The Weird Circumstances Surrounding Hassan Ghul’s Interrogation

By: Thursday May 5, 2011 12:33 pm

As I noted earlier, the AP and other outlets have reported that Hassan Ghul was among the first to inform American interrogators of the importance of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Here’s what the AP reported. Then in 2004, top al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. Ghul told the CIA that al-Kuwaiti was a courier, [...]

Newt’s Singeing Statement

By: Saturday February 26, 2011 6:21 am

Newt Gingrich, in a role that was probably cast years ago, now calls on Obama to be impeached because he refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who plans within two weeks to announce if he will run for president, said today that if President Obama doesn’t [...]

John Bellinger: If the War Is Illegal, Just Change the Law

By: Saturday November 27, 2010 7:05 am

John Bellinger has been publicly suggesting the Obama Administration had exceeded the terms of the AUMF for some time. So it is unsurprising that he took the opportunity of a Republican House, the incoming Armed Services Chair’s explicit support for a new AUMF, and the Ghailani verdict to more fully develop his argument in an [...]

What Happened to that OTHER OPR Report?

By: Tuesday April 13, 2010 5:55 am

Remember the OPR Report? No, not the OPR Report on John Yoo’s laughably bad torture memos. I’m talking about the OPR Report on John Yoo’s even worse memo(s) authorizing domestic surveillance. The Torture OPR Report notes that it was the domestic surveillance memo, and not the torture memos, that first clued Jack Goldsmith into how [...]

Did DOD Have ANY Authorization for Torture after 2004?

By: Saturday March 20, 2010 4:04 pm

There are a couple of things that have been bugging me about the authorizations DOD got for interrogations.  It’s not clear what kind of authorization DOD used to justify detainee interrogations after the Yoo memo was withdrawn in 2003-2004–they had no overall interrogation approval from OLC. While it’s possible they were just relying on already-existing [...]

Rendering Opinions on Rendering Detainees out of Iraq

By: Monday March 15, 2010 7:42 pm

This is going to be a really weedy post trying to explore what was going on with just about the only named opinion that Jack Goldsmith wrote at OLC that has gotten focused attention–a March 19, 2004 one cataloging the protected status of different kinds of people captured in Iraq. I will return to the [...]

Were the Torturers Bypassing OLC in July 2004?

By: Friday March 12, 2010 3:11 pm

Jay Bybee thinks it’s really damning that Jim Comey attended a July 2, 2004 Principals meeting at which the torture of one particular detainee (he says it was Janat Gul, though there are reasons to doubt it) was discussed. Comey joined Ashcroft at a NSC Principals Meeting on July 2, 2004 to discuss the possible [...]

Days after Taguba Reported Sadistic Criminal Abuse at Abu Ghraib, DOD Asked to Use More Torture

By: Monday March 8, 2010 5:39 am

On March 13, 2004, according to the OPR Report, Jack Goldsmith and Patrick Philbin went to Jim Comey’s house on a Saturday to alert him of something. The military had contacted Goldsmith, wanting to use a more extreme form of torture against a detainee–something like isolation, waterboarding, water dousing, or death threats.* [Update: In this [...]

“We all benefited” from Margolis’ tenure

By: Friday March 5, 2010 6:14 pm

A bunch of former DOJ bigwigs just wrote a seemingly pointless letter to Pat Leahy to assure him that David Margolis does not have a partisan–and they mean Left-Right partisan–bias. (h/t Main Justice) I say “pointless,” to begin with, because after last Friday’s flaccid hearing on the OPR report, is anyone actually imagining that Pat [...]

The Torture Gang: The Entire Bush Administration

By: Sunday February 28, 2010 6:34 am

One of the defenses that John Yoo and Jay Bybee made in response to the OPR Report with which I’m sympathetic is the argument that, if they are going to be held accountable, so should all the other Executive Branch lawyers who approved of torture. Jay Bybee even included a pretty little graph of all [...]

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