Pentagon Torture Official Quits
One of the principle architects of the Rumsfeld Pentagon’s torture apparatus, Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes, is quitting. From the release:
The Department of Defense announced today that General Counsel of the Department of Defense William J. Haynes II is returning to private life next month.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said of Haynes, “I am sorry to see Jim leave the Pentagon. I have valued his legal advice and enjoyed workjng with him. Jim held this important post longer than anyone in history and he did so during one of America’s most trying periods. He has served the Department of Defense and the nation with distinction.”
Said Haynes, “I thank the President and the Secretary of Defense for their confidence and for the opportunity to serve. I leave the Pentagon humbled and inspired by the selfless sacrifices of the men and women, uniformed and civilian, who defend our country. And, I thank their families.”
Daniel J. Dell’Orto, principal deputy General Counsel of the Department of Defense since June 2000, will serve as acting General Counsel.
A brief recap. Haynes, at the behest of Donald Rumsfeld, convened a working group in late 2002 and early 2003 to expand the boundaries of permissible interrogation techniques for so-called enemy combatants in Defense Department custody. What they approved in April 2003 went far beyond the Geneva Conventions-compliant provisions of the Army Field Manual on interrogation. Those recommendations, used at Guantanamo Bay, eventually "migrated" (in the phrase of the Schlesinger inquiry ) to Abu Ghraib. It’s going too far to say that "No Haynes, No Torture," but he bears a measure of personal responsibility for what we’d call war crimes if they were committed by, say, Iran.
Then President Bush tried to appoint Haynes to a lifetime federal judgeship. That didn’t turn out so well.
Also, this guy Dell’Orto? He’s not much better. From a no-longer-online piece I wrote for TNR in August 2005:
When GOP Senator Lindsey Graham recently quoted to Pentagon lawyer Daniel Dell’Orto the inconvenient section of Article I, Section 8, granting Congress the authority to "make rules concerning captures on land and water," he farcically replied, "I’d have to take a look at that particular constitutional provision."