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After five years in which Congress abdicated its Constitutional duties of oversight–with the most disastrous consequences, and nowhere more sorely missed than in the field of intelligence–we witness the first stirrings towards Congressional action now. Scott Shane offers a good report on the first moves in today’s New York Times.
I’m just starting to look through these developments now, but I note an important interim assessment by Marty Lederman here, which should mark a good starting point. What’s going on behind the scenes? The Administration is pressing ahead for continuation of the “program,” including the four criminal techniques of waterboarding, hypothermia, long-time standing, and sleep deprivation over two days. The force behind this move is, as always, the Vice President for Torture, Dick Cheney. The senior-most echelon of intelligence professionals–I am told and believe–are nearly unanimous in opposing these moves on both moral and utilitarian grounds. Their advice and analysis is, as usual, ignored by the White House, with its heartfelt conviction that brutality works. The initial moves coming out of Congress are certainly less than the robust confrontation one would have wished for, but we are, it appears, still in the midst of a battle.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”