Report: Condoleeza Rice and John Ashcroft Approved of Torture Program

225px-condoleezza_rice_cropped225px-john_ashcroftA Senate Intelligence Report shows that Condoleeza Rice, then national security adviser, approved of the torture program as early as 2002. One week later, Attorney General John Ashcroft signed off the the legality of the torture by finding that the “proposed interrogation techniques were lawful.” It was also revealed that torture was used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the first person charged in the United States in the 2000 attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.

In a critical meeting, Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA Director George Tenet, Ashcroft, Rice and their legal counsels, sat down and planned the torture program. The report notes that “the principals reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy.”

The Bush Administration was fully aware that criminal charges might be brought. CIA memos show both an effort to establish a defense to such charges and CIA officials later destroyed evidence that could be used against them. Now Judge Jay Bybee wrote a memo that read like a criminal defense attorney’s guide on how to allow a criminal charge by denying intent to cause pain.

The Bush Administration was clever enough to pull into Democratic leaders like Pelosi and others to give them knowledge of their intentions. It worked perfectly. Democratic leaders later would work to block any investigation into the torture program or impeachment proceedings. Pelosi is now trying to draw a line between being briefed on the intent to torture as opposed to being informed of an actual act of torture.

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34 thoughts on “Report: Condoleeza Rice and John Ashcroft Approved of Torture Program”

  1. Patty C said, in part:

    “To me Jill displays all of the contemptible, annoying, and obsessive qualities of the Bush/Cheney/Far-Right/Fixed-News types and even the Larry Craigs of the day, however, aimed at
    Barack Obama, before he was even elected in, the name of justice, the rule of law, and checks and balances – about which she has yet to discover a clue…”

    Okay Patty C., please tell me at what hospital you work at so I can avoid that complete State in case I should be anywhere near you if I am in need of a medical emergency. I also want to write your State board of medical examiners to have them look into you medical competency and to protect the public’s health and safety.

    Professor Turley has requested many times that you cease and desist (very politely) with ad hominem attacks on Jill, and yet you keep cyber-stalking her from thread-to-thread because she is getting more attention from the guys than you are. After the last time you were asked to “behave” you did not post for a while and others and I remarked for you to please come back. I will never make that request again.

    If your attacks on Jill are just a joke, please inform me, because I do not want to misjudge you if I am missing something. Otherwise, you are a real piece of work. How in ‘tarnashion’ you ever became a surgeon makes me fear the state of medical college training nowadays. Is there an equivalent Regent University School of Law for medicine? As a former Army medic, I have doubts that you are the competent medical professional you claim, given your posts.

    Please tell me that your attack on Jill is simply your way of expressing humor and wit. If it is not, then your Dad was most likely using that “hat rack” reference for your benefit, but you never took the hint or caught his drift.

  2. Welcome Aboard, Slartibart!

    In the words of Ron White, “You can’t fix ‘Stupid’ “…

    Or as my Dad, who graduated college at the age of 17 and became a surgeon, like myself, used to say to his other offspring, my brothers, growing up ” Use your head for something other than a hat rack, Friend”. Now, I know what he meant! 😉

    To me Jill displays all of the contemptible, annoying, and obsessive qualities of the Bush/Cheney/Far-Right/Fixed-News types and even the Larry Craigs of the day, however, aimed at
    Barack Obama, before he was even elected in, the name of justice, the rule of law, and checks and balances – about which she has yet to discover a clue.

    Work expands, if you know what I mean…

    Personally, I don’t have the time to blog all day.
    I’m too busy, especially lately.

    I have even less patience after reading the same old crap for a full year now.

    p.s. For a laugh, if you haven’t seen Kathy Griffin’s ‘Straight to Hell’ on Bravo’s bit ie Larry Craig, I highly recommend it.
    It has been removed from Youtube, unfortunately.

  3. Jill,

    I am NOT defending any of the practices you are talking about (and if torture is still going on, be it at Bagram, GITMO, or a CIA black site, it is a war crime and those responsible should be punished) I just don’t see how waiting (again, let us say for the sake of argument two weeks) has any effect whatsoever on those prisoners. If you disagree with this, let me know – but in light of it I see no reason to rush things with the possible detriment to both the country as a whole as well as a potentially lower chance of what we both agree to be the ideal outcome for no tangible benefit.

  4. SB,

    Please feel free to doubt me, just look at the court rulings for yourself. Here is one on Bagram (go to the ACLU for more information). A court ruling that you can read isn’t the same as any second hand news source. What I am saying to you is you advise patience while people are being tortured. Two weeks is a lot of pain and suffering if you’re in the middle of it.

    The argument you guys are making is: Obama is not moving on anything because he is waiting for political cover to do so, or he has a secret plan etc. If that were true his administration would not have made more extreme arguments on spying or the denial of detainee rights than Bush did. He would have stopped the torture and denial of rights immediately. Yet he allows it to go on. He is even now dening evidence to Binyam Mohammed in his court case in the U.K. You can’t have it both ways. If Obama is working towards the good, then these rulings make no sense. If he does not plan to prosecute anyone, the fact that he maintains or goes beyond the positions that bush took make perfect sense. It means he is not working in opposition to bush in any of these rulings or in the matter of prosecutions, (nor is Holder). There’s a big connection between these positions and clear eyes will see it. Following is about the ACLU suit, check the website:
    “The cases of those detainees — many of whom were taken by U.S. soldiers from their homes, schools and other locations that aren’t normally considered a “battlefield” — will pose the next legal challenges to the Obama administration’s policy of indefinite detention at Bagram without charge or trial, say lawyers following these cases.

    “One question will be whether people are still being brought to Bagram from elsewhere as a way to avoid review, and how the U.S. is treating prisoners at Bagram,” said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project who has not participated in these cases, but is watching them closely. Hafetz said he expects to see more challenges to the Obama administration’s Bagram policy soon. “Right now, they’re not being given a fair process and they’re being held with less process than prisoners got at Guantanamo.”

    In fact, in his order, Bates went out of his way to say that the process that Bagram prisoners are afforded to challenge their detention “falls well short of what the Supreme Court found inadequate at Guantanamo.”

    Specifically, the judge found that the “process is plainly less sophisticated and more error-prone.” For example, unlike prisoners at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, where prisoners could have some representation, Bagram detainees must represent themselves.

    “Obvious obstacles, including language and cultural differences, obstruct effective self-representation by petitioners such as these,” Bates wrote. “Detainees cannot even speak for themselves; they are only permitted to submit a written statement. But in submitting that statement, detainees do not know what evidence the United States relies upon to justify an “enemy combatant” designation — so they lack a meaningful opportunity to rebut that evidence.”

  5. Mike and Mike,
    I agree that it is my opinion that the Obama administration is purposely sending out the torture information on a slow piece meal basis because they do not want to shut down the Congress until they get some major issues completed. I say this because once the torture investigation issue is brought up in the Sentate, The Republicants will be singing the Filibuser Blues and will gladly shut down the debate and we all know that Reid will not force the Republicants to actually filibuster it all night. Do we know when the Minnesota Supreme Court is supposed to hear arguments in Coleman’s appeal? We could use another vote real quick when these big torture issues start opening up in the Senate.

  6. Jill,

    I did not know that there is still torture going on and I’m very disappointed if that is true (I have no reason to doubt you, I’m just dubious about any news source these days), and I wont deny that I’m disappointed with President Obama on the issues you raise. What I don’t see is how doing anything right now (as opposed to say, two weeks from now) makes any of that better. I am very much opposed to an action that, in my opinion, has no benefits and a very real downside. The way pressure is building, I believe that very soon the republicans will have to decide to support some sort of investigation or defend torture (which is becoming less defensible by the day) at which point the political price for proceeding drops significantly. As I said before, this is only one of the important issues right now and I don’t begrudge president Obama being pragmatic if the right thing gets done in the end.

  7. I always thought Pelosi was a scum-bag for refusing to even consider the idea of impeachment proceedings. Now I see what appeared as simple political gutlessness was even more self-serving.

  8. Again, I ask those who say wait for the politcally right time to answer how this is fair to a detainee. How is it that Obama’s DOJ tried to keep this man in detention helped him further the goal of bringing bush to justice? A judge did not think this detainee needed to wait to force the DOJ or Obama to find the “right” time to do the right thing. From the ACLU:

    “WASHINGTON – April 24 – A federal judge will review a challenge to the indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainee Mohammed Jawad on Monday, April 27 in Washington, D.C. Lawyers for Jawad, who has been in U.S. military custody since he was as young as 14, have charged that he is being held indefinitely based on a false “confession” obtained through torture. This is the first federal court hearing challenging his detention.

    In February, the government filed a motion continuing Bush administration efforts to deny Jawad his right to challenge his detention in federal court until after the Guantánamo military commission case against him is complete, even though President Obama has ordered a halt to all military commission proceedings. On Wednesday, Judge Ellen S. Huvelle denied the Justice Department’s motion.”

  9. Mike Spindell,

    Thank you ever so much. That means a lot to me.

  10. Bob,Esq:

    “Not for nothing, but I think Mespo would agree with me that the Roman Empire was anything but tribal.”


    History makes it so.

  11. Jilt ’em Jill ‘n Keep on keeping on…

    Such protestations often elicit evidence from a secretive, corrupt government.

  12. Mike Spindell:

    “This type of maneuvering has been going on for the ten thousand years of human civilization and probably pre-dates that to the small tribal culture.”


    Not for nothing, but I think Mespo would agree with me that the Roman Empire was anything but tribal.



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