Jane Mayer to Marc Thiessen: Your Guys’ Ignorance Got Us Attacked

Jane Mayer has a great general purpose slapdown of torture apologist Marc Thiessen love letter to torture. She hits on most of the weaknesses of Thiessen’s arguments: his false claims about what prevented the 2006 liquid explosive plane plot, apologists’ very selective examination of what counts as an attack on American, the silence about Ibn Sheik al-Libi’s (and others’) false confessions, demonstrably false claims that no one at Gitmo was ever tortured.

But there’s a point she makes that really ought to be the focus of push back against all torture apologists: the Bush Administration ignored repeated warnings about the imminent al Qaeda attack in 2001, and any ignorance about al Qaeda–which Thiessen claims was general–belongs to Bush’s top leaders, not the intelligence community.

Thiessen, citing [Michael] McConnell, claims that before the C.I.A. began interrogating detainees the U.S. knew “virtually nothing” about Al Qaeda. But McConnell was not in the government in the years immediately before 9/11. He retired as the director of the National Security Agency in 1996, and did not rejoin the government until 2007. Evidently, he missed a few developments during his time in the private sector, such as the C.I.A.’s founding, in 1996, of its bin Laden unit—the only unit devoted to a single figure. There was also bin Laden’s declaration of war on America, in 1996, and his 1998 indictment in New York, after Al Qaeda’s bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa. The subsequent federal trial of the bombing suspects, in New York, produced thousands of pages of documents exposing the internal workings of Al Qaeda. A state’s witness at the trial, a former Al Qaeda member named Jamal al-Fadl, supplied the F.B.I. with invaluable information about the group, including its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons. (Fadl did so without any coercion other than the hope of a future plea bargain. Indeed, the F.B.I., without using violence, has persuaded dozens of other suspected terrorists to coöperate, including, most recently, the Christmas Day bomber.)

In order to make the case that America was blind to the threat of Al Qaeda in the days before 9/11, Thiessen skips over the scandalous amount of intelligence that reached the Bush White House before the attacks. In February, 2001, the C.I.A.’s director, George Tenet, called Al Qaeda “the most immediate and serious threat” to the country. Richard Clarke, then the country’s counterterrorism chief, tried without success to get Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national-security adviser, to hold a Cabinet-level meeting on Al Qaeda. Thomas Pickard, then the F.B.I.’s acting director, has testified that Attorney General John Ashcroft told him that he wanted to hear no more about Al Qaeda. On August 6, 2001, Bush did nothing in response to a briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” As Tenet later put it, “The system was blinking red.”

(I would add that refusal of Thiessen’s precious CIA to share information about Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar also prevented us from acting on the biggest lead that could have prevented the attack.)

This point is not repeated enough, perhaps out of some sense of comity toward a guy, Cheney, who has spent the last year (really, his entire life) breaking every rule of comity in DC.

Out of ignorance of al Qaeda, arrogance that only loyal insiders should participate in setting security priorities, and plain old bad judgment about the potential threat of terrorists, the Bush Administration failed to act on clear warnings that we would be hit on 9/11. Those are, not surprisingly, precisely the same characteristics drove us to ignore our experts on interrogation and instead follow the word of a bunch of hucksters who wanted to get rich off of torturing other human beings.

Every time someone like Thiessen attempts to push his propaganda, we really ought to be asking why we should trust the propagandist of the guys who are still trying to overcompensate for having failed in the first place.

Did DOD Have ANY Authorization for Torture after 2004?

There are a couple of things that have been bugging me about the authorizations DOD got for interrogations.  It’s not clear what kind of authorization DOD used to justify detainee interrogations after the Yoo memo was withdrawn in 2003-2004–they had no overall interrogation approval from OLC. While it’s possible they were just relying on already-existing DOD documents, there are hints that DOD was either relying exclusively on the CIA’s more expansive authorizations (that included waterboarding), or they had some alternative approval that may not have involved OLC at all.

As I’ve shown (here and here), in March 2004, DOD requested approval to use–at the least–extended isolation with detainees. In response, Jack Goldsmith and Steven Bradbury started trying to replace the 2003 Yoo memo.

At precisely the same time, Goldsmith was working through the mess created by the Legal Principles document. As you recall, faced with clearly illegal conduct and with the opportunity to investigate that conduct themselves in 2003, CIA worked back channel with Jennifer Koester and John Yoo to summarize the legal advice given on torture, going so far as to claim certain techniques (like abdominal slap and diapers) had been approved when they hadn’t been. During that period, Koester and Yoo gave CIA an opportunity to review and provide input on the 2003 Yoo memo. Then, Koester and Yoo relied on the Yoo memo for several of the claims they made in the Legal Principles. That raises the possibility that one reason the Yoo memo was so bad (it was even more permissive than the Bybee One memo) was to help CIA avoid criminal liability for crimes already committed.

At the very least, this is proof that CIA and DOD were both relying on advice given to the other agency to justify their own agency’s actions. We know DOD used the Bybee memos (and oral authorization from Yoo based on that analysis) to authorize its treatment of Mohammed al-Qahtani in 2002-2003. And the Legal Principles show CIA was using the Yoo memo, written for DOD, to authorize its treatment of multiple detainees in anticipation of the CIA IG Report. In other words, though DOJ liked to maintain the fiction that the approval tracks for CIA and DOD were separate, they weren’t, at least not when John Yoo was involved.

And that was becoming crystal clear in spring of 2004. (In the same phone conversation in which Goldsmith confirmed that the Legal Principles weren’t an official OLC document, he also asked Yoo for details of his verbal authorizations to Jim Haynes leading up to the al-Qahtani torture, so he clearly pursued these issues in tandem.)

Yet after that, CIA’s memos got withdrawn and replaced. DOD’s Yoo memo reportedly was withdrawn. But no formal guidance from OLC ever replaced it.

So what happened after that point?

The Daniel Levin Memo

My concerns about DOD’s later authorizations stem partly from a memo Daniel Levin wrote John Ashcroft and Jim Comey in September 2004 to summarize all the advice OLC had given on torture. Read more

The Request for Reaffirmation of Torture

This is going to be another weedy post…

I wanted to put two totally bureaucratic pages (PDF 23-24) from the recent FOIA dump into the context of the other known documents in the chronology. The first page is an “Executive Correspondence Routing Sheet,” sent from CIA General Counsel Scott Muller around top CIA management for approval. It reads:

This memo follows General Counsel discussion with the DCI and agreement on the need to seek reaffirmation from the NSC.

And the memo in question (the following page) appears to be a very short memo with the subject, “Review of CIA Interrogation Program,” from John Rizzo circulated to the lawyers involved with the torture program and the top CIA executives on the Executive Correspondence Routing Sheet. The Rizzo memo is dated May 24, 2004; the last signature–that of George Tenet–is dated June 4, 2004.

The routing sheet is interesting not just because Tenet signed it the day after he resigned.

It also shows a glimpse of the bridge by which CIA responded to the CIA IG Report but also (probably) Jack Goldsmith’s unwillingness to reaffirm opinions that OLC had never made by asking the White House for some kind of written re-endorsement of the torture program.

As I’ve shown here and here, when the CIA Inspector General began its review of the torture program in response to the Salt Pit death and abuses of al-Nashiri, CIA and Jennifer Koester and John Yoo (though he denies involvement) worked back channel to develop a set of “Legal Principles” (elsewhere called “Bullet Points”) that would expand the legal authorization DOJ had given CIA’s torture program in such a way as to legally excuse the crimes the IG was inspecting. Significantly, the Legal Principles document expanded the already farcical analysis of Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture that Yoo had done in the Bybee One memo.

CIA twice tried to present these Legal Principles to OLC as a fait accompli, first in June 2003, when Patrick Philbin took over many of John Yoo’s duties, and then again in March 2004, in conjunction with the finalization of the IG Report and at a time when Goldsmith headed the OLC. Both Philbin and Goldsmith refused to accept the Legal Principles as OLC sanctioned documents.

Now, significantly, the March 2, 2004 set of Legal Principles was itself a request for “reaffirmation” of the torture program’s legality. Scott Muller emphasized CIA needed that reauthorization, among other reasons, because they had incorporated new torture techniques based on the OLC “guidance.”

For example, using the applicable law and relying on OLC’s guidance, we concluded that the abdominal slap previously discussed with OLC (and mentioned in the June 2003 summary points) is a permissible interrogation technique.

Of note, Goldsmith appears to have taken special note of the description of water PFT, which (Muller’s note said explicitly) was “intended to … humiliate” detainees. Given that the IG Report concluded that the torture program probably violated Article 16, this language seemed to flout the prohibitions against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Between March 2 and May 24 (when Rizzo wrote his memo), Goldsmith did not reauthorize the Legal Principles. Nevertheless, CIA incorporated the Legal Principles into the final draft of the IG Report. Goldsmith got a copy of that document some time before May 25 and presumably spoke to Muller about the inclusion of the Legal Principles in it, because on that day, he wrote CIA’s IG noting that he had received it and asking for time to review the depiction of OLC’s legal advice in the IG Report before it got sent to Congress.

In other words, Goldsmith’s continued objection to the inclusion of the Legal Principles in the IG Report is probably what prompted John Rizzo to send out a memo referencing the IG Report (which the CIA called the “Review of the CIA Interrogation Program,” the subject of his memo) that appears to have recommended asking NSC for reaffirmation of the torture program.

So faced with Goldsmith’s refusal to reaffirm something OLC had never affirmed in the first place, CIA decided to go to the White House and get them to approve of the program in writing. Read more

“We all benefited” from Margolis’ tenure

A bunch of former DOJ bigwigs just wrote a seemingly pointless letter to Pat Leahy to assure him that David Margolis does not have a partisan–and they mean Left-Right partisan–bias. (h/t Main Justice)

I say “pointless,” to begin with, because after last Friday’s flaccid hearing on the OPR report, is anyone actually imagining that Pat Leahy is going to make a stink because the OPR Report got spiked?

And besides, no one thinks Margolis is a flaming political partisan. He’s a DOJ partisan, always putting the Department first, even ahead of justice. Hearing from a bunch of former DOJ bigwigs claiming he has no bias isn’t going to allay those concerns.

What’s particularly pathetic about this document, though, is the number people with a vested interest making the following weak claims:

we all benefited during our tenures from the wise counsel and good judgment of David Margolis


While we do not comment here on the merits of the decision regarding the discipline of John Y00 and Jay Bybee, we are certain that it was reached conscientiously and wholly without partisan purposes.


As those who have benefited from David Margolis’s counsel, we know he remains a great asset to the Department and the country for the present and future.

Let’s start with Alberto Gonzales, who gave approval for the use of torture techniques long before OLC did, and who was therefore perhaps the person most in need of the Get Out of Jail Free card that John Yoo wrote him. He signed this document.

So did George Terwilliger, Alberto Gonzales’ defense attorney, representing him on a number of ethical and potentially criminal issues, and therefore, presumably, on torture, if it ever came to that.

There’s Michael Mukasey, about whom Mary wrote a 2,000 word post describing his many conflicts on this issue. And Mark Filip, who helped Mukasey try to spike this report from the start. And Craig Morford, who was Acting DAG when Mukasey reviewed the Steven Bradbury memos and found them reasonable, which was itself a key part of spiking this investigation.

And how about John Ashcroft, huh? He wants you to know that he’s sure that Margolis judged correctly when Margolis determined that Ashcroft’s subordinates did not willfully do wrong when they shredded the Constitution eight years ago under Ashcroft’s inattentive watch. The same Ashcroft who reportedly pushed for some kind of “advance pardon” for the torturers. I sure trust him to tell me whether Margolis judged rightly or wrongly.

Then there’s Paul McNulty who, as US Attorney for Eastern District of VA, declined to charge people who engaged in torture and murder pursuant to these memos. The same guy whose decision to decline prosecution was reconsidered, given all the damning evidence in the OPR Report. Do you honestly believe that McNulty doesn’t want to have his decisions–which shortly preceded his promotion to be Deputy Attorney General–scrutinized that closely?

There’s Jim Comey, who may be one of those refusing to comment on the merits of the decision here (well then, why comment?), but who, when he lost the battle on the torture memos, expressed sadness “for the Department and the AG.” But not, it should be said, for the rule of law.

Add in Larry Thompson, who is another of the lawyers who, at least according to the OPR Report, reviewed and approved of the Bybee Memos. He thinks Margolis did the right thing too.

And, finally, David Ogden, who got fired not long ago, perhaps because he was happy to put politics above the law.

Now I’ll leave it for comments to unpack why people like lobbyist hack Jamie Gorelick wants to boost Margolis. But for now, just know that when at least 10 of these 17 bigwigs say they benefited from Margolis’ “wise counsel and good judgment,” they may well be talking about personal–and significant–benefit.

More Proposed Oversight from John Conyers

John Conyers has been busy. In addition to drafting bills to improve FISA and PATRIOT (more on that later), he has introduced three more bills that would improve Congressional Oversight of the Executive.

The Department of Justice Inspector General Authority Improvement Act of 2009

This Act will authorize the Department of Justice Inspector General to investigate attorney misconduct within the Department of Justice. Under current law, all allegations of wrongdoing by the Department of Justice attorneys are required to be investigated by the by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, rather than the Inspector General. In contrast with the statutorily independent Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility is supervised by the Attorney General.

This limitation on authority does not exist for any other agency Inspector General. The Department of Justice Inspector General Authority Improvement Act of 2009 will make the authority of the Department of Justice Inspector General consistent with that of all other agencies and will prevent future abuses and politicization within the Department.

DOJ’s Inspector General, Glenn Fine, has been pushing for this authority for some time (and not just because it would give him more authority). It fixes two problems that exist right now–one, that lawyers in DOJ are not held legally responsible in the same way as others might be, because they escape IG oversight (and often benefit from quiet settlements on complaints handled by OPR). And, more importantly, the current situation (in which OPR–which reports to the Attorney General–conducts investigations of lawyers) makes it almost impossible to investigate the actions of the Attorney General or his close allies. Alberto Gonzales was able to put off investigations into the US Attorney scandal for some time this way.

The Inspector General Authority Improvement Act of 2009

This Act will provide the Inspectors General of the various agencies the authority to issue subpoenas for the testimony of former employees or contractors as part of certain investigations. Under current law, a critical witness can avoid being interviewed by an Inspector General, and thus seriously impede an investigation, by simply resigning from the agency.

The bill contains important limitations on an Inspector General’s subpoena power in order to prevent abuse or damage to ongoing investigations.  Most prominently, an Inspector General cannot issue a subpoena if the Department of Justice concludes in a particular case that the taking of a deposition would interfere with civil or criminal litigation.

Read more

Ashcroft on Waterboarding Prosecutions

I wanted to compare John Ashcroft’s testimony last year before the House Judiciary Committee to information that has come out in the IG Report to see how his veracity held up over time. The testimony is worth reading for his claims about what he did or did not know and/or meetings he did or did not attend (which are largely couched in claims that such information would be classified anyway so he couldn’t really tell us) and for his denial of knowing how the torture that took place before August 1, 2002 was authorized (again, couched behind claims to it being classified). One of the few admissions he made about problems with OLC is his limited confirmation that he opposed John Yoo’s appointment to head OLC because he was too close to the White House.

Aside from that, the most interesting exchange is one that seems to reinforce CIA’s claim in the IG Report regarding Ashcroft’s approval of excessive uses of waterboarding on July 29, 2003 (though as I’ll show, Ashcroft’s specific statement would avoid being a lie, perhaps by design; also the terms Ashcroft uses here may explain the nature of Goldsmith’s requested corrections).

First, Maxine Waters asks Ashcroft whether he learned any information that merited investigation. After nearly committing perjury–claiming he knew of no request for an investigation–he corrects himself and answers a different question–whether he learned anything that merited prosecution.

Ms. WATERS. I want to ask about, were there ever allegations of torture or other misconduct by U.S. personnel involved in interrogations that you, Mr. Ashcroft, considered to rise to the level as to justify a criminal investigation?

I understand there has been some discussion, but I am not clear whether or not you feel that there was information that emerged in these interrogations that really did rise to that level of a criminal investigation.

Mr. ASHCROFT. I’m not aware of any interrogation process that resulted in a request or in a situation that would have given rise to a basis for prosecution for torture.

Then Waters asks about the extent of Ashcroft’s knowledge of waterboarding (this exchange is characteristic of the way Ashcroft tried to both deny remembering how he learned this information and then couch it behind claims of classification).

Ms. WATERS. Where you ever aware that U.S. personnel were indeed involved with waterboarding?

Mr. ASHCROFT. I have been aware of that.

Ms. WATERS. How did you become aware of this?

Read more

More on CIA’s Fictions about Executive Branch and Congressional Briefings

I’ve been promising to return to the way that the CIA IG Report discusses the Congressional and Executive Branch approvals for the torture program. Particularly given John McCain’s complaint that CIA misrepresented what he said in a torture briefing, I thought it time to do so.

A close look at the claims the IG Report made about approvals shows it:

  • Repeats earlier CIA vagueness and outright lies about Congressional briefings and individual Members’ responses to those briefings
  • Emphasizes the centrality of DOJ to approvals, at times misleadingly 
  • May obscure the timing of and the participants in White House approval of the program

Now, remember, it’s not clear whether these fictions are the IG’s fiction, or whether John Helgerson’s team was given crappy information. One other thing to keep in mind, though, is that the IG Report appears to have been drafted as early as February 24, 2004–over two months before it was ultimately released. While Cheney had a chance to review the document, DOJ did not. And Congress was only given the document the week of June 18, 2004, when Ashcroft started balking at its content.

What follows is a paragraph by paragraph assessment of the CIA IG’s claims about Congressional and Executive Branch approvals for torture. 

45. At the same time that OLC was reviewing the legality of EITs in the summer of 2002, the Agency was consulting with NSC policy staff and senior Administration officials. The DCI briefed appropriate senior national security and legal officials on the proposed EITs. In the fall of 2002, the Agency briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EITs.

To some degree the first sentence of the paragraph matches what appears in the SSCI Narrative, which shows the following "consultations:"

April 2002: OGC "began discussions with [Bellinger] and OLC concerning the CIA’s proposed interrogation plan for Abu Zubaydah and legal restrictions on that interrogation. Bellinger briefed Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff

Mid-May 2002: OGC meets with Ashcroft, Condi, Hadley, Bellinger, and Gonzales

July 13, 2002: OGC met with Bellinger, Yoo, Chertoff, Daniel Levin, Gonzales

July 17, 2002: George Tenet met with Condi, who okays torture program

Though of course, it uses a rather broad definition of "summer." I’m also curious about the "at the same time" description. The SSCI narrative notes that OGC didn’t talk to OLC until after the first consultations. And neither of these account for the alleged earlier approvals going back to at least May. Neither of these account for the meetings between the War Council (Addington, Yoo, Haynes, Rizzo, and Gonzales) going back much further. Furthermore, neither lists the July 13, 2002 letter from Yoo to Rizzo basically instructing him how to game the law. In other words, I wonder (as I have since the SSCI Narrative came out) whether the NSC-CIA discussions are really a distraction from the much earlier approvals involving other lawyers like Addington and Haynes?

Now onto the sentence describing the Congressional briefing. Read more

Dan Levin’s September Memo

I have said before that Dan Levin’s September 2004 Memo is one of the most interesting documents in Monday’s entire document dump. DOJ describes the document as "OLC’s view on the previous and current guidance it provided to CIA and DOD." As the date implies, it was written some time in September, though given the underscore in place of a date, it’s not clear whether this is more than a draft or even whether it was sent. It was addressed to John Ashcroft and Jim Comey by title.

The document is important and interesting for several reasons. I suspect it reflects ongoing difficulties on the part of DOJ to recover from John Yoo’s free-lancing and generally crappy lawyering. It provides an important marker of the discussions transpiring in fall 2004 on interrogation. And it provides critical insight to the Bradbury memos from spring 2005.

Since the document is heavily redacted, I’ll recreate the entire text of the document, along with my comments below. The original text is in blockquotes with my comments interspersed.

You have asked for an update on the status of interrogation advice.


1. Previously Given

a. The primary prior general advice was an unclassified August 1, 2002 memorandum from Jay Bybee to Judge Gonzales interpreting the torture statute. It contains discussion of a variety of matters that are not necessary to resolving any issues to date.

This refers to the Bybee One memo–the memo invoking organ failure that Jack Goldsmith had withdrawn on June 22, 2004.

Levin states that this discusses "a variety of matters that are no necessary to resolving any issues to date," which suggests that thus far, the Bybee Two memo was adequate to authorize the interrogations that Levin knew of.

2. Current/Pending

a. [one description redacted]

This redacted pending memo must describe the Levin memo to Comey completed on December 30, 2004. I find it particularly interesting that this is redacted, since the memo itself has been unclassified and available for years. This suggests that Levin, Ashcroft, and Comey may have had a shared understanding about what that memo had to do to replace the Bybee One memo–an understanding that we’re not allowed to know about. As a reminder, the December 2004 Levin memo is the one with the footnote backing off of full renunciation of the Bybee One memo.


Read more

“We Will Provide, at a Later Date, an Opinion That Explains the Basis for this Conclusion”

There’s an interesting line in the August 6, 2004 letter from Daniel Levin to John Rizzo approving the use of waterboarding with (we know from the later 2005 memos and from the short name included here) Hassan Ghul. Levin promises to send an opinion that explains the basis for his conclusion that waterboarding would be legal (albeit a close call).

We will provide, at a later date, an opinion that explains the basis for this conclusion.

That promise doesn’t appear on the July 7, 2004 letter from Jack Goldsmith approving the use of all the techniques but waterboarding (I’m not certain the letter pertains to Ghul). It doesn’t appear on the July 22, 2004 letter from John Ashcroft to John McLaughlin (then Acting DCI), approving everything but waterboarding. It doesn’t appear on the September 20, 2004 letter approving a bunch of other techniques, including water dousing.

It appears to show up only on the letter approving waterboarding. Waterboarding, and only waterboarding.

That’s mighty interesting because, in 2005, when OLC was just getting around to writing that promised opinion, CIA provided last minute information to make sure that waterboarding would be included in the March 10 Combined memo. They had to do so because CIA’s December 30 memo on combined techniques did not include waterboarding. So, with the last minute information, the Combined Memo came to argue that it was okay to waterboard someone who had been deprived of sleep. And, as Jim Comey revealed in his emails, that Combined memo was really intended to authorize treatment retroactively.

Now this doesn’t prove that the CIA waterboarded Ghul. (They claim to have decided not to because he was too obese for the technique.) Perhaps it wasn’t Ghul they waterboarded; perhaps it was someone they tortured later. We can’t ask Ghul because he remains disappeared, last seen in a Pakistani jail.

All of this is inconclusive. But Levin’s promise of a follow-up memo, combined with the urgency surrounding the memo in April 2005, suggests they really did waterboard someone. 

If so, they have been lying about it to Congress and the American people ever since.

Update: I’m still working through these–and I see that the August 26, 2004 letter from Levin to Rizzo has the same line, as well as a September 6, 2004 one that appears to relate to a different detainee. That letter discusses four new techniques that had not been used before, which showed Read more

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.

Read more