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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
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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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.”