Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Anyone paying attention should know the basics of the timeline

Marcy has some observations on veracity.
DURBIN: So, when members of Congress were briefed of [sic] this, was it before the fact? Were they being asked to authorize these techniques and give their approval?

ZELIKOW: Sir, I think Senator Feinstein mentioned, SSCI is apparently really trying to break down the chronology. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has been publicizing chronologies of briefings, which then need to be matched up against when we were actually doing things.

And so, the honest answer is, I don't know whether folks were briefed before the fact.

Yes, Zelikow, you do know whether folks were briefed before the fact. There's the SSCI narrative (to which DiFi's work--alluded to by Zelikow--is follow-up), which states clearly that Congress got briefed after Abu Zubaydah had already been tortured.
[Emphasis mine]

Maybe he's just too busy/important to bother with little things like timelines of the history of which he was a part. After all, facts are so inconvenient.

And this is allegedly one of the "good guys" in the torture storyline.

Marcy also writes this:
The Republicans are working so hard to argue that Democrats were properly briefed because--per Lindsey Graham--if it becomes clear they weren't, then it is evidence of criminal intent.
You think?

I also commend to y'all's attention the op-ed contribution of Vicki Divoll in today's NYT.

Some of her comments:
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.

It should be noted that there is a legal argument that the interrogation program was merely foreign intelligence “collection,” and not “covert action” at all, because it was used to elicit information that already existed in the minds of the detainees. In that case, there is no exception in the law for Gangs of Four or Eight, and every member of the two committees should have been notified.

Of course my strong feelings about torture, its proponents and its defenders as well as its perpetrators, have not gone away, even if I have not commented much amid the recent flood of discussion.

Btw, Barry, if you don't release those photos I, for one, am gonna be mighty pissed. Your transparency promises are fading rapidly into Bushspeak. I believe that while releasing them may (and almost certainly will) in the short run provide fodder for those who hate us, continuing to cover-up and to protect perps will do us far more damage in the long run.

You should release the photos and say, loud and clear: Yes, we did this and it was wrong on every level--legal, moral, and practical. We renounce and denounce any such activities. We shall not allow them in the future and we will prosecute those responsible for such behavior according to the laws of the land (which the President, as a law professor, knows include the treaties of which we are signatory).

That would release an absolute shit storm but it could also restore a great deal of our credibility and national pride. We must deal with the truth.

And what the fuck is Dick Cheney doing walking around instead of his lying, treasonous ass being behind bars? May I suggest he enjoy some leisure travel on the Iberian peninsula?
--the BB


The Cunning Runt said...

Yes, The Dick, whose lying ass was unavailabe for public scrutiny for the eight years during which he ran this country (into the ground, I might add) is now fully front-and-center, criticizing Obama for trashing our Constitution?????I'll personally donate to his Extraordinary Rendition Fund.

Hey, if "it ain't torture," Dickie Boy, I'm sure you won't mind giving it a go...

Paul said...

I'd dig into my savings for Cheney's rendition. Tempted as I am with other possibilities, I will settle for the Hague.

Grandmère Mimi said...

FWIW, I think the photos will be released, probably by court order, because Barry doesn't want to take the heat for their release - which I can understand. He's already taking a lot of heat. He will not resist a court order.

Paul said...

Grandmère, je crois bien que tu as raison.

I had heard speculation along those lines on the radio today and it sounds quite likely. He will protest a bit and let the courts declare there is no legitimate reason to withhold them. It won't be pretty, but the Bushies should have thought of that before going down the Cheney path in the first place.