Throughout the Bush administration, Bush officials -- including the president, as you can see here -- consistently said that this government does not torture
Throughout the Bush administration, Bush officials — including the president, as you can see here – consistently said that “this government does not torture people.” The Bush administration also promised that it doesn’t send prisoners to be tortured elsewhere.
The Obama administration is now saying the same thing.
Today, it assured reporters in a background briefing with administration officials that although the U.S. government will continue to send terror suspects to foreign countries for interrogation — what has notoriously become known as “rendition” — it will seek assurances from those countries that their interrogators won’t torture the suspects.
Of course, the Bush administration said it sought and received those same assurances. After all, it’s long been illegal, both under U.S. and international law, to send detainees to countries where they’re likely to be tortured. So what’s different now?
“The State Department will play a larger role to ensure that those assurances are credible,” said one senior administration official during the background briefing. (Why the briefing was on background and not for attribution to particular administration officials isn’t clear.)
So, asked Eli Lake of The Washington Times, will the United States simply stop sending suspects to countries that are known to torture suspects, such as Egypt or Syria?
No, the administration is not willing to go that far, a senior administration official said. However, “we will ensure that we have the appropriate assurances in place that gives us strong confidence that the individuals in question will not be tortured.”
The Obama administration is now saying that, unlike the Bush administration before it, it will seek to verify that suspects aren’t being tortured. According to a paper released by the Justice Department today, the task force recommended that “agencies obtaining assurances from foreign countries insist on a monitoring mechanism, or otherwise establish a monitoring mechanism, to ensure consistent, private access to the individual who has been transferred, with minimal advance notice to the detaining government.”
That sounds like an improvement, though having to provide any advance notice to the detaining government is problematic. The policy still, to some extent, allows the U.S. government to trust foreign officials who promise they won’t torture a terror suspect, even if they are officials of a country that is known by the United States to torture terror suspects.
The State Department may play a larger role than it did before, but the new interagency process is ultimately under the control of the president’s National Security Council. That’s better then keeping it a purely CIA function, as it was before. But it still raises the question of why the United States plans to send terror suspects to foreign countries known to torture them, and just how vigorous — and how long-lasting — U.S. monitoring will really be.
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
MA-Sen: Loyal Democrats Grouse About Coakley
BOSTON -- A little while after noon, a steady crowd of Democratic voters streamed into the Cathedral High School Gymnasium to cast votes for their party’s
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’
Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?