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December 18th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Senate Asks C.I.A. to Share Study on Detentions,” once again looks back at the controversial actions during the Bush administration when harsh techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation were used to get information from terrorists in custody.
The Senate produced a 6,000-page report noting that little valuable intelligence was garnered using these techniques. At the time, the C.I.A. officially protested in a 22-page reply. But now comes word of another internal C.I.A. study that apparently reached the same conclusion.
Meanwhile, President Obama continues to show reluctance to prosecute any Bush administration officials for these actions, neither the Justice Department lawyers who produced legal justifications for them or the executives who carried them out.
Despite his campaign positions, President Obama also continues to use robust executive branch actions such as drone strikes and even killing an American citizen living overseas. The Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee has tried to peel back the situation by gaining access to these lawyers’ justifications. But, in this case, the executive branch is correct in refusing the documents because a lawyer’s advice to their client is confidential and that policy is central to our criminal justice system.
In any aspect, it is comforting to know that these techniques are no longer being used, and everything else is just Monday morning quarterbacking.
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