It is increasingly clear that torture was Dick Cheney’s special project and that he was personally and deeply involved in it. And the CIA report has some amazing nuggets that show Cheney’s hand. In 2003, after Jay Bybee departed OLC, Cheney struggled to have John Yoo installed as his successor, but ultimately John Ashcroft’s candidate, Jack Goldsmith, prevailed. Goldsmith quickly backtracked on the torture authorizations that Yoo and Bybee gave. The result? The CIA stopped taking its cue from OLC and instead turned to the White House for guidance. It is remarkably vague on the particulars, and blackouts emerge just as passages seem to be getting interesting. But there’s little doubt that Dick Cheney and his staff were pushing the process from behind the scenes. [continued…]
The Justice Department prosecutor appointed this week to examine the CIA’s interrogation program will revisit long-dormant abuse cases involving the agency’s civilian contractors, bringing new attention to a little-known but controversial element of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.
Civilian contractors used by the CIA at secret overseas facilities were accused of detainee abuses and deaths in a series of cases in the years following the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but only one was ever prosecuted.
The contractors also played a key but secret role in the CIA’s interrogations of top Al Qaeda suspects at “black site” prisons overseas. [continued…]