We are investigating the President’s assertion that the US does not torture.

  12. NorskeFlamethrower says:

    It is time to institute a new Radical Reconstruction program and send federal troops to disenfranchise a whole bunch of these drawlin’, slobberin’, rednecked mothers and relocate ‘em to Texas and Leavenworth ,Kansas.

  13. Leen says:

    Are any of Ollbermann’s, Rachel, Ed’s or Matthews people here.? Hello have Marcy the live blogger, truth teller, fact checker on your damn programs to discuss her trumping of the New York Times on the numbers and much more about these torture hearings. Time to take your programs up a notch or two.

  14. Neil says:

    What went wrong: OLCs role in US torture regime.

    Be prepared for right-wing diversions today. lots of them!

  15. phred says:

    Anyone else get the sense DiFi’s opening statement was mostly a defense of the Intel’s committee investigation? Touchy there DiFi?

  16. eCAHNomics says:

    Feingold sez the memos that Cheney wants released, which Feingold has seen, do not show what Cheney claims. What a surprise.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      So why haven’t they been released? Course, Cheney shouldn’t be able to choose which get released.

      • eCAHNomics says:

        I haven’t a clue why some things get released and others don’t. Surely some behind the scenes going on. If I were to put on my tin hat, I’d guess that the bureaucrats that Cheney left in place are preventing their release, so Cheney can continue to say they support his case without fear of being contradicted by actual, you know, evidence.

        • dmac says:

          or they were in the stack of papers that cheney fought to send to the library of congress, to be catalogued, and wouldn’t see the light of day for a few years.

          not kidding.

        • phred says:

          I thought one of the most telling bits of Whitehouse’s opening was his frustration with the process that is required for declassification. He said it is possible, but so cumbersome for someone in Congress to declassify information, that that process has never been used. As a result only Executive Branch officials have the ability to declassify information. That is a crippling disadvantage for members of Congress to refute disinformation being spread by executive branch officials. I thought those comments said a great deal about the whole he said she said brouhaha, as well as trying to clarify why those in Congress have been so hamstrung.

      • Leen says:

        Cheney used that word “basically” to describe what depth 43 had authorized torture..”procedures, EIG’s, harsh methods” yada yada. 43 “basically authorized.

        hey during the break anyone willing to contact Rachel, Ed, Matthews, Olberman the Diane Rehm show and ask them to do themselves and the public a huge favor and have Emptywheel on. Tonight would be a good day. Marcy deserves her spot at the bigger table

        • katiejacob says:

          You’re right. I used basically because Feingold didn’t actually use the word “liar” but basically, that’s what he was saying.

  17. Leen says:

    Whitehouse “this is a foundation setting hearing”
    “beginning of a several step process. More to come”
    “sunlight has to be cast on this’

    Feinstein brings up being thorough and professional Would still like to witness an investigation into Senator Feinsteins families alleged war profiteering and conflict of interest issues.

    Feingold “was illegal” Thanks Senator Feingold!

    “absolutely essential if our country is to return to the rule of law”

    I believe Senator Feingold is a man committed to the “rule of law”

  18. eCAHNomics says:

    Luban points out the problem of lawyers telling clients what the don’t want to hear. Esp. OLC, which advises the prez.

    • JimWhite says:

      And that’s why the Rethugs don’t want Dawn Johnsen. She already said she’s not afraid to say “No” to the President.

  19. cbl2 says:

    only a professor could love (and some dfh’s hanging on your every word :D)

    Bybee’s torture memo – “startling broad theory of executive power”

    compares it to Nixon’s statement…if the president does it

  20. Leen says:

    Luban “ethical train wreck”
    “eccentric reading of the law”
    “OLC memos fall short of professional standards”

    • drational says:

      The medicare ref is what is gonna hang them- they set the torture definition as one in which death might result but for medical intervention.
      Clear from Bradbury 2005 that waterboarding was such a technique as it was applied on KSM and probably on Al-Nashiri and/or Zubaydah. The doctors intervened to require saline and tracheotomy kits be present, lest the detainee die.

  21. yellowsnapdragon says:

    Thanks for liveblogging this hearing, EW. I looooove and appreciate the superior research and blogging of Emptywheel!

  22. cbl2 says:

    memos are “large, legal trainwreck”

    jeebus, Prof Luban is making a closing argument – dayum!

  23. eCAHNomics says:

    Luban repeats “legal train wreck.” Guessing he’s hoping that’s the sound bite on tonight’s news.

    Graham rocking in his chair to calm himself.

    • klynn says:

      Luban was an important expert witness. He has been quite outspoken towards Israeli legal policy on torture and the treatment of Palestinians. Which is further important because the Israelis have developed the “ticking time bomb” legal arguments.

  24. dmac says:

    lindsay rocking his chair so hard, so he doesn’t jump across the table and strangle the guy. uncomfortable much lindsay?

    • cbl2 says:

      Huckleberry has me playing this in my head:

      They’re probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of person I am.

      I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They’ll see. They’ll see, and they’ll know, and they’ll say… (as he slowly raises his eyes to meet ours, smirking) ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly!’

      • dmac says:

        i like to think he has little voices talking to him, too…..but i bet they are saying entirely different things than ours.

      • behindthefall says:

        That quote sent me on a google (it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it) and I ran across this one, too:

        “…I am aware. I am aware! My counsel would have you believe we were not aware of the concentration camps. Not aware. Where were we? Where were we when Hitler began shrieking his hate in Reichstag? Where were we when our neighbors were being dragged out in the middle of the night to Dachau?! Where were we when every village in Germany has a railroad terminal where cattle cars were filled with children being carried out to their extermination! Where were we when they cried out in the night to us. Were we deaf, dumb, blind?….My counsel says we were not aware of the extermination of the millions. He would give you the excuse: We were only aware of the extermination of the hundreds. Does that make us any the less guilty? Maybe we didn’t know the details. But if we didn’t know, it was because we didn’t want to know… I am going to tell them the truth. I am going to tell them the truth if the whole world conspires against it. I am going to tell them the truth about their Ministry of Justice.” — Judgement at Nuremburg, Dr. Janning.

  25. whitewidow says:

    I wish my satellite had CSPAN 3. Internet streaming never seems to work worth a damn for me, even though I have a new, fast computer and high speed internet.

    The link provided tells me I have to purchase to watch. The CSPAN video stream is not working for me, plus it seems to be behind what you all are seeing.

    Any suggestions? I would really like to watch this hearing.

  26. TheraP says:

    Let me remind. In effect “torture” since it was redefined as “organ failure” meant it was just short of murder. That deaths resulted from the torture means murder. Not just deaths.

  27. brendanx says:

    Can someone puncture this stupid notion that these crimes were mitigated by the fact that they were perpetrated relatively soon after 9-11, by leaders supposedly knotted up in wetted panties for fear of an imminent attack? It was established cw that the modus operandi of Al Quaeda was to plan meticulously for a dramatic event, for years, if need be. It is and was ridiculous to think they had another one up their sleeve in the U.S.

    • TheraP says:

      What else is the Rule of Law for, but to keep people from forming vigilante groups and organizing lynchings?

      Rule of Law. It’s there for a reason!

      • NorskeFlamethrower says:

        Citizen TheraP:

        “Rule of law” is the same as “justice” and “equal protection under the law” and “democracy”…that is, “rule of law” is an idea which implementation is part of “the struggle” that goes on every minute of every day. We have NEVER had a “rule of law” what we have had is a continuing political struggle to implement the idea and like all battles the good folks do better some days and worse on others but we have never reached the ideal. Torture and war crimes trials will be a step toward the ideal but not an end to the struggle.

    • jackie says:

      we’re getting to 9/11. they can’t stop that now, it is just going to take a little while..

  28. jackie says:

    there is all sorts of stuff happening today. Pelios talking about bunch of stuff today.

  29. JimWhite says:

    Great Op-Ed in NYTimes this morning pointing out that the entire Congressional intelligence committees should have been briefed on interrogations. There is no legal basis for any Gang of Four briefings.

    The C.I.A. is prohibited by law from conducting covert action activities without express presidential approval — and this is not a requirement that the agency takes lightly. The National Security Act also requires that when the president approves a covert action program the two Congressional intelligence committees shall be “notified.” The committees do not have disapproval power, nor can they force changes at that time. But the law does require the executive branch to provide timely, written notice to the full committees — which together consist of fewer than 40 members — of the plans.

    It is unlawful for the executive branch to limit notification, as it did here, to the Gang of Four. There is no such entity recognized in the National Security Act. Federal law does provide, however, for notification of fewer lawmakers than the full intelligence committees, but only when “extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States” are at stake. Under those very limited situations, the notification may be to the “Gang of Eight,” which includes the majority and minority leadership of the House and Senate, in addition to the intelligence committee leaders.

    Writer: Vicki Divoll, a former deputy counsel to the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, was the general counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003. She teaches government at the United States Naval Academy.

  30. dmac says:

    here’s the cspan radio link for people having problems with video links.
    they are covering this hearing until 4pm according to the schedule.…..edule.aspx

    and marcy–left you this a thread or two ago—

    dmac May 13th, 2009 at 7:23 am
    In response to klynn @ 27 (show text)

    Congratulations, Marcy!!!

    But they left out your book in your mention, so, I wrote a note….Sell more books, more moolah, more research time…yayah.

    Thanks for selecting Marcy Wheeler for an award. It is deserved. However, I wondered why, in her Bio, you left out her book about the Valerie Plame/Dick Cheney leak, Anatomy of Deceit. It was the only one of its kind at the time and her research on that subject was why her liveblogging at Scooter Libby’s trial was so informed and insightful. She didn’t miss a trick. Seems that a ‘book mention’ would help to further inform people reading about her, and help Marcy get her book out there. You did mention works authored by the other winners and other works by the non-literary winners, why not Marcy’s? You also didn’t list any for Professor Green, but did mention that he has authored many things.

    She is an incredible researcher but is also gifted with being able to concisely consolidate her research and put it back out there to inform others. She is a unique talent. Please add her book to her credits. It is another incredibly detailed work product of hers that is still being proven accurate, years later, even as more documents are released by our government.


    • klynn says:

      Good point. And Marcy, make sure you don’t miss your earlier congrats party in the bmaz post.

    • whitewidow says:

      thank you

      Also from EPU land, some were questioning “non-combat related” deaths, I also noticed that on Ackerman’s blog when looking at the press releases he is posting (thanks for that, Spencer.) He brought this up also, and he said he is looking into why so many of the press releases say that.

  31. katiejacob says:

    Congradulations Marcy! There was an announcement of the Hillman Prizes on the OP-ED page of the NYT this morning, including yours. I hope you saw it.

  32. TheraP says:

    Zelikow recalls 9/11. So do I! (I hated the Patriot Act from the start. I could not believe that they were jumping the gun so fast and so recklessly.)

    • klynn says:

      Have you ever looked at the photo of Bush signing the Patriot Act? Leahy had his camera with him. Somehow, the camera in his hand caught me off guard.

    • Leen says:

      I thought the same thing during his MSNBC appearance. As if he was attempting to cover his ass while covering those who rewrote the torture laws.

      Zellikow they were in “unchartered waters”

  33. eCAHNomics says:

    Zelikow’s memo has been located & is being reviewed for declassification. Wonder how long they’ll delay that?

  34. phred says:

    WooHoo! State has a copy of Zellikow’s memo and it is under review for declassification!!!

  35. eCAHNomics says:

    Zelikow: everyone is responsible for the failure of using torture.

    Without advancing any evidence of why everyone is responsible. So presumably that means no one should be prosecuted.

  36. Neil says:

    ”This (torture) was a mistake”

    Like leaving your wallet in your unlocked car or like shooting a guy to take his wallet from him?

  37. Leen says:

    Zellikow trying to spin the torture as a “collective failure” Uh who controlled the executive branch. Who re wrote these laws?

    “coolly calculated,detrimental dehumanizing”

  38. NorskeFlamethrower says:

    “Collective failure” – definition of “if my ass is in the line of fire yours is gunna get hit too”…JEEzus, get this lying sack of shit out of here!

  39. cbl2 says:

    retired JAG up

    Note (whitehouse got his jd from same school as prof – hence his comment)

  40. Neil says:

    Zelikow calls for new laws to keep this from happening again. Harumpf. We have plenty of laws to keep this from happening. How about we apply them?

    • Neil says:

      Addicott is defending the OLC legal opinions and therefore torture. He has not addressed what (even he would consider) torture was authorized by OLC.

  41. eCAHNomics says:

    Prof said the Brits said “enhanced techniques” were legal when used against IRA.

  42. Leen says:

    Prof Addicott
    “we had reservations about signing the conventions”
    “torture roles off the tongue with great ease”
    “in the anglo saxon tradition” did he say that?

  43. reader says:

    ”Inhumane” but not torture … hmkay.

    I guess it’s only torture if you do it wrong.

  44. phred says:

    Let me guess, Addicott is Graham’s guest on the panel. I hope St. Mary’s University is proud.

        • TheraP says:

          My sense is that he was speaking so indistinctly, because in his heart of heart he’s ashamed to be speaking this on live TV – Adicott, I assume you were referring.

    • Neil says:

      Who knew academia was so full of torture apologists. Learned men who disdain torture and war crimes but nonetheless feel that prosecution is too much accountability.

  45. jayt says:

    Adicott – “nah, not torture.”

    offers up some flimsy precedent which shouldn’t cause Whitehouse to break a sweat.

  46. TheraP says:

    Addicott – this man is “compartmentalizing” like crazy – torturing “reality” in an effort to pretend “techinques” are not torture. Totally forgetting about the whole “climate of torture” under which these folks are held!

    Oh, this makes me mad!

  47. Leen says:

    did Addicott just reference Israeli torture standards?

    Well if our Congress or so called justice system does not “prosecute” Prof Addicott hopefully Spain’s justice system will

  48. cbl2 says:

    U of VA Turner –

    there’s a total wingnut named Turner from UVA – geahd I hope this isn’t the same guy

  49. TheraP says:

    We have a much higher duty – in treatment of detainees. Not just to “not torture.”

  50. phred says:

    I don’t know if Whitehouse realizes it, but he is not making a good case for attending UVA law school with these witnesses.

  51. jayt says:

    Turner offers up Japanese internments as an example of stuff that we didn’t bother to prosecute.

    yep, professor, and we’re all pretty damned proud of that.

  52. Leen says:

    Prof Robert Turr…?

    “good people, bad decisions”
    “decent, honorable” people

    Feith? Sure good to witness this hearing. But am still confused about why we are so focused on the torturing and the re written laws. Yet not one damn manipulative liar has been held accountable for all of the false, cherry picked and disseminated pre war intelligence?

    Why? Hold people accountable for re writing torture laws. No one held accountable for the pre war lies, Niger Documents? I don’t get this/

  53. TheraP says:

    What is amazing is that so many of these folks have such a sanitized view of “waterboarding” or anything else. As if this happens in antiseptic conditions, following a good night’s sleep in a hotel with room service on the way!

  54. Neil says:

    OLC and Bush/Cheney were afraid. Is that an affirmative offense for torture and war crimes?

    Is this guy a laywer, really?

  55. reader says:

    It doesn’t matter how wonderful the people were. This is a meme we hear everywhere. It’s the heart of the justification for a class system. It needs to stop. It shouldn’t be a defense at all: ”well, he/she is a good person, so we’ll let it go.”

    And ”good” is code for a lot of ”elite” qualities.

    We see this everyday.

  56. jayt says:

    OLC and Bush/Cheney were afraid. Is that an affirmative offense for torture and war crimes?

    my gawd, the guy is brilliant! He found the little-known and seldom-used ”But We Were Scared Shitless” defense.

    Whitehouse is doomed.

    • scribe says:

      A “302″ is the FBI form on which agents record statements and what they find in their investigations. These are the hardest of hard-core information (though, the FBI being the FBI, you always have to worry they are not being complete for reasons which serve the FBI).

      Declassifying the 302s relative to a particular terrist interrogation, particularly where the interrogation was non-torture, is a big deal.

  57. TheraP says:

    Soufan, “outsmart” the detainee, not force them into submission and humiliation and degradation. Enforcing “compliance” is not “eliciting cooperation.”

  58. eCAHNomics says:

    The TV program Criminal Minds (iirc) did a segment on interogating a Muslim terrorist using the Soufan techniques. The program won some sort of award. I’ll look for a link.

  59. Leen says:

    “should not be a partisan matter” “fit in the framework of our nations principles”

    torture “slow, ineffective, unreliable”

    Able to access “treasure trove of actionable intelligence” through “Informed interrogation Approval” in the Army Field Manual.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      The best arguement against ticking bomb scenario that I ever heard was a commenter here. (Sorry I can’t remember who, so if you’re present, step forward & take credit.) Under any ticking bomb scenario, it is in the subject’s interest to provide false information to send everyone on a wild goose chase until the bomb goes off. Torture would not change that equation, since they don’t know that the information is false until they chase it down.

  60. reader says:

    Thanks, scribe. These are probably not the documents Cheney is talking about, I’m guessin.’

  61. Leen says:

    So many former and present CIA analyst have been appalled by this torture. So many! have filled the air waves and blogosphere with their brave stances against the use of torture.

    Soufan’s intelligence and integrity sure makes one believe in the integrity of some in the CIA.

    wonder if Plame would have been a witness in any of these hearings if she had not been outed by the Bush administration

    • eCAHNomics says:

      CIA always tortures. Read Legacy of Ashes, among other sources. Soufan is FBI, a vast difference.

      • Leen says:

        get it. Thanks

        Does the CIA always “torture” I have heard quite a few former CIA analyst and others come out and say no to torture

        • eCAHNomics says:

          FBI collects info for prosecution, therefore can’t use torture, otherwise it’s inadmissible.

          Yes, a few good apples in CIA, but the general pattern is torture. “Torture” is not in the index of Legacy of Ashes, but I’ll scan the book and see if I can come up with some juicy examples.

            • eCAHNomics says:

              Thanks!! I’m not a good multi-tasker, so I didn’t think of the obvious thing myself.

              Here’s one:

              The agency had set up clandestine prisons to wring confessions out of suspected double agents. One was in Germany, another in Japan. The third, and the biggest, was in the Panama Canal Zone. “Like Guantanamo,” Polger said in 2005, “it was anything goes.”

              That was wrt Stalin.

              • eCAHNomics says:

                Here’s another one: Nosenko was treated just like an enemy combatant.

                Interrogators from the Soviet Russia division suspected that that Nosenko was a KGB plant and thus Nosenko was seized by CIA officers in Washington and from 1964 to 1967 was held in solitary confinement in a CIA safe house in Clinton, Maryland. Nosenko was also subjected to sensory deprivation and was administered drugs because his CIA handlers believed he was still working in secret for the KGB. Agents also strapped wires to his head, telling him falsely that the device was an electroencephalograph which would allow them to read his mind, while the device was really one that read brainwave patterns. This was a form of psychological intimidation in order to help persuade him to “tell the truth”. He was interrogated for 1,277 days.

                • Jeff Kaye says:

                  Right to bring up Nosenko, who was a key test case of the CIA’s modern torture paradigm. We don’t really know, but they say he never changed his original story, i.e., he didn’t break. But that could be total BS.

              • dmac says:

                ‘welcome…i’ve been trying to find parts for my anderson windows while doing this…heh….need the clip for the springs.
                lookout if you undo the lock!!!

                evert double-hung window in my house has no ‘resistance’…all top-half-breeze windows now.

                got the windows apart adn out to see what the problem is, now need to track down the spring clip parts.

                found the parts page, no clips. guess i’ll resort to calling them.


  62. Neil says:

    Mattel has a new Sesame Street doll, Torture Me Elmore – it’s ok becuase you’re a good person and you’re scared.

    • Petrocelli says:

      Hey reader ! I’ve been waiting for Whitehouse to get going, for almost a year now.

  63. Mary says:

    This is going to be buried but I think that is very important, especially in light of the approach that Turner is taking.

    The Executive branch acted with deliberation over a period of YEARS to prevent the legislative branch from knowing that it was re-writing law via secret Presidential directives and secret OLC opininions; the Executive branch acted with deliberation over a period of YEARS to assert Presidential authority to override legislation and judicial precedent; and then – imo the worst of it – the Executive branch acted with deliberation over a period of YEARS to prevent any of their actions from ever receiving judicial review.

    That’s not a matter of someone in a panic making the wrong decision, bc someone in that position then has an “OMG, what have I done” response. What we have seen instead is a total lack of remorse and allocution.

    And while it is nice to see Congress start to look at a few things and start to think about its coverup legislation that evades the bigger and “wronger” point of what was done – the deliberate evasion of judicial review of actions by the Executive branch.

    8 years of deliberative effort to cover up your actions from judicial review is NOT evidence of acting in good faith.

  64. Leen says:

    Will anything be asked about the alleged inappropriate questioning or treatment of KSM’s children?

    Will anything be asked about torture contractors?

  65. reader says:

    What a fucking ass. Graham is unbelievable. Insulting. And now he retreats to legal arguments about the Geneva Convention.

  66. Leen says:

    Geneva convention a “warehousing” agreement.

    “Al Queda not a signatory of the convention” what type of rationale is this that Graham is spitting out?

  67. Mary says:

    Whatever Turner and Graham think about the Geneva Conventions as a warehousing agreement between the parties, the US Sup Ct has made a determniation. It doesn’t make a twiddly’s worth of difference what Graham and Turner think – the court ruled the application.

    Graham basically just made the argument that this should be a criminal law approach, although he comes down on the opposite grounds.

    And someone need to preserve in gold (for the Koh and other Sup Ct hearings) Grahams statment that we need to solve this as a world not a nation.

  68. reader says:

    Graham’s ONLY hope is to ignore Soufan. And now he’s set himself up as a competing authority on actual interrogations.

  69. Jeff Kaye says:

    Lindsay: no one in the world interrogating a “terrorist” follows Common Article 3.

    My god, he wants to totally eliminate Geneva (except maybe as fig leaf)!

  70. Petrocelli says:

    Could someone have told Graham that the issue is not whether Spanish Law or Italian Law was broken but whether American Law was broken ?

    I’m sure that his Office has blocked my phone number after that last call.

  71. reader says:

    Graham is unhappy he’s there by himself. And he will ignore Soufan for the rest of the hearing. If he doesn’t leave before Sheldon’s done.

  72. Leen says:

    Graham these guys “did not rob a liquor store”

    I would apply Graham’s “did not rob a liquor store” standards to 43, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Rice, Feith etc etc. They started a fucking unnecessary, bloody and immoral war, tortured etc.

    They “did not rob a liquor store”. And those who have robbed liquor stores are doing far more time in our prisons than the Bush thugs will ever do. why wonder why there is such deep disrespect for our so called justice system.

  73. jackie says:

    not just CIA/FBI ground guys conflict across the board rejection of official policy…

  74. Jeff Kaye says:

    I can’t stick around, but maybe Marcy or someone can answer this question, one I think not emphasized enough:

    WHY did Mueller pull the FBI agents?
    Why did he not order them to make the torture stop, or arrest Mitchell, as Soufan apparently thought he might have to? Whose orders were Mueller following? Why did Mitchell have more authority than the head of the FBI? And if not Mitchell, then who was Mueller bowing to?

  75. JohnEly says:

    Profile of torture-contractors James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, at Mitchell Jessen & Associates, responsible for the SERE-inspired torture program.…..32,00.html

    These are the private contractors, following the Spiegel journalists, which go unmentioned by name in Soufan’s testimony today to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  76. Mary says:


    Whitehouse nailed the private contractor issue. I tried to bring this up re: telecoms, but OLC opinions are not allowed to be given for the benefit of non-gov entities. Contractors aren’t mentioned in the coverage bc the OLC can’t give them dispensation.

    Great point.

  77. Leen says:

    Senator Durbin dropping the bomb. Who asked Zellikow for his opinion documents

    Will they ask Zellikow who asked him to destroy his written opionion

  78. drational says:

    Important revelation by Soufan: The top CIA psychologist left in disgust from the Zubaydah interrogations before even the FBI.

    The CIA medical/Psych staff were replaced by contractors.

  79. SensiStar says:

    Leen: Will anything be asked about the murders and those still missing.

    If the GOP were smart they would be leading the charge instead of defending the Bush/Cheney crime syndicate.

    Oh Well.

  80. Mary says:

    Whoa, what does Whitehouse mean about the Senators briefed having been told that if they spoke it would jeopardize their colleagues and staff?

    Good that they are getting into procedure with Zelikow.

    Z is spelling out the NSA requirement that there needs to be a Presidential finding and there needs to be notification that references such finding. They should also try to get in from Z the issue that there needs to be a statement given to the Intel heads stating why the President was limiting the briefing to less than the full committees so that there is some record on that point as well.

  81. TheraP says:

    Zielkow: “both sides of this argument” in the White House situation room (he pulls authority here!)

  82. Mary says:

    FInally Durbin mentions, albeit obliquely, that there were innocent people there.

    I wish someone would get on the record the fact it has been reported many places and appeared in books that there was a CIA analysis from Aug of 2002 that revealed quite a few of the people at GITMO were innocent – maybe ask Zelikow if he is aware of the public reporting on that issue, although noting he can’t mention anything about a classified memo he might have seen.

    Then maybe get something in there about efforts to declassify all or parts of the memo.

  83. TheraP says:

    Graham: “two sides to this story”

    Yeah, I’m sure the serial murderer has a story too! Give me a break!

  84. Mary says:

    Graham to Z on what if your son was killed – you gave too good an answer, so I am going to pretend I agree with you.

  85. Leen says:

    Graham is so damn smug. Graham to Zellikow “Is there a difference between KSM and a guy who robbed a liquor store”

    Uh Senator Graham is there any difference between 43, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Judy Miller and others who are responsible for a war based on a “pack of lies” and millions of deaths, injured and displaced than a “guy who robbed a liquor store”

    Yes there is a difference Senator Graham the guy who robbed the liquor store will do time in prison in this country and the rest of these murderous thugs will not.

    “moral high ground” Graham you would not know “moral high ground” if it smacked you in the face

  86. reader says:

    ”Closing Gitmo is a propaganda victory for the enemy.” – Andicott.

    Too fucking bad. Should have thought of that a while ago.

  87. eCAHNomics says:

    OK. Weather is great and I’m going outside. Thanks for all your company during this important hearing.

    • valletta says:

      I’m re-reading Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side and I just read a passage (see if I can find it) that shortly after 9/11 Bush signed something which repealed Article 3 of Geneva as it pertained to the “war on terror”….I’ll look for it…

  88. Mary says:

    Graham and Turner want to argue that people are “pows” for purposes of us being able to hold them forever, but not pows bc we don’t say the Geneva Conventions apply to them.

    Guess what – the GCs REQUIRE – not voluntary, but REQUIRE, that someone claiming protected person status gets a full, fair tribunal – just like a real trial. So the problem at GITMO and Bagrama and so many places (and this is under the law of war that Addicot wants to use) is that we have a boatload of people who were NOT TAKEN ON THE BATTLEFIELD!

    That’s the problem – the problem with bounties and counter-insurgencies. The problem is we picked up a lot of people in a lot of ways – as Graham mentions, Common Article 3 is to protect civilians and we abandoned that protection of civilians in the GCs.

    Addicot is an ass. Louban is making the point that we were NOT compliant with the laws of war and Turner and Graham are spinning.

  89. Prairie Sunshine says:

    MSNBC reporting on FBI agent’s first person testimony that torture got in the way of getting information. While proffering Graham’s opinion that it worked just dandy.

    ’cause it’s not about the facts, you know, it’s about the Republican hardwiring….

  90. Leen says:

    Graham is an arrogant smug thug

    Grahama “Should President Bush be prosecuted?”

    follow the evidence where ever it leads

  91. phred says:

    I have to say, this is one of the best hearings I have seen (aside from Graham of course). I was really struck with Durbin. There was no grandstanding there at all. He was sincerely asking Z questions about how to address an oversight system that clearly doesn’t work.

    Meanwhile Whitehouse is getting real evidence into the record. I’m sorry selise isn’t here, I think she would be impressed.

  92. 4jkb4ia says:

    I am disappointed that Feingold did not ask a single question. Agreed that evidence is getting into the record, so that Congress officially knows about it.

    • Petrocelli says:

      Methinks Feingold is saving his strength for the next level of Hearings. Either that or he left to avoid strangling that smug f*ck, Leslie Graham

      • Mary says:

        And he knows that the biggest thing from these hearing is the statements on the record – they don’t really dig in and reveal much in general, the Soufan testimony here or the Comey testimony in the other hearing being execptions and there it works best to have mostly one person lead through the questioning.

  93. Leen says:

    Zellikow my opinions were “profound”

    this was not what Zellikow said during his MSNBC interview

    Zellikow “unchartered waters”
    “murky area of the law”
    “I’m just one point of view”
    “of course just offering my opinion”
    “perfectly entitled to hear an alternative opinion”
    “they weren’t commiting an obstruction of justice by trying to destroy copies of the memos”

    Zellikow “I don’t know why they wanted to do it”

    “all it shows is that they were presented with an argument that says your interpretation of the law appears to this one fellow to be unsound”

  94. oldtree says:

    Just what kind of scumbag would appoint a scumbag for a position as a judge?
    Shows you can’t trust a word they say.

    and Marcy, you are still in the top 5 reporters of all time. You really do rate the pulitzer, and I for one, can’t wait to buy the book you write on this subject!

  95. joelmael says:

    I wonder if even wingnuts wouldn’t notice that Graham is the guy the term ASS was invented for.

  96. Neil says:

    Huckleberry defends men who demonstrated poor judgment and criminal judgment by authorizing torture.

  97. scribe says:

    Someone could have some serious fun comparing and constrasting the statements Huckleberry (and other Rethugs) made about how great the Army Field Manual was to make sure that there would not be torture and how it was as far as we could go, and Huckleberry’s summation today about how it can’t be the be all and end all….

    Also, he seems to think Cheney is still Vice President.

  98. GREYDOG says:

    Torture is a WAR CRIME. Anyone authorizing it, doing it, or refusing to prosecute it is a WAR CRIMINAL.

  99. rschop says:

    CNN is reporting right now on Ali H Soufan as he is testifying today, 5/13/2009, at congressional hearings. But beyond torture Soufan is important because of his detailed knowledge of what went on at the FBI and CIA prior to 9/11 that had allowed these attacks to take place.

    His information is so explosive that all mention of him was virtually stripped out of the 9/11 Commission report and even the DOJ IG report, when in fact he was lead investigator on the Cole bombing and knew more than anyone outside of FBI Agent Steve Bongardt, his assistant on this investigation, on what occurred that had prevented the FBI from stopping these attacks.

    He is noted just once in the DOJ IG report as the NY FBI Agent that spoke fluent Arabic who flew out to talk to the FBI/CIA joint source in February 2001, to show the source the passport photo he had been given by the Yemen authorities of Walid Bin Attash, Khallad, the master mind of the Cole bombing. All of the CIA people involved including the CIA Bin Laden unit, the Yemen CIA station, and even the handler for the joint source kept secret the fact that on January 4, 2001, just one month before, Khallad had been positively identified by this same FBI/CIA source from a photo taken of him at the Kuala Lumpur meeting in January 2000, actually planning the Cole bombing with Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.

    It was at this point in time when the criminal actions at the CIA started in earnest to keep all information on this Kuala Lumpur meeting secret from the FBI Cole criminal investigators and to also keep secret the names of the people who had attended this meeting. This information that all three known al Qaeda terrorists Khallad, Mihdhar and Hazmi were at this meeting planning the Cole bombing was kept secret from the FBI Cole investigators until after the attacks on 9/11. Since the planning for the Cole bombing and the attacks on 9/11 took place at this same meeting, keeping this information secret from the FBI in a wide ranging criminal conspiracy led directly to the al Qaeda terrorists carrying out the successful attacks on 9/11.

    But what is most horrific is the CIA kept this information secret even when the CIA knew both Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US on August 22-23, 2001, and knew these two al Qaeda terrorists were just about to take part in a massive attack that would kill thousands of Americans. The email from Tom Wilshire deputy chief of the CIA Bin Laden unit to his managers at the CTC on July 23, 2001 proves that not only did he know this but all of his CTC managers knew this. His email also confirms that when they forbid him from giving the information on the Kuala Lumpur meeting to the FBI, and allowed him to continue to hide the photograph of Khallad taken at the Kuala Lumpur meeting, a photo that directly connected Mihdhar and Hazmi to the planning of the Cole bombing, the CIA was all fully aware that their actions would result in allowing Wilshire and FBI HQ IOS agents he had been working with to shut down FBI Agent Steve Bongardt’s investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi. The CIA must have known that by shutting down the only investigation that could have found Mihdhar and Hazmi in time to prevent this attack, that thousands of Americans would perish in the attacks that these terrorists were about to take part in. See web site for the US government’s own source documents that back up all of this information. GO FIGURE!

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