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Obama to Release Secret Interrogation Memos (updated)

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:26 AM
Original message
Obama to Release Secret Interrogation Memos (updated)
Edited on Thu Apr-16-09 11:42 AM by ProSense

BREAKING: Obama to Release Secret Interrogation Memos

by ye ye ye

It turns out that President Obama has decided to release the memos, which will include the CIA torture memos of 2005 and 2006.

After a tense internal debate, the Obama administration this afternoon will make public a number of detailed memos describing the harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency against al Qaeda suspects in secret overseas prisons.

Perhaps HOW MUCH information is released without redactions is the next step to judge, but the news that memos will be released is certainly a positive sign.

It's no secret that there was lots of internal debates and arguments.

Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, has pressed the White House for weeks to redact sensitive details about specific interrogation techniques. He argued that revealing such information would pave the way for future disclosures of intelligence sources and methods, and would jeopardize the C.I.A.s relationship with foreign intelligence services.

It's possible that having these memos released is a way to satisfy the left without going into full-blown investigations of former Bush administration officials.

Other Obama administration officials, including Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, argued that releasing the documents not only would satisfy the governments obligation in the lawsuit, but would also put distance between President Obama and some of his predecessors most controversial policies.

The fact that they are being released sends a signal that Obama wants a clean break from the last 8 years. Perhaps one of the more interesting memos to be released is the following one regarding the entire legal justification for torture:

Another document expected to be released this afternoon is a Justice Department memo written August 1, 2002. The memo, written by John C. Yoo and signed by Jay S. Bybee, two Justice Department officials at the time, is a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.

Let's see what comes out, but I think it's safe to say that this is a win for civil liberties. Personally, I would be dishonest if I said I wasn't concerned about how this affects the WH's relationship with the intelligence community. Whether you agree with torture or not, we can all agree that intelligence gathering is one of the most important national security processes we have in the US.

There needs to be TRUST between the President, the CIA, and foreign intelligence services. Let's hope that this doesn't put a wedge between the President and those working for him who provide him with the sensitive details that allow him to make informed decisions on how to protect our country.

NYT Link here


Updated to add this:

Today is the court-imposed deadline for the memos to be released, and there has been an intense battle between the CIA--populated by far too many holdovers from the Bush administration--and Justice over what, and how much, should be released. This report doesn't say what, if anything, will be redacted from the memos, though it seems to indicate that they will be fully released. It looks like Justice won out, in more than one way.




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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
1. If they've been redacted, they really haven't been released
Let's see where this goes...
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. "Let's see where this goes..." Redacted or not they are being released. The question is
Edited on Thu Apr-16-09 11:31 AM by ProSense
how heavily they'll be redacted. As the OP points out:

Perhaps HOW MUCH information is released without redactions is the next step to judge, but the news that memos will be released is certainly a positive sign.


Certainly if they are redacted to the point of being useless, there will be further pressure to release more details.

This is a start. How good a start is not yet known.

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WeDidIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. There may be no choice but to redact certain portions
We'll know for certain, though, if those redactions were made to protect national security or to protect people's asses by looking at what is released entirely within context.

Suffice it to say, we should have some pretty specific information regarding what was approved regardless of any redaction for national security reasons.
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Duly noted
:hi:
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. Greenwald's going to have a conniption.
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seaglass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. No, Glenn will be thrilled if the memos are released today without redaction.
Clearly you don't read him or you'd know that.
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JayMusgrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
3. WOW..........all I can say right now. n/t
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
4. WOW!
Another document expected to be released this afternoon is a Justice Department memo written August 1, 2002. The memo, written by John C. Yoo and signed by Jay S. Bybee, two Justice Department officials at the time, is a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.


:wow:
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
6. Excellent news!
I am not surprised they are doing this. As in most things, if one is going to get it right, time is needed to ensure it is done right as opposed to fast, imo.
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lyonn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
7. Wasn't the CIA dissed by Bush's personal security bunch?
Can't remember the name of bush's group that stove piped intel to the pres. and Cheney. The CIA couldn't be too happy while bush was in office. They also probably don't like being accused of evil doing due to Yoo's legal advice on how to interrogate detainees. Sounds like the CIA got caught between a rock and a hard place. Some even quit. Sooo, this could be interesting. Good post, keep us posted......
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Mist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Wasn't there a Pentagon intel group, formed by Cheney, and run by Wolfowitz, that fed "desired"
intel to the WH?
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Office of Special Plans n/t
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AndyA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
9. I would think Obama has less to be concerned about regarding trust
between the President and the CIA, etc. After all, the former administration outed a covert CIA agent while that agent was working on very sensitive intelligence. And by doing so, put everyone at the CIA at risk of exposure.

So, pretty much anything short of that will be an improvement.

It will be interesting to see what is redacted in the released documents.
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sammythecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
11. so far so good n/t
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empyreanisles Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
14. There is an Ex-CIA guy on MSNBC now, saying that if the memos are released ,,,
Edited on Thu Apr-16-09 12:23 PM by empyreanisles
in their entirety, they would damage national security. His argument is that enemies would then realize what the limits of US interrogation techniques were, and thus be more successful in resisting them.

A valid point, I think.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Aren't the limits clear?
No torture!


If that line isn't crossed, there shouldn't be a problem. Now some would argue that the definition of torture isn't clear, but what's to stop them from successfully "resisting" (whatever that means) known methods of torture now?

I think that's a BS argument.

No torture.

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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. It's a LEGAL document not a CIA document. NOT a valid point.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/16/olc_m... /

These memos were not prepared by the CIA or the Pentagon. To the contrary: they were written by DOJ lawyers -- specifically, OLC chief Steven Bradbury and then-OLC Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee. They are not "intelligence reports" from the field. They are, by definition -- by their very nature -- nothing more than decrees about what is and is not legal: i.e., they are pure legal documents that state what the Executive Branch's view of the law is with regard to interrogation tactics. OLC is not an intelligence agency. It is a legal agency.

...

This renders blatantly frivolous the Bush-mimicking excuse that will almost certainly be offered in the event of substantial redactions today (and which anonymous Obama officials previewed yesterday in the WSJ): namely, that non-disclosure is compelled by the Safety of the American People. Aside from the fact that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" which these memos authorized are supposedly barred from use by President Obama's own Executive Order -- thus rendering any national security claims for concealment of "operational details" absurd on their face -- how can it be the case that legal opinions about what is and is not legal in the view of the Government should be kept secret? To justify the non-disclosure of these memos is to affirm the right of the U.S. Government to operate under secret laws -- about the most anti-democratic state of affairs imaginable.
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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
17. This sounds great. Will need to check in with the ACLU and make sure they are not so redacted that
they are worthless.

But assuming that is NOT the case (which is what I will assume for now) this is a big win after what sounds like a grueling internal battle!

I'm glad the administration did the right thing, because there was absolutely no room to do otherwise!
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
19. Exactly as I hoped for and expected. n/t
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-16-09 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
20. We're about to see a record-setting pace of trans-Atlantic communication ...
... as the Spanish authorities obtain copies for prosecutorial purposes. Good.

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