BushCo Imitates The Movies: Tenet's Get Out Of Jail Free Card On Torture

In the Jack Ryan (played by Harrison Ford) movie "Clear And Present Danger," the CIA Director of Operations Robert Ritter pulls out a letter of authorization from the White House for an illegal action and exclaims to Jack Ryan:

Ritter: I have an *autographed get-out-of-jail-free card*! "The President of the United States authorizes Deputy Director of the CIA Robert Ritter to conduct 'Operation Reciprocity' including all necessary funding and support. This action is deemed important to the national security of the United States etcetera, etcetera, etcetera." You don't have one of these, do you Jack?

George Tenet asked for and got a get out of jail free card from the Bush White House on torture:

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency's interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.

The stain of the Bush Administration on the honor of our country will be very hard to wash away.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    For the love of God (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by TruthMatters on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 09:48:17 AM EST
    what kind of country based on the Rule of Law, are we if these people aren't punished in some way for their actions.

    the greatest defense why we should not have the GOP in control?

    they break laws and don't even care.

    Is the letter legal? (none / 0) (#7)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:22:41 AM EST
    Does a letter saying that it's OK, make it OK? If you know the act is against the law and you need to have a letter to justify it, I would think that it would still be a crime. In military tribunals, following orders is no defense. The Allies didn't accept that argument from the Nazi's. So what makes this different?

    The difference is (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by eric on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:25:26 AM EST
    that the Nazis had just lost the war and were in our courts.  I'm serious, that is the only difference.

    To the victor goes the spoils! (none / 0) (#9)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:41:12 AM EST
    which is why roberts and alito (none / 0) (#13)
    by sancho on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 01:56:07 PM EST
    were and are so crucial to the current administration.

    What rule of law (none / 0) (#17)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 04:26:23 PM EST
    torture, FISA...and

    Tenet was correct. . . (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 09:51:50 AM EST
    to require the memos, so that the actual authors of this policy had to put their names to it.

    Why now? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by joanneleon on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 11:48:56 AM EST
    Why are these anonymous sources coming forward now?  Or is this a case of WaPo printing a story long after they knew about it?

    Emptywheel has a detailed discussion about this going on right now.  The big question seems to be whether or not Bush signed these memos.

    I'm wondering why this information is being leaked to the press at this point in time.  I'm also wondering about Condi Rice's testimony that makes it seem as if the WH had concerns about the CIA's program, while the WaPo article makes it seem that the CIA had concerns about the program the WH was pushing.

    As recently as last month, the administration had never publicly acknowledged that its policymakers knew about the specific techniques, such as waterboarding, that the agency used against high-ranking terrorism suspects. In her unprecedented account to lawmakers last month, Rice, now secretary of state, portrayed the White House as initially uneasy about a controversial CIA plan for interrogating top al-Qaeda suspects.

    After learning about waterboarding and similar tactics in early 2002, several White House officials questioned whether such harsh measures were "effective and necessary . . . and lawful," Rice said. Her concerns led to an investigation by the Justice Department's criminal division into whether the techniques were legal.
    WaPo link

    If it weren't so horrible, it might even be amusing to watch the most secretive, dishonest and corrupt WH in living memory tangle with the CIA in trying to spin cover up stories and cast blame.

    I have the feeling... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 09:52:47 AM EST
    Bush is gonna get writers cramp from all the get out of jail free cards he'll be writing...he better start sweet-talkin' Obama to get his come Jan.

    Bush has a lot (none / 0) (#4)
    by TomStewart on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:11:53 AM EST
    of pardons to write, including one for himself. He'll be issuing a slew of blanket pardons on his last night in office, and there's not a darn thing anyone can do about it.

    Will the media whip themselves (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by eric on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:19:32 AM EST
    into a frenzy over pardons the way they did in 2000?  I doubt it.

    Sure they will (none / 0) (#16)
    by TomStewart on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 04:13:55 PM EST
    Fox with break it's fingers patting Bushies on the back.

    Totally unacceptable (none / 0) (#5)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:13:32 AM EST
    Just as with yesterday's thread about Plane, this will be another episode that will be swept under the rug. The most disgusting part of this is that we impeached Clinton for denying an affair that was no one's business other than Hilary's. The many crimes of this administration deal with the very fibers of our Democracy and they'll all walk away untouched.

    Democrat's have been totally inept in all of this. The only reason I can see is that they were knee deep in all of them.

    The other reason that I can see (none / 0) (#10)
    by sj on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 11:03:14 AM EST
    is that the warrantless wire tapping bore fruit on more than Spitzer.

    But then the Bush admin has turned me into a conspiracy theorist.  I just know that no low thresh hold is too low for them to go.


    The president wants Jack to take the fall (none / 0) (#11)
    by Saul on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 11:24:42 AM EST
    A little heat at first, then several rounds of the talking circutit and you will be ok and the incident will be forgotten.  You know the old Potomac Two Step.  

    Jack tells the president

    Sorry Mr President,  I don't dance

    So when do we pursue justice folks? (none / 0) (#14)
    by ctrenta on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 03:35:11 PM EST
    How do we get our elected officials to pursue charges against the administration, more specifically those who authorized waterboarding.

    Whatever happened to justice? That's what I want to know. Another impeachable offense and instead Democrats and liberal bloggers quibble over whether Obama can win the next election. Where are our priorities? Why is this not important to pursue?

    That's what I want to know.

    See/hear Glenn Greenwald today? (none / 0) (#15)
    by oldpro on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 03:35:58 PM EST
    RE:  PBS's FRONTLINE program on this subject and the issues surrounding how/why it couldn't be scheduled for broadcast before next Jan 21st!

    There's more, including accusations of interference by Sharon Percy Rockefeller, CEO of PBS affiliate in Washington and wife of, yep, Senator Jay the enabler.

    More coverup.

    Where? Link? (none / 0) (#18)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 04:29:40 PM EST
    Link under Daily Fixes (none / 0) (#19)
    by oldpro on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 07:42:13 PM EST
    in far right column at TL...Glenn Greenwald (at Salon).