ABC:Former VP Dick Cheney Admits Advocating Waterboarding Torture
On Feb 14, in an exclusive interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News' This Week, former VP Dick Cheney proclaimed his love of torture, derided the Obama administration for outlawing the practice, and admitted that the Bush administration ordered Justice Department attorneys to fix the law around his policies.
The most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al-Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA, ...The high-level discussions about these ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed – down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.
I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Cheney told Karl. "I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques.
The former Vice-President's declaration closely follows admissions he made in December 2008, when he said he personally authorized the torture of 33 suspected terrorist detainees and approved the waterboarding of three so-called “high-value” prisoners.“I signed off on it; others did, as well, too.”
In an Cheney's interview with Karl Dec 15 2008 he made a similar comment, which Karl also allowed to go unchallenged, stating that the Bush administration "had the Justice Department issue the requisite opinions in order to know where the bright lines were that you could not cross."
Cheney's Admissions Destroys Bush's Defense
For years, Cheney and other Bush administration officials pinned their defense on the fact that they had received legal advice from Justice Department lawyers that the brutal interrogations of “war on terror” detainees did not constitute torture or violate other laws of war.
Cheney's statements, however, would suggest that the lawyers were colluding with administration officials in setting policy, rather than providing objective legal analysis.
Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined that DOJ attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee blurred the lines between providing independent legal advice and policy advocacy, thus violating professional standards.
In a 2006 Indiana Law Journal article, Dawn Johnsen said,
For OLC instead to distort its legal analysis to support preferred policy outcomes undermines the rule of law and our democratic system of government. Perhaps most essential to avoiding a culture in which OLC becomes merely an advocate of the Administration's policy preferences is transparency in the specific legal interpretations that inform executive action.”
In a 2007 UCLA Law Review article, Johnsen said Yoo’s Aug. 1, 2002, torture memo is “unmistakably” an “advocacy piece.”
The Torture Opinion relentlessly seeks to circumvent all legal limits on the CIA’s ability to engage in torture, and it simply ignores arguments to the contrary. The Opinion fails, for example, to cite highly relevant precedent, regulations, and even constitutional provisions, and it misuses sources upon which it does rely. Yoo remains almost alone in continuing to assert that the Torture Opinion was ‘entirely accurate’ and not outcome driven."