Saturday, September 27, 2008

Update #2: “Senior White House officials played a central role in deliberations in the spring of 2002 about whether the Central Intelligence Agency could legally use harsh interrogation techniques while questioning an operative of Al Qaeda, Abu Zubaydah, according to newly released documents,” reported the New York Times on Sept. 25 (Mark Mazzetti, “Bush Aides Linked to Talks on Interrogations”). “Current and former officials have said that the C.I.A. began using harsh interrogation methods on Mr. Zubaydah in Thailand weeks before the Justice Department formally authorized the interrogation program in a secret memo dated Aug. 1, 2002. ... A fierce dispute erupted between the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. during the spring and summer of 2002, as F.B.I. officials objected to the harsh treatment and ultimately withdrew from Mr. Zubaydah’s interrogation.” The papers, given to the paper by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), have not been posted on the NYT website. In related news, William Glaberson, Times correspondent at Gitmo, reported that prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld stepped down:

The defense lawyer in the case, Maj. David J. R. Frakt of the Air Force Reserve, said Colonel Vandeveld ‘could no longer continue to serve ethically as a prosecutor.’ He said Colonel Vandeveld had had disputes with his superiors about whether to give him information that might help the defense. The chief prosecutor, Col. Lawrence J. Morris of the Army, said Colonel Vandeveld had asked to leave the prosecutor’s office for personal reasons and said, ‘there are no grounds for his ethical qualms.’ The dispute is the latest to stir up the war crimes system here, which has been plagued with prior defections from the prosecution office, judicial rulings that there was unlawful command influence over some cases and assertions of political influence from a former chief prosecutor.”

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