Friday, December 30, 2005

Covert CIA Program Withstands New Furor

"In the past, presidents set up buffers to distance themselves from covert action," said A. John Radsan, assistant general counsel at the CIA from 2002 to 2004. "But this president, who is breaking down the boundaries between covert action and conventional war, seems to relish the secret findings and the dirty details of operations."

Right. Bubble Boy probably has a set of green army guys that he arranges on his Oval Office desk and uses to direct the operations of the CIA.

The CIA has stuck with its overall approaches, defending and in some cases refining them. The agency is working to establish procedures in the event a prisoner dies in custody. One proposal circulating among mid-level officers calls for rushing in a CIA pathologist to perform an autopsy and then quickly burning the body, according to two sources.

Body? What body? You don't need a body when you have our autopsy report. Trust us. We only burn the bad people. CYA? No, you're mistaken, it's CIA.

"The executive branch will not pull back unless it has to," said a former Justice Department lawyer involved in the initial discussions on executive power. "Because if it pulls back unilaterally and another attack occurs, it will get blamed."

A proud, noble governing philosophy: It's not our fault. See how tough we are! Look at how tough we are! Every toenail that we pull shows how serious we are, and how Not Our Fault all of this is.

But after Sept. 11, four former government lawyers said, it was classified as an act of self-defense and therefore was not an assassination. "If it was an al Qaeda person, it wouldn't be an assassination," said one lawyer involved.


When the CIA wanted new rules for interrogating important terrorism suspects the White House gave the task to a small group of lawyers within the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel who believed in an aggressive interpretation of presidential power.


These lawyers have written legal justifications for holding suspects picked up outside Afghanistan without a court order, without granting traditional legal rights and without giving them access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

CIA and Office of Legal Counsel lawyers also determined that it was legal for suspects to be secretly detained in one country and transferred to another for the purposes of interrogation and detention -- a process known as "rendition."

It's a shame that both branches of Congress are controlled by the opposition party to the President, otherwise he would have been able to change the law, rather than twist his lawyers in knots trying to justify his actions. Oh, wait a minute...


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Sat Dec 31, 01:37:00 AM EST  

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