WASHINGTON - Bush administration officials from Vice President Dick Cheney on down signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, The Associated Press has learned. (Emphasis mine.)And the president approved, telling ABC's Martha Raddatz on Friday,
"Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."Glenn Greenwald cautions against placing too much emphasis on John Yoo's as the author of the just-released "torture memo" referenced at the top of the post. Yoo was doing what he was asked, to deliver a legal justification for illegal acts.
As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.
The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.
Yoo wasn't opining in a vacuum. He knew that these techniques were already being used and that the highest level of our Government wanted him to create legal protections for what had happened and to enable more of what they wanted to do. He bears substantial culpability, but certainly not exclusive or even principal culpability. (Emphasis mine.)There is a pattern here.
Greenwald points to Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin's observation that the 2006 Military Commissions Act "effectively insulated government officials from liability for many of the violations of the War Crimes Act they might have committed during the period prior to 2006."
There is a pattern here.
It is the triumph of corporate thinking applied to governing. The corporation exists -- as a style of organizing a business -- to shield its principals from personal responsibility for actions they take on its behalf. Why wouldn't our CEO president and his board members take the same approach to their roles in the executive branch?