Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Torture has Cheney's Fingerprints All Over It.

Jane Mayer talks here about the fact that the more one looks into the torture question and who authorised it, the more one feels the presence of Dick Cheney hovering over the entire proceedings.

And the important points aren't the ones that are being made here. For instance, it's a cheap point that Condi got the amount of Americans killed wrong, or that she gets the number of stories in the twin towers wrong. Much more important was the fact that the Bush administration were warned that an attack was planned and that they did nothing.

We've known for years now that George W. Bush received a presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, in which he was warned: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." We've known for almost as long that Bush went fishing afterward.

What we didn't know is what happened in between the briefing and the fishing, and now Suskind is here to tell us. Bush listened to the briefing, Suskind says, then told the CIA briefer: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

George Tenet, on hearing that the US was under attack:
"I hope its not those guys from the midwest flight school"
I understand that their failure to take action on the intelligence they received prior to 9-11 made them jumpy. They knew that the public had every right to blame them for not pursuing more aggressively the leads which were in their possession, and that this led them to dread a second attack as possibly fatal to their administration.

But the extent that they went to in order to prevent a second attack clearly strayed into illegality. Perhaps, given the anxieties of the time, this is understandable to some people, which is - I think - the case which Condi is trying to make. What's not understandable however, is the fact that these illegal practices continued for years afterwards.

And the more that comes out, the more that one feels that Dick Cheney was the man pushing the US down this illegal road. It really is not possible to talk of investigation and possible prosecutions without putting Cheney's name at the very top of the list.

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