Thursday, April 24, 2008

In response to:

CIA Foresaw Interrogation Issues
Agency Considered Investigations 'Virtually Inevitable'

If for the sake of argument, we ignore the morality or lack therof involved in waterboarding and get back to what is known.

The CIA was directed by people in the highest reaches of the executive branch to engage in behavior which they knew might result in prosecution. In order to protect themselves from that eventually they directed John Yoo to write a series of documents providing cover for their likely illegal acts. When Jack Goldsmith, (who by the way, is rather sympathetic to the idea of the CIA taking 'risks') reviewed the legal justifications authored by Yoo, he found them to be stretched beyond defensibilty and promptly withdrew them. Since that time a lot of effort has gone into A: legalizing the behavior that took place and B: hiding the decisionmaking process that led to the behavior.

So even if you think that waterboarding is the coolest thing since sliced bread, it still doesn't change the fact that the administration engaged in a conspiracy to violate existing law and in obstruction of justice behind a wall of 'national security' since those violations took place.

This is equally true in the case of FISA.

You don't have to think that the underlying behavior is necessarily bad to nevertheless acknowlege that it was against the law at the time it was done.

Call me a stickler but that doesn't strike me as a minor point.

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