I know Attorney General Eric Holder just announced that he plans to investigate only the CIA interrogators that went beyond what the law allowed, as it was interpreted by the Justice Department’s torture memos, but what will he do about the fact that the Justice Department itself authorized exceeding those guidelines?
Discussing the “extreme interrogation techniques” including waterboarding, the report acknowledges that “with respect to two detainees at those [secret CIA] sites, the use and frequency of one EIT, the waterboard, went beyond the projected use of the technique as originally described to DOJ.” No matter. Because the CIA went ahead and obtained DOJ’s permission to go ahead and use the more extreme versions of the technique, with more frequency than it had previously approved.
The reports says: “The Agency, on 29 July 2003, secured oral DOJ concurrence that certain deviations are not significant for purposes of DOJ’s legal opinions.”
The Justice Department, then, approved the more extreme and frequent use of the technique — the one that Holder, President Obama and most legal experts have called “torture.” How will Holder be able to limit those prosecutions to only CIA officials? This is exactly the type of evidence that I think will take the investigation not only up the chain of command at the CIA, but should shift it over to the Justice Department as well.