BREAKING NEWS: Obama
administration telling CIA officials they won't be prosecuted for past
waterboarding, AP reports
CIA employees won't
be tried for waterboarding
Holder gives first definitive assurance officials are legally in the clear
updated less than 1 minute ago
AP Writer Apr 16, 12:55 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama
administration on Thursday informed CIA officials who used waterboarding and
other harsh interrogation tactics on terror suspects that they will not be
(ap) - The
Administration has just OK'd Torture... If it Happened, there will be no
Justice... Is this the Change you were Hoping for?... Of course, I don't
Believe Waterboarding is Torture, but Barry ran for 1600 on that Lie... If he
had any Shame! - tha malcontent)
Even before President Barack Obama took office in January, aides signaled his
administration was not likely to bring criminal charges against CIA employees
for their roles in the secret, coercive terrorist interrogation program. It had
been deemed legal at the time through opinions issued by the Justice Department
under the Bush administration.
(Wrong is Wrong,
Barry... Everything and Nothing for the same Price... Sad. - tha malcontent)
But the statement issued Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's
chief law enforcement officer, is the first definitive assurance that those CIA
officials are in the clear, as long as their actions were in line with the legal
advice at the time.
(ap) - Say
hello to the International Court System, CIA... Don't Take the Bait from this
Snake Oil Salesman! - tha malcontent)
The CIA has acknowledged using waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, on
three high-level terror detainees in 2002 and 2003, with the permission of the
White House and the Justice Department. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said
waterboarding has not been used since, but some human rights groups have urged
Obama to hold CIA employees accountable for what they, and many Obama officials
and others around the world, say was torture.
The Holder statement was issued by the Justice Department along with the release
of four significant Bush-era legal opinions governing — in graphic and extensive
detail — the interrogation of terror detainees, the officials said. One of the
memos was produced by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in August
2002, the other three in 2005.
The memos, released to meet a court-approved deadline in a lawsuit against the
government in New York by the American Civil Liberties Union, detail the dozen
harsh techniques approved for use by CIA interrogators, the officials said. A
statement from Obama was also being released along with Holder's comments and
One memo specifically authorized a method for combining multiple techniques, a
practice human rights advocates argue is particularly harmful and crosses the
line into torture even if any of the individual methods do not.
The Obama administration last month released nine legal memos related to the
interrogation program, and probably will release more as the lawsuit proceeds.
But the four released Thursday represent the fullest accounting by the
government of the methods authorized and used, and is the complete list, the
There is very little redaction, or blacking out, of detail in the memos, the
The methods include keeping detainees naked for long periods, keeping them in a
painful standing position for long periods, and depriving them of solid food.
Other tactics included using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into walls,
keeping the detainee's cell cold for long periods, and beating and kicking the
detainee. Sleep-deprivation, prolonged shackling, and threats to a detainee's
family were also used.
Among the things not allowed in the memo were allowing a prisoner's body
temperature or caloric intake to fall below a certain level, because either
could cause permanent damage, the officials said.
The techniques were applied to 14 suspects considered very senior terrorists.
Many of the methods were detailed in a secret 2007 report by the International
Committee of the Red Cross. The New York Review of Books recently obtained a
copy of the report.
The ACLU suit has sought to use the Freedom of Information Act to shed light on
the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad — even though the Bush
administration eventually abandoned many of the legal conclusions and the Obama
administration has gone further to actively dismantle most of President George
W. Bush's anti-terror program.
Obama has ordered the CIA's secret overseas prisons known as "black sites"
closed, ended so-called "extraordinary renditions" of terrorism suspects if
there is any reason to believe the third country would torture them, and
restricted CIA questioners to only those interrogation methods and protocols
approved for use by the U.S. military until a complete review of the program is
Also Thursday, Holder was formally revoking every legal opinion or memo issued
during Bush's presidency that justified interrogation programs. Obama had
already said his administration would not rely upon them.
Still, the documents have been the subject of a long, fierce debate in and
outside government over how much officials should say about the tough treatment
The Bush administration held the view that the president had the authority to
claim broad powers that could not be checked by Congress or the courts in order
to keep Americans safe. Obama and Holder, among others, have said that the use
of such unchecked powers has actually made Americans less safe, by increasing
anti-U.S. sentiment, endangering American troops when captured and handing
terrorists a recruiting tool.
Even so, the officials described the president's process of deciding how much to
release in response to the suit as a very difficult one. Four weeks in the
making, the process resulted in intense debates involving the president, Cabinet
members, lower-level officials and even former administration officials.
Obama was concerned that releasing the information could endanger ongoing
operations, American personnel or U.S. relationships with foreign intelligence
services. CIA officials, in particular, needed reassuring, the officials said.
But in the end, the view of the Justice Department prevailed, that the FOIA law
required the release and that the government would be forced to do so by the
court if it didn't do so itself, the officials said. Also, Obama was reassured
about the potential national security implications by the fact that much of the
information contained in the memos was no longer secret, having been widely
publicized — including some of it by Bush himself — and by the fact that the
program itself no longer exists.
Those assurances are not likely to innoculate Obama against criticism from
conservatives. Last month, Vice President Dick Cheney said, for instance, that
Obama's decisions to revoke Bush-era terrorist detainee policies will "raise the
risk to the American people of another attack."
"inoculate", AP... Damn, I am now an Unpaid Editor... - tha malcontent)
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