October 15, 2008

OT: Do You Feel Safer? [8:10 am]

I know that I don’t. And the arguments about Kissinger and Vietnam-era war crimes are going to seem like nothing compared to the storm that this is going to raise. Although I’m sure that there will be those who say that McCain will be glad that tonight’s debate is on domestic issues, the simple fact is that the Administration got enough support from enough folks in Congress that it’s going to be hard for either candidate to get out from under this revelation.

Surprising that (a) Tenet was smart enough to ask for written confirmation and (b) the Administration was arrogant enough to give it to him: CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos (pdf)

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.

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