OLC, 2005: CIA Torture By Definition Doesn’t Fall Under the Convention Against Torture
I’m still reading the Office of Legal Counsel documents from 2005 that blessed CIA torture despite a 2004 withdrawal of earlier OLC opinions blessing torture — basically these documents represented the Bush administration yelling “psych!” after saying it annulled the basis for the CIA’s torture program a few months earlier — but one thing stands out. The memorandum prepared for CIA acting general counsel John Rizzo on May 30, 2005, argues that the CIA by definition is outside the restrictions of the Convention Against Torture and all relevant statutes barring “cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment” as long as it takes place outside the United States and doesn’t involve U.S. citizens or resident aliens. “For these reasons, we cannot set forth or apply a precise test for what ‘shocks the conscience’…”
We’re still scanning the documents and will publish them as soon as technology permits.