Friday, November 17, 2006

Missed This

Just saw this NYTimes article noted over at Crooks and Liars and thought it was from the standard Friday bad-news dump, but it's actually from Wednesday. Nevertheless, it's important reading:
The Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged for the first time the existence of two classified documents, including a directive signed by President Bush, that have guided the agency’s interrogation and detention of terror suspects.

The C.I.A. referred to the documents in a letter sent Friday from the agency’s associate general counsel, John L. McPherson, to lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The contents of the documents were not revealed, but one of them is “a directive signed by President Bush granting the C.I.A. the authority to set up detention facilities outside the United States and outlining interrogation methods that may be used against detainees,” the A.C.L.U. said, based on its review of published accounts.

The second document, according to the group, is a Justice Department legal analysis “specifying interrogation methods that the C.I.A. may use against top Al Qaeda members.”

A.C.L.U. lawyers said they would urge public disclosure of the contents of the documents. “We intend to press for release of both of these documents,” Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the group, said in a statement. “If President Bush and the Justice Department authorized the C.I.A. to torture prisoners, the public has a right to know.”


The directive from Mr. Bush is thought to have been issued shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Justice Department memo about a year later. The administration has acknowledged the agency’s role in handling detainees.
I can see how this got side-tracked a bit this week as the actual documents haven't been revealed and there was more pressing news going on this week like the jockeying amongst Democrats for House Majority leader (which was labeled as in-fighting), the ratcheting up of attacks on Nancy Pelosi (which includes jibes about why she hasn't turned the country around already -- here's a hint, she's not Speaker yet...) and tasered students at the UCLA library. Let's not lose focus on what's most important -- getting us the frak out of Iraq while also figuring out ways to minimize the sectarian bloodbath, focusing some oversight on the illegalities of this administration, and crafting some sane policies that provide better economic footing to more people than just the top 1% of earners. Maybe I'm just feeling grumpy this afternoon. It'll pass.


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