Haynes: As Weaselly As Alberto Gonzales
Levin asked Haynes if he remembered seeing Baumgartner’s July 26, 2002 memorandum on SERE training addressed to his office. “No, sir, I don’t remember it at the time,” Haynes said, fumbling dramatically through the memo’s pages. “But I saw it a long time ago… it’s possible I saw it at the time.”
It got better. How could Haynes not have seen it? It was addressed to him! “The recipient,” Haynes clarified, “is the Office of the Secretary of Defense General Counsel, which is not my precise title.” Wow.
“I don’t remember doing something with this information,” Haynes said. “What I recall was the environment I described earlier. I’ve forgotten what prompted my interest other than the general concerns. There may have been some other catalyst but I can’t be more specific.”
Ever discuss SERE techniques with Addington, Yoo, or other senior lawyers? “Um, I believe I did discuss SERE techniques with other people in the administration,” he said. What was the gist? “First off, my memory is not great. But if I were to discuss anything further I believe I’d have to talk about classified information.” So his memory isn’t great — unless he’s in closed session? “I could not tell you the gist of those conversations outside of classified session.”
Levin was, um, perplexed by this obvious lie. “I don’t know what going into classified session would add to it.” Haynes. “OK. I agree.”
Haynes was thisclose to being a federal judge.