May 6th, 2011

Holder and terrorism interrogations: a few more details…

…you may not have been aware of before. I certainly wasn’t.

Writing in today’s WSJ, former US Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey says:

In April 2009, the administration made public the previously classified Justice Department memoranda analyzing the harsh techniques, thereby disclosing them to our enemies and assuring that they could never be used effectively again. Meanwhile, the administration announced its intentions to replace the CIA interrogation program with one administered by the FBI. In December 2009, Omar Faruq Abdulmutallab was caught in an airplane over Detroit trying to detonate a bomb concealed in his underwear. He was warned after apprehension of his Miranda rights, and it was later disclosed that no one had yet gotten around to implementing the new program.

Yet the Justice Department, revealing its priorities, had gotten around to reopening investigations into the conduct of a half-dozen CIA employees alleged to have used undue force against suspected terrorists. I say “reopening” advisedly because those investigations had all been formally closed by the end of 2007, with detailed memoranda prepared by career Justice Department prosecutors explaining why no charges were warranted. Attorney General Eric Holder conceded that he had ordered the investigations reopened in September 2009 without reading those memoranda. The investigations have now dragged on for years with prosecutors chasing allegations down rabbit holes, with the CIA along with the rest of the intelligence community left demoralized.

It’s one thing to oppose waterboarding as an interrogation technique. It’s another to do this sort of thing.

18 Responses to “Holder and terrorism interrogations: a few more details…”

  1. Tesh Says:

    Holder has made it very clear that he’s not interested in upholding existing law. This is no surprise.

    …but it still stinks.

  2. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I saw a report that a 9/11 family member met Obama at the Ground Zero ceremony the other day and asked him if he would intercede with Holder to stop those investigations. As the report had it, he said something short to the effect that he would not, turned his back, and walked away.

  3. Curtis Says:

    I don’t see why the enemy’s knowledge of waterboarding would prevent its effectiveness. But that’s an aside; more interesting is the variability in the policy.

    How can it be okay to kill someone without a trial but not okay to hold that same person without habeas corpus?

  4. Curtis Says:

    A man who would bring sense and sanity: Bolton

    Dear God, please!

  5. expat Says:

    Isn’t it about time for Holder to go under the bus?

  6. Curtis Says:

    Every little pacifist rabbit before it condemns enhanced interrogation ought to be taken to a Muslim country and forced to live there for a couple of years. In fact, France or England would do.

  7. Parker Says:


    The French have come to loath their N. Africa immigrants, and are much less PC than you may think. The French are all about France and the preservation of their distinct culture. I say this with some certainty because we have 3 close friends in France that we visit every other year. They are from 3 distinct areas (Paris, Poitou Charentes, and Auvergne), so although a small sampling, and all of varying political persuasions (socialist, arch conservative, and libertarian), they all tell us they want the same thing: muslims deported back to Arabia.

    Paris, le jour de la Bastille est un delice. Vive la France.

  8. Curtis Says:

    Yoo and Wax!

    The are debating the torture memo’s today. Should be worth a read tomorrow although I don’t give the Oregonian much hope in presenting Yoo’s side.

  9. Parker Says:

    “How can it be okay to kill someone without a trial but not okay to hold that same person without habeas corpus?”

    Stop being rational and become hyper-partisan and hypocritical and you’ll understand.

  10. Curtis Says:

    Thank you Parker and thank God for that!

    I have read Dalrymple’s account of the conclaves of Muslims in Paris and by all accounts the French have quite a problem.


    there are now an estimated 8 or 9 million people of North and West African origin in France, twice the number in 1975—and at least 5 million of them are Muslims. Demographic projections (though projections are not predictions) suggest that their descendants will number 35 million before this century is out, more than a third of the likely total population of France.

    Indisputably, however, France has handled the resultant situation in the worst possible way. . . it has flattered the repellent and worthless culture that they have developed;

    No one should underestimate the danger that this failure poses, not only for France but also for the world.

  11. Curtis Says:

    Ooops! Try this link for Dalyrmple.

    That other link is worth reading to see how a “legal analyst” of the left elevates the law it likes. (Our law is better than yours, so there.)

  12. Curtis Says:

    Give Mr. Yoo a hearty congrats!


  13. Parker Says:


    The French are, well, French. They can be exasperating at times, but admirable nonetheless. They know their nation lost its status as a world power in WW2. Yet although they are no longer a first rate world power, they wish to remain distinctly French. Never underestimate their will to do so. I like Sarkozy. He had the gaul (pardon the pun) to push through the outlawing of the burka in public. Can you imagine that happening in the USA or the UK?

  14. Curtis Says:

    And definitely their culture is not Islam!

    On another note, I see Obama visited my unit: the 101st Airborne. I can tell you that although all troops were expected to conduct themselves with professionalism, there was lots of rolling eyeballs and cursing, sotto voce.

  15. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Those who demand that the U.S. follow the letter of our law when prosecuting a war against a non-state enemy who depends on our sense of honor and doing the right thing to help them prosecute their war have no concept of what we are up against.

    What they are doing is, IMO, the same as insisting that a boxing match be conducted with one fighter going with one arm tied behind his back and adhering strictly to the Marquis of Queensberry rules while the other fighter follows no rules as he uses any means to not only beat his opponent but to kill him. Our legalists either do not conceive of this as an existential struggle or they are suicidal. Maybe a bit of both.

    The debate about enhanced interrogation hinges on the definition of terror. For our legalists they seem to think anything that makes the prisoner uncomfortable or stressed for more than a few minutes is torture. My definition of torture is any technique that causes permanent physical injury to the prisoner. It seems to me that is pretty much what Yoo had in mind when he wrote the opinons about enhanced interrogation. Waterboarding is terrifying but it doesn’t do permanent injury and it is effective. Most of our military air crew have experienced it and other enhanced techniques during their SERE training. We can do it to our military people for training purposes but not use it on our enemies. This is, like so much else, a complete contradiction of values and thinking by the left.

    It is true that our society is based on respect for the law. It has served us well because it provides a sense of fairness and good order to our dealings with one another. However, we are dealing with a foe who recognizes no rules, no laws, and is intent on wiping us out. Bush said in some of his speeches that this was not a normal war and it could not be prosecuted in the normal manner. IMO. he was spot on. Trying to apply our standards of laws and honor to medieval barbarians is the same mistake the Romans made. We will either use every means available to defend ourselves or we will lose.

  16. Parker Says:

    “Those who demand that the U.S. follow the letter of our law when prosecuting a war against a non-state enemy who depends on our sense of honor and doing the right thing to help them prosecute their war have no concept of what we are up against.”

    As you probably well know, they have no protection under the rules (Geneva Convention) of war. They are the equivalent of spies or saboteurs. They do not wear the uniform of the military of a recognized nation and have no rights beyond the rights possessed by a rabid raccoon. We have the obligation to execute them at the moment of capture or imprison them for as long as we deem appropriate.

    “Trying to apply our standards of laws and honor to medieval barbarians…. We will either use every means available to defend ourselves or we will lose.”

    I quibble over the use of the term medieval; the jihad loons are pre-medieval.

  17. Rich Says:

    Sounds like a turf war to me. Holder has no authority over the CIA, but he does over the FBI. It’s in his interest to rein in the former and expand the latter.

  18. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Many are decrying the raid in Pakistan as an illegal violation of their sovereignty. But according to a law professor, Ashley Deeks, at Columbia that isn’t correct.

    She says, “Non-state actors, including terrorist groups, regularly launch attacks against states, often from external bases. When a state seeks to respond with force to those attacks, it must decide whether to use force on the territory of another state with which it may not be in conflict. Absent consent from the territorial state or authorization from the United Nations Security Council, international law traditionally requires the state that suffered the armed attack to assess whether the territorial state is “unwilling or unable” to unilaterally suppress the threat.”

    Go here to read the whole thing:

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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