Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Who's running this place?

This story came out last week, but the NYT has now deigned to notice:
The Obama administration is intensely debating whether and when to release documents from the Bush administration related to harsh interrogation methods used on prisoners belonging to Al Qaeda, according to administration and Congressional officials.

Some officials, including Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have argued for disclosing the material as quickly as possible to distance the new administration from the most controversial policies of the Bush years. Mr. Holder and other top officials have condemned the most extreme of the past interrogation techniques, waterboarding, as illegal torture, and they see no reason to hide from public view what they consider the mistakes of their predecessors.

But some former and current Central Intelligence Agency officials say a rush to release classified material could expose intelligence methods and needlessly offend dedicated counterterrorism officers. Some administration and Congressional officials said John O. Brennan, a C.I.A. veteran who now serves as President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, has urged caution in disclosing interrogation documents.
Another reason to thank God we didn't put Brennan atop CIA.

"Needlessly offend CIA officers" -- fuck 'em. If they're the kind of people to get their panties in a wad, they shouldn't be at CIA in the first place.

"Expose intelligence methods" -- really? Exposing *torture techniques*? Those are "intelligence methods" now?

There's also an update on the OPR review of Yoo et al:
On Tuesday, two Democratic senators, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, wrote to the Justice Department to complain about delays in the release of a report by the its ethics office on the role of department lawyers in providing legal advice on waterboarding and other interrogation methods under President Bush.

A draft of the report completed in December by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is described by officials who have been briefed on its contents as highly critical of three authors of legal memorandums on interrogation: Jay S. Bybee, John C. Yoo and Mr. Bradbury.

Answering a query from the two senators last week, M. Faith Burton, the acting head of legislative affairs at the Justice Department, suggested that the report was far from ready for public release. She said copies had been given to the former department lawyers whose work it criticizes and the department was awaiting their comments before beginning additional reviews.

“Due to the complexity and classification level of the draft report, the review process described above likely will require substantial time and effort,” Ms. Burton wrote.
I must presume there's a time limit on the replies, so that the lawyers can't delay the report indefinitely. But who knows. Of course, if the memos were all made public, perhaps the "classification level" would drop a few notches?

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