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7,000 Pages of Justice Dept-CIA Torture Documents

A coalition of civil-liberties groups filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents detailing discussions between the CIA, the White House and the Justice Dept. relating to CIA’s interrogation program. It turned out, according to the Washington Post, that a staggering 7,000 pages of documentation on the program exist. Or as the Post put it:

The flow of documents, by itself, also suggests that the CIA’s unorthodox interrogation program was the focus of behind-the-scenes debate at the highest levels of the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The documents indicate that lawyers at the CIA and elsewhere were aware that CIA personnel might be subject to criminal prosecution or other legal sanctions.

You think? De-euphemized, this means that, as reported in this piece, culpability for torture isn’t on the shoulder’s of the interrogators. It’s on the shoulders of the highest levels of the administration — the ones who ordered the illegality, condoned it, covered it up, and apologized for it.

Despite the FOIA, most of the torture documents remain classified. But there are some indications of what’s contained. First, the Justice Dept.’s Office of Legal Counsel, under torture-condoning chief Steve Bradbury, had at least 12 torture discussions with CIA in 2005 and 2006 — after a famous December 2004 OLC memo ostensibly retreating from John Yoo’s 2002 justifications for torture. Second, there’s this, from the Post:

"The CIA’s purpose in requesting advice from OLC was the very likely prospect of criminal, civil, or administrative litigation against the CIA and CIA personnel who participate in the Program," said a declaration from Ralph S. DiMaio, information review officer for the CIA’s clandestine service. He added that the CIA considered such proceedings "to be virtually inevitable."

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