by David Safier
I'm leaving my usual education turf for a moment, because I am horrified by ABC News and Associated Press stories that the top White House officials sat around discussing torture and giving the CIA the go ahead to do pretty much whatever they wished to prisoners.
And I am disgusted that this topic is not being carried by most newspapers or talked about at any length on cable news. We're in serious impeachment territory here. Maybe even war crimes territory. The administration that has maintained, "We don't torture" has given the green light to torture. At the highest level.
Top secret meetings by what was known as the Principals discussed exactly what kind of "enhanced interrogation" should be used with what prisoner. Here are the people who attended the meetings.
- Dick Cheney
- Condoleezza Rice
- Donald Rumsfeld
- Colin Powell
- George Tenet
- John Ashcroft
In other words, they were attended by everyone who was anyone but Bush himself, who was shielded from the meetings. The group:
"signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.
. . .
According to multiple sources, it was members of the Principals Committee that not only discussed specific plans and specific interrogation methods, but approved them.
. . .
The Principals also approved interrogations that combined different methods, pushing the limits of international law and even the Justice Department's own legal approval in the 2002 memo, sources told ABC News. At one meeting in the summer of 2003 -- attended by Vice President Cheney, among others -- Tenet made an elaborate presentation for approval to combine several different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time, according to a highly placed administration source."
If ever there was a smoking gun that the policy of torture carried out since 9/11 was discussed and approved at the highest level of government, this is it. The administration knows exactly how toxic this revelation is. For years, they have been doing everything in their power to distance themselves from torture. Now it is right there in the White House -- in their lap, on their agenda, from their mouths.
Come on, newspapers. Come on cable news. Do your jobs. Pick this up and run with it.