Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the last two years of George W. Bush’s presidency, said Sunday that the Obama administration’s recent release of memos detailing harsh interrogation techniques would limit the agency’s ability to pursue terrorists in the future.President Rainbow Brite, the darling of the mainstream "antiwar" left, has made it clear that there won't be any criminal charges brought against well-positioned war criminals. And that's a real shame, what with folks like Michael Hayden and Dick Cheney volunteering out loud for seats at the defendants' table. But, with Mr. Obama obviously intending to be as least as much a player of the empire game as was Mr. Bush before him, he's not about to establish any precedents of undue executive accountability before the law that he might someday find personally inconvenient. One player goes to the bench and is replaced by another ... but the game, clearly, goes on.
The C.I.A. used harsh techniques like waterboarding on detainees from 2002 through 2005, before General Hayden became director. He told a Congressional committee in 2008 that the technique was explicitly dropped from the agency’s authorized methods in 2006 and that he believed its use was likely to have been illegal.
But speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” General Hayden said that the descriptions gave Al Qaeda a tactical advantage by allowing them to prepare for specific practices used by the C.I.A., even if those practices are not in use now.
“It describes the box within which Americans will not go beyond,” General Hayden said. “To me, that’s very useful for our enemies, even if, as a policy matter, this president at this time had decided not to use one, any, or all of those techniques.”
Now let's hear from a legislative 'Pubbie:
Senator John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada, also criticized the administration on Sunday, saying that the disclosure would limit future options against terrorism.Oh, yeah -- if our former employee Mr. bin Laden is captured, we're naturally going to want to have plenty of Jack Bauer Fantasy Fun with him before he's lynched. Don't want nuthin' spoilin' that party, nosirreebob!
“The harm is that if we ever return to those policies, one is they can train against them now,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Do we really think that having advanced interrogation techniques is something we don’t want to use if we find Osama bin Laden?”
Finally, there's the question of Supporting the
Mr. Ensign and Gen. Hayden also argued that the prospect of prosecution would give C.I.A. agents pause when accepting legal advice about the practices they use.Can't have those tax-feeders pausing when being told that torture is legal, and no harm can come to them, and that nothing El Presidente calls "legal" can possibly be illegal. Can't have them hesitating out of fear that the classic Nuremberg defense ("ve vass schusst followink ohr-duhs!") might not fly. Or ... could we? Sure we could. We won't, but we could.
“The basic foundation of the legitimacy of the agency’s action has shifted from some durability of law to a product of the American political process,” he said. “That puts agency officers in a horrible position.”
Now, equal time for the Democrats:
Democrats on Sunday played down the importance of the release of the documents, saying that most of the information was already public. David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama, said there was “no legal rationale for keeping them classified.”Yeah, move on, folks, move on -- nothing to see here. Purest crap. There would, in fact, be nothing better for the great 'Murkin People than to "revisit it again and again and again." Clearly, it's not in the interest of today's war criminal to have a lot of war-crimes discussions that might reverberate as much as four years from now -- after all, Rainbow Brite himself has said that he might be a one-term president if he can't reinvigorate the shell game that is the hollow American "economy," and he's certainly smart enough to be able to make a reasonable estimate of his chances of getting that done.
Mr. Axelrod said that the president’s ban on enhanced interrogation techniques was more important that the release of the C.I.A.’s memos.
“We’re moving past all of that,” Mr. Axelrod said on “Face the Nation.” “And to revisit it again and again and again isn’t, in the president’s view, in the country’s interest.”