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To the Editor, Harper’s Magazine
I request your attention to Harper’s Internet “No Comment” piece by Mr Scott Horton, published June 7, 2007. It was well below accepted journalistic standards, lacking both appropriate fact-checking and opportunity to comment before publication.
The facts: In 2003, I was tasked by the General Counsel, Department of Defense, to lead a group of senior Pentagon lawyers to assess potential methods of interrogation for use with terrorist detainees held at Guantanamo. Our review was an iterative process that included all Judge Advocates General and General Counsels. Although we were directed to apply the Department of Justice’s legal analysis to our review, I ensured that all participants had several opportunities to affect the DOJ analysis before incorporation. All General Counsels and Judge Advocates General were provided opportunity to discuss the matter directly with the DOD General Counsel as well. Views differing from the DOJ analysis were addressed in our policy analysis. Finally, the list of recommended techniques was unanimously concurred in by all Judge Advocates General and General Counsels.
To respond to some of the other unsupported statements: I have never attempted to suppress any aspect of any inquiry or investigation. On more occasions than I would like, I’ve engaged in unavoidable disputes with some senior Judge Advocates. They are, like me, entitled to the independence of their views. One of their roles is to advocate for their uniformed clients. One of mine is to help ensure meaningful civilian oversight of the military. That creates a natural, constitutionally derived, tension. I’ve never evaluated their positions based on their political views—indeed, I don’t know them.
Mary L. Walker
Department of the Air Force
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
Number of countries thought to possess chemical weapons:
Placebos are more effective if the drugs for which they stand in are said to be more expensive.
In Torrance, California, an African grey parrot named Nigel, who once spoke English with a British accent and had returned home after a four-year absence, began asking for someone named “Larry” and speaking Spanish.
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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.”