Torture Update

TORTURE UPDATE….The lead of Dana Priest’s latest article in the Washington Post says that the CIA has stopped using “extraordinary interrogation techniques.” The bigger news, however, might be a few paragraphs down:

The suspension is the latest fallout from the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and is related to the White House decision, announced Tuesday, to review and rewrite sections of an Aug. 1, 2002, Justice Department opinion on interrogations that said torture might be justified in some cases.

Although the White House repudiated the memo Tuesday as the work of a small group of lawyers at the Justice Department, administration officials now confirm it was vetted by a larger number of officials, including lawyers at the National Security Council, the White House counsel’s office and Vice President Cheney’s office.

It’s remarkable how Dick “Go Fuck Yourself” Cheney’s name keeps coming up in these contexts, isn’t it? Seems like something of a bad apple to me.

Elsewhere, Michael Froomkin wonders why the August 2002 memo was so bad purely from the point of view of legal craft. His conclusion, based on this New York Times piece: the memo wasn’t written to guide future action. Rather, the White House was scrambling to find some legal cover for abuses that had already happened.