Ashcroft versus CIA

When I read the CIA IG Report yesterday, I thought to myself, "Of course! They didn’t investigate all the instances when torturers exceeded the Bybee Two memo description of waterboarding because John Ascroft approved of them."

I got that from reading the following passages:

On 29 July 2003, the DCI and the General Counsel provided a detailed briefing to selected NSC Principals on CIA’s detention and interrogation efforts involving "high value detainees," to include the expanded use of EITS.28 According to a Memorandum for the Record prepared by the General Counsel following that meeting [which was dated August 5, 2003], the Attorney General confirmed that DoJ approved of the expanded use of various EITs, including multiple applications of the waterboard.29 The General Counsel said he believes everyone in attendance was aware of exactly what CIA was doing with respect to detention and interrogation, and approved of the effort.


The Review determined that the interrogators used the waterboard on Khalid Shaykh Muhammad in a manner inconsistent with the SERE application of the waterboard and the description of the waterboard in the DoJ OLC opinion, in that the technique was used on Khalid Shaykh Muhammad a large number of times. According to the General Counsel, the Attorney General acknowledged he is fully aware of the repetitive use of the waterboard and that CIA is well within the scope of the DoJ opinion and the authority given to CIA by that opinion. The Attorney General was informed the waterboard had been used 119 times on a single individual. [my emphasis]

But John Ashcroft disagrees with that representation, as relayed in a June 18, 2004 letter from Jack Goldsmith to George Tenet.

Dear Director Tenet:

I am writing at the Attorney General’s request concerning a report that that [sic] the Inspector General of the CIA has recently forwarded to your office. The Department of Justice did not have an opportunity to review a draft of the report and instead only had a chance to review the final report after it had been forwarded to your office.

The Department of Justice believes that the report contains some ambiguous statements concerning the Attorney General’s remarks at a 29 July 2003 meeting of selected NSC principals that should be clarified and that it contains some statements that mistakenly characterize the extent of advice provided by the Department.

The Attorney General requests that you return the report to your Inspector General with a request to make the modifications suggested in the attached document, which we believe are necessary to clarify ambiguities or correct mistaken characterizations. [my emphasis]

Four days later, Muller responded by saying that he had forwarded the memo to John Helgerson, but was forwarding the report (presumably as it was) to Congress that week anyway. Finally, almost two weeks later, Helgerson wrote to Ashcroft, informing him they couldn’t "recall" the reports, but would circulate his letter with any further circulation of the report.

We have carefully reviewed the comments of the Department of Justice regarding the Special Review. We concluded that it would not be practicable to recall the Review and integrate those comments into the body of the Review. However, we do agree that it is appropriate for those reading the review to have the benefit of those comments. Accordingly, we intend to include your 18 June memorandum with any further circulation of the review. After consultation with you, we did transmit the memorandum to the Chairmen and ranking minority members of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily buy Ashcroft’s assertion that the IG Report misrepresented what he said. But the IG Report makes the same false claims about Congressional briefings that the CIA torture briefing list makes (I’ll return to that in a future post). Furthermore, the memorandum for the record of that meeting was written a week after the fact.

But there’s another reason to wonder whether the IG Report might misrepresent that meeitng.

Remember that unlike Ashcroft, Cheney did get a draft of the report to review. He got it around May 2004, just months after Ashcroft had refused to reauthorize Cheney’s illegal wiretap program. And as far as I can tell, one of the very few events described in the IG Report that involves Cheney is that July 29 meeting. Per the SSCI Narrative, the attendees were (from the CIA) Tenet and Muller and (from the National Security Counsel) Cheney, Condi, Ashcroft, the Acting head of OLC (?), Yoo(?), Gonzales, and Bellinger. Except for maybe Bellinger, all people with a reason to be cranky at Ashcroft. 

One way or another, it’s a tidy way to make sure waterboarding, as practiced, would not get prosecuted. Because it quickly becomes Ashcroft’s word against that of the CIA (potentially backed by Cheney) that DOJ did not authorize such excessive uses of waterboarding.

Update: I lied. The memo has been released (it had previous never been identified in any Vaughn Index, which is curious in and of itself). The big disagreement about the July 29 meeting is as follows:

The reference to "expanded use" of techniques is somewhat ambiguous. In context, it appears to mean simply the use of approved techniques on other detainees in addition to the particular detainee (Abu Zubaydah) expressly addressed in an OLC opinion to the Acting General Counsel, John Rizzo, on August 1, 2002. If that is the intended meaning, the statement in the Report is entirely correct.

36 replies
  1. maryo2 says:

    with a request to make the modifications suggested in the attached document

    Do we have that attached document?

  2. scribe says:

    One is compelled to wonder how Ashcroft feels having been repeatedly used and abused by the cabal that ran this government.

    Maybe mad enough that he’d like to flip on them? Hmmm, Mr. Prosecutor? Have you thought of interviewing Mr. Ashcroft?

    Because, one needs to remember, in false statements cases (and more generally he said-she said cases of all types) unless there is some objective proof of a state of affairs (e.g., I say the wall was painted red for the last time on Tuesday, and there exists a photo showing it painted red the following Saturday), the government gets to decide what the reality was, and then the defendant is, in so many words, prosecuted for subscribing to the alternate reality.

    I suspect that as to his mis-, mal-, non- and tortfeasance, Mr. Ashcroft could redeem himself, if not in the eyes of his God, then in the eyes of history, by coming forward to the prosecutor and flipping.

  3. maryo2 says:

    From SSCI narative:

    In the spring of 2003, the DCI asked for a reaffirmation of the policies and practices in the interrogation program. In July 2003, according to CIA records, the NSC Principals met to discuss the interrogation techniques employed in the CIA program. According to CIA records, the DCI and the CIA’s General Counsel attended a meeting with the Vice President, the National Security Adviser, the Attorney General, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General, the Counsel to the President, and the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council to describe the CIA’s interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. According to CIA records, at the conclusion of that meeting, the Principals reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy.

    Two bolds to ask – Was “policy” discussed? In the July 2003 meeting there was discussion about techniques used, but when was the DCI answered about the Bush Administration’s policies?

    Is Ashcroft a member of “the NSC Principals?”

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    There are a couple of problems with the position that Ashcroft blessed the waterboarding as practiced. First, the alleged statement was in July 2003, long after the last waterboarding of KSM. Second, a statement by the Attorney General at a policy meeting can’t be assumed to carry the weight of an OLC opinion. The torturers remain without a golden shield for waterboarding as it was actually practiced.

    • emptywheel says:

      You’re absolutely right–which makes you wonder why they did this then.

      Also note there were at least one and maybe two OLC people there. Which might be why Goldsmith was asked to write to Tenet. But that meeting is the one that, AFAIK, no one has ascertained precisely who the OLC people were at the time.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        At the time, they were still planning on waterboarding some more. If they had waterboarded after the later memos, the situation would have been different (you really couldn’t have prosecuted the early stuff), but as things turned out, the torturers are stuck. The bogus memo in place at the time didn’t cover their work and the future ones have been withdrawn without every being put into effect.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          At the time, they were still planning on waterboarding some more.

          ombining EW Ghorbanifar Timeline with ***Anatomy of Deceit Timelines to create a few more data points. Deletions shown by …

          June 26, 2003: [DoD Office of Special Plans employee under Feith] Franklin meets with Rosen and Weissman, gives information about potential attacks in US troops in Iraq

          June 28, 2003: Feith writes letter to Pat Roberts on “the cell set up in his office to review intelligence”

          *** July 6, 2003: Joe Wilson publishes his ob-ed in the NTY, concludingthat the Bush admin purposefully manipulated intelligence in order to win support for the war. [Anatomy of Deceit, emptywheel, p. 137: The War and the Leak Timeline]

          *** July 8, 2003: Meeting between Scooter Libby and Judith Miller at St Regis Hotel. Libby leaked the NIE, the report from Wilson’s trip; and [according to Miller] Valerie’s role at CIA. Libby also insinuated that Joe Wilson had an earlier liason role between Iraq and Niger. [AofD, p. 138]

          ***July 10 or 11, 2003: … Rove informs Libby that Novak will publish a story on Joe Wilson’s wife. [AofD, p. 138]

          ***July 11, 2003: Rove speaks with TIME magazine reporter Matt Cooper. He reveals that Valerie Wilson works at CIA on WMD.
          – Tenet accepts partial responsibility for Niger allegations being in the State of the Union speech. [AofD, p. 138]

          *** July 12, 2003: Libby and Dick Cheney fly to Virginia on Air Force 2. They strategize on how to respond to Wilson…. Two Libby conversations with Miller… [AofD, p. 139]

          July 14, 2003: [SSCI Chair, GOP-KS, Pat Roberts] Roberts informs Tenet that he met with Ledeen “at the urging of Senators Santorum, Kyl and Brownback”; Roberts asks Tenet for comment.

          *** July 14, 2003: Novak column reveals that Valerie Wilson is a[n] ‘operative’ on WMD and claims she sent her husband to Niger to examine allegations of an Iraq-Niger uranium deal. [AofD, p. 139]

          July 2003: FBI begins investigation of Larry Franklin

          *** July 20, 2003 NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell tells Wilson that the White House has informed her that Valerie Wilson is the story, not Wilson’s own allegations that the administration manipulated intelligence to make a case for war. [AofD, p. 139; italics mine]

          ***July 21, 2003: MSNBC reporter Chris Matthews tells Joe Wilson that Karl Rove told him Valerie Wilson was ‘fair game‘.[AofD, p. 139]

          August 2003: DOD IG Rome review

          August 2003: Rhode continues to receive contacts from Ghorbanifar

          August 6, 2003: Ledeen meets with several DOD intelligence figures to “discuss a source who knew where enriched uranium was buried in Iraq”; Ghorbanifar was conduit to this source [my bold]

          August 9, 2003: Rhode recalled from Iraq, where he had been liaising with Ahmad Chalabi

          August 9, 2003: According to Ledeen, Rhode and Franklin ordered to stop talking to Ledeen about Iran; Franklin and Rodman do not recall such an order

          August 11, 2003: Rodman prepares chronology of Iran contacts for Rumsfeld, leaving out details of June 2003 Paris meeting because it “[took] place without the knowledge” of DOD International Security Affairs or Policy

          September 23, 2003: CIA response to Pat Roberts on Ledeen’s information stating, “none of these leads has resulted in information of significant intelligence value.”

          Looks like the WH and OVP were plenty busy in July-August 2003; looks like someone got sloppy.

          And with uranium being a topic of focus, alarm, and deception, it’s an easy guess that the CheneyBots intended to waterboard.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      First, the alleged statement was in July 2003, long after the last waterboarding of KSM. Second, a statement by the Attorney General at a policy meeting can’t be assumed to carry the weight of an OLC opinion. The torturers remain without a golden shield for waterboarding as it was actually practiced.

      You know me: boring, boring, b..o…r…i…n…g… always linking to that EW Ghorbanifar Timeline to see whether there are any interesting linkages between items in a post, and items in that timeline.

      Worth keeping in mind in terms of William Ockham’s comment:

      June 30 and July 1, 2003: While in Paris filling in for OVP employees, Rhode meets with Ghorbanifar (Ledeen arranges meeting)

      July 14, 2003: Roberts informs Tenet that he met with Ledeen “at the urging of Senators Santorum, Kyl and Brownback”; Roberts asks Tenet for comment

      July 2003: FBI begins investigation of Larry Franklin

      Might be an interesting data point to note that FBI’s Mueller raced to back up Comey, along with Goldsmith and Philbin, at that March 2005 hospital bed meeting, where:
      “Gonzales tried to tell Ashcroft… the Gang of Eight had spoken, and they wanted the program to carry on. The WH counsel used a peculiar formula, ‘We’ve achieved a legislative remediation that will address Justice’s concerns’.

      ‘I remember thinking, what the hell does that mean?’, Comey said….

      … Ashcroft raised himself up stiffly. He glared at his visitors and said they had no business coming. He gave a lucid account of the reasons that Justice had decided to withhold support. And then he went beyond that. Ashcroft said that he never should have certified the program. ‘You drew the circle so tight I couldn’t get the advice that I needed,’ Ashcroft said, according to Comey. He knew things [as of March 2005] that he should have known before they first asked for his signature. If it were up to him now, he would refuse to approve….”

      Angler, p. 303-04

      I don’t mean to distract from the work here, nor make Gellman out as the premier authority. But that timing of July 2003 that William Ockham mentions does seem to be a critical moment when a number of things began to go sidewise.

    • Mary says:

      Second, a statement by the Attorney General at a policy meeting can’t be assumed to carry the weight of an OLC opinion

      I’m not sure about that. The OLC only has delegated authority – the AG is still the ultimate call. And if his position was later reduced to writing, in an OLC memo or in a not yet released (bc of privilege claims) memo to the WH or some other reason, you might have that aspect too.

      But if you are looking at reliance opinions as reliance opinions, then a predicate for good faith reliance is that the advice was sought and obtained prior to taking the actions. So the weight of the AG vs an OLC opinion isn’t as much at issue as the “after the fact” aspect. If you are not going with the acutal “good faith reliance on advice of counsel” legal defense as established by courts (under which the OLC memos fail for a number of reasons, including the failure to get advance authorization, the failure to comply with the exact terms of the opinions, etc.) then the lack of a writing wouldn’t be more fatal to the Ashcroft verbal advice than the many lapses in the OLC opinions are to their advice.

      Which then clarifies the issue that the “good faith” defense Obama and Holder are claiming for those who acted “within the four corners” of the OLC opinions is not in any way, shape or form the kind of good faith reliance on advice of counsel defense that would be acceptable in any court. It’s just something they have made up – so they can make up an “or like, ya know, if Ashcroft says something in a forest and no one is there to hear it, like, ya know, it’s still something that a torturer can rely on to torurter, ‘kaythnxbai” theory too I guess. If none of them ever get before a court and if Congress lets them, why not?


    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Note, also, that according to Wikipedia, Jay Bybee was a judge as of March 2003:

      President George W. Bush nominated Bybee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and he was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 13, 2003. He received his commission on March 21, 2003, and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor administered the oath of office at the Supreme Court on March 28, 2003.

      and more, from List of Assistant Attorneys General for the Office of Legal Counsel:

      Jay S. Bybee (2001-2003), in charge when the OLC issued the “Torture memo”
      Jack Goldsmith (2003-2004), professor at Harvard Law School and author of The Terror Presidency (after resigning from OLC)
      Daniel Levin, served as Acting AAG from 2004-2005

      • acquarius74 says:

        ROTL, I may be wrong about this but I think Bybee dawdled around and did not really report on the job until around Thanksgiving, 2003, that’s why Yoo signed the memos as acting head of OLC. This from memory, so I’ll try to check it out.

      • acquarius74 says:

        See my 32. Yep, here’s wiki:

        Office of Legal Counsel

        Bybee served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the United States Justice Department from November 2001 to March 2003.[7][8]

  5. BayStateLibrul says:

    John Ashcroft is another John Mitchell.
    How can the DOJ invesitigate their own?
    Anybody know how big Durham’s staff is?
    This could take years…

  6. BayStateLibrul says:

    I heard Senator Whitehouse last night on Rachel’s show.
    He doesn’t have the fire in the belly? What happened?

  7. maryo2 says:

    Don’t know if it is significant, but 29 July 2003 was a Tuesday, and August 5, 2003 was a Tuesday, too. I like to look at days of the week to see if any work got done on a Monday or Friday, and I compare to Bush’s vacation dates and Cheney’s travel/speaking engagements when possible.

  8. perris says:

    I hate the fact that we are now calling water torture “water boarding” too, that is a deliberate misleading term that makes the torture sound benig and progressives need to find a more descriptive expression

    we are drowining these people till they demonstrate the throws of death and beyond, till bile rises from their gut and they face the fact that they are being murdered, some are in fact murdered and brought back to life, some do not survive the trama

  9. perris says:

    I really want to point out what wilderson points out, this is not “the cia”, this was a select minority of cia, according to wilkerson less then one percent

    when we say, “misled by the cia” we mean to say, “misled by the few in the torture program of cheney”

  10. Boston1775 says:

    In looking at the dates I am thinking that Ashcroft only saw this report a week or so before June 18, 2004.

    (? educated guess, cause he was concerned enough to ask them to rewrite it. I’m thinking he didn’t drag his feet too much over something as breathtaking as finding out he’d authorized super-enhanced waterboarding.)

    So Ashcroft waits over two weeks to be told the following:

    We concluded that it would not be practicable to recall the Review and integrate those comments into the body of the Review

    So they send it out and then reply. Nice.
    He’s only the Attorney General.
    And this is only about him vaguely approving enhanced waterboarding.


    Then, I see your update with the memo. They got him.

    They talk about multiple waterboardings (principals were briefed) without exact numbers…

    They got him on an undated, unsigned opinion

    They got him because no DOJ person was at the second meeting, but who cares? The fix is in.

    And, it doesn’t help John Ashcroft that Chris Christie gave Ashcroft’s business an extraordinarily lucrative oversight contract of a crooked hip and knee replacement company that paid surgeons to use their hips and knees. Ashcroft’s company was given $28 to $56 million to “oversee” them in their probationary period.

    And Christie was called before a Congressional oversight committee in May, and when he couldn’t make it, in June. I don’t know what happened.

    But I do know that Ashcroft will not look good. He got more money than any of the others in the same case.

    Done. Wine and dinner. I think the memo that you didn’t find until later is important.

  11. NorskeFlamethrower says:


    Citizen emptywheel and the Firepup Freedom Fighters:

    Let’s all remember that these fascist bureaucrats were schooled in the two most sophisticated organized criminal enterprizes in the world: the United States’ military and United States’ corporate heirarchy. Therefore, anyone who wants to identify all the participants in the criminal enterprise that was the Bush administration and the war in Iraq will have to investigate and prosecute everyone involved and let the fuckin’ federal court system sort ‘em out. I’d rather all the murderous bastards feel the pull of God’s “terrible swift sword” but I will settle for indictments and prosecutions in uncorrupted courts of Vietnam vets.


    • Boston1775 says:

      I’d rather all the murderous bastards feel the pull of God’s “terrible swift sword” but I will settle for indictments and prosecutions in uncorrupted courts of Vietnam vets.
      I got that sick, dizzy feeling of the 1970’s.

      • NorskeFlamethrower says:

        Citizen Boston1775:

        As for the ’70’s, “dizzy”,yes – “sick”,no.

        The period from 1969 through 1976 was indeed dizzying as well as exciting, agonizing and the most explosively creative since the American “enlightenment” of the 1760’s through 1808.

  12. Badwater says:

    It’s striking how Decider Bush is missing from all of this. I guess he just couldn’t find much Preznitin’ time between vacations and bike rides.

  13. Mary says:

    I think this needs to be Ashcroft v. CIA v. Congress.

    Because what you have is a memo for the record (be nice to know when it was put together – whether it was like Gonzales’ after the fact notes)by Rizzo that says something and which was apparently NOT given to Ashcroft (query who else on the NSC of of the NSC “selected” members got it).

    Ashcroft’s story (via Goldsmith – kind of odd, that) is tha he only found out about what Rizzo was saying when he saw the reference (not even the memo) in the IG report and that IG report was already going to the tiny little DiFi brigade (Gang of 8 or full intel committees?) in Congress.

    And so what was going to them was something from the CIA IG saying that the CIA’s Gen Counsel says ABC for the record. Then you have Ashcroft via his Goldsmith ploy, saying “Oh, but since this was a CIA IG investigation (and not a DOJ IG investigation and not an NSC – which has no IG I believe – investigation) we didn’t know about the memo and darned if the AG never got a copy of the memo from the writer (Rizzo) either or got briefed on what Rizzo was putting in the memo, and per the AG, the CIA Gen Counsel is fibbing.

    So what has Congress done to resolve that – another little issue of possible lies by the CIA being passed on to Congress and would have been passed on without the AG having a chance to correct the record but for the Goldsmith review of the IG report. And what the hell was crim div doing, giving a bye to everything – was it giving that bye based on Rizzo also telling THEM that the AG had consented to everything and if so, why didn’t THEY go to Ashcroft.

    In any event, you have another instance of Congress perhaps or allegedly being lied to by the CIA (via allegedly false statements given to the CIA IG by the CIA Gen Counsel and incorporated into the CIA IG report without knoweldge until after the report was finished that the AG of the USA disputed the accuracy). This charge doesn’t come from Nancy Pelosi, though, it comes from John Ashcroft.

    Where do Rice, Bellinger, et al come down on this and what has Congress done to resolve it? Who does Congress say is telling the truth vis a vis a report delivered to Congress – or at least a few people in Congress?

    Not that it matters much, since the Dems in Congress rushed to confirm another man who cannot discern whethr or not waterboarding is torture as CIA Gen Counsel. I guess it’s hard to know when you ARE fibbing if you lie to yourself that much.

  14. maryo2 says:

    Scott Muller’s firm’s current web site says:
    “He pioneered the use of the corporate “deferred prosecution” to resolve a federal criminal investigation …has advised on public corruption, financial reporting and accounting, insider trading, securities, tax, antitrust, environmental, federal procurement and debarment matters. “

    And TPM says that Ashcroft made millions as a corporate monitor. … the “then US Attorney Chris Christie, was a subordinate of Ashcroft’s at DOJ. Ashcroft was reportedly given the job — said to be worth between $28 and 52 million to the Ashcroft Group, at Zimmer’s expense — with no public notice and no outside bidding.

    It seems weird that Muller would insert lines into a draft saying that Ashcroft had signed off on expanded torture techniques, and then later (in 2007) assist in the “deferred prosecution” scam to payoff Ashcroft.

  15. Mary says:

    Re: Update

    So we know that, “Specifically the Principals were briefed concerning the number of times the waterboard had been administered to certain detainees” and we know that Congress (was advised openly and repeatedly that there had been three instances of waterboarding. So we know that the Principals who were briefed had actual knowledge that Congress was being lied to and said nothing.

    As much of a disappointment as Levin is, he did at least make the correction. But until the release of the memos publically, most of Congress had been lied to or at best actively misled about the “three times” re: waterboarding and the Principals knew. So why did Tenet and Rice and Ashcroft in particular – allow Congress to be told that there had been three waterboardings, or to be told in such a way as to believe there had been three waterboardings? And why isn’t that obstruction would, I guess, be a next question.…..SN05178151
    CIA says used waterboarding three times

    The CIA on three occasions shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks used a widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday

    Those subjected to waterboarding were al Qaeda suspects Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Hayden said.

    He said waterboarding has not been used in five years

    Since the article in Feb 5, 2008, he is saying no CIA directed waterboarding since Feb 5, 2003. Not that what he says and the truth necessarily intersect. Which does add that much more of a ?? to why Rizzo was asking Levin for a specific authorization to torture via waterboarding in 2004. Which would have been within the five years Hayden denies.

  16. acquarius74 says:

    …one of the very few events described in the IG Report that involves Cheney is that July 29 meeting. Per the SSCI Narrative, the attendees were (from the CIA) Tenet and Muller and (from the National Security Counsel) Cheney, Condi, Ashcroft, the Acting head of OLC (?), Yoo(?), Gonzales, and Bellinger.

    Sure are a lot of the National Security Council absent: the President, Dir DOD, Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury; leaving Cheney and Ashcroft really the only 2 heavy hitters.

    Since all clandestine operations undertaken by the CIA are supposed to be at the direction of the NSC [not dreamed up by the CIA and approved by NSC]
    , and given that this meeting was about a very critical and sensitive operation of the CIA, seems NSC membership attendance should have been the full list. Smells like rigged timing and attendance by Cheney and with Bush absent, then Cheney was in command.

    • acquarius74 says:

      #31 continued: hmmm: So, did Cheney create the plan and direct the CIA to carry it out? Would explain Tenet’s returning again and again for assurance that his people would not be prosecuted for torture.

      I just didn’t see it before.

      Now, the CIA is the scapegoat and Cheney slips through blameless? [Obama praised the CIA a few days ago, now has taken interrogation away from them and created a ‘czar of interrogation’…] I’m glad, wish Obama would wipe out the Murder Inc. arm of the CIA.

      • acquarius74 says:

        Correction to my 33: Obama did not “take away interrogation from the CIA”. Here is excerpt from NY Times:

        Bill Burton, the deputy White House spokesman who is with the vacationing president in Oak Bluffs, Mass., said that creation of the unit does not mean the C.I.A. is out of the interrogation business. The new unit will include “all these different elements under one group,” he said at the briefing, and would work out of F.B.I. headquarters in Washington.

        In a background briefing about the interrogation unit, senior administration officials on Monday played down the notion that it would fall under direct, daily White House supervision. They also emphasized that while the National Security Council would provide it strategic guidance, the unit’s tactical operations would “be administratively housed within the F.B.I.” and involve officials drawn from many governmental agencies.

  17. MikeD says:

    Ashcroft is the one who said these matters should not be discussed at the NSC principals level. Apart from the resistance to utterly illegal surveillance, he is largely a coward.

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