Monday, June 08, 2009

Comey's leaked emails.

Three new emails have been obtained by the New York Times which that same paper, bizarrely, claim shows agreement amongst Justice Department lawyers that the enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the Bush regime were "legal".

I'd ask anyone to read the three emails and see if they concur with that conclusion. Indeed, I'd say it's bunkum.

Comey repeatedly points out his disagreement with the conclusions being reached and implies that "great pressure" is being applied by Dick Cheney and others for the DOJ to give them the legal cover they desire.

He states this:

I told him that the people who were applying pressure now would not be there when the shit hit the fan. Rather they would say that they had only asked for an opinion. It would be Alberto Gonzales in the bullseye. I told him that my job was to protect the department and the AG and that I could not agree to this because it is wrong.
Does that read as if all were in agreement? Indeed, isn't claiming that "they had only asked for an opinion" exactly the defence on which the Bush/Cheney regime are now relying?

The emails also highlight the "great pressure" which both Bush and Cheney were piling on Gonzales for these memos to be produced.

And the emails make it perfectly clear that, with Ashcroft gone, the White House could get exactly what it wanted out of Gonzales as he lacked Ashcroft's backbone when it came to opposing pressure from Bush and Cheney.

Glenn Greenwald

It's worth noting that all of the officials involved in these events -- including Comey -- are right-wing ideologues appointed by George Bush. That's why they were appointed. The fact that Comey was willing to go along with approval of these tactics when used individually -- just as is true of his willingness to endorse a modified version of Bush's NSA warrantless eavesdropping program in the face of FISA -- hardly proves that there was a good-faith basis for the view that these individual tactics were legal.

But the real story here is obvious -- these DOJ memos authorizing torture were anything but the by-product of independent, good faith legal analysis. Instead, those memos -- just like the pre-war CIA reports about The Threat of Saddam -- were coerced by White House officials eager for bureaucratic cover for what they had already ordered.
The real story behind these leaked emails is that the DOJ memos authorizing torture were produced on request because Gonzales lacked the backbone of John Ashcroft. The White House were not simply asking for an opinion, they were applying "great pressure" because, in the words of Dick Cheney, "we are getting killed on the Hill."

Click title for Greenwald's piece.

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