The CIA operates in stealth; it is associated with some of the worst abuses of power in recent American history, including assassinations, coups, and torture; it has military capabilities. Congress needs to be firmly in control of its relationship with such an agency. The Constitution demands no less.
Posts Tagged ‘torture’
We can all agree that historical understandings of the dividing line between war and law enforcement do not fit well the kind of conflicts our nation faces today. But the solution to that quandary should not be to cede all discretion to an Executive that works in the shadows. There are other unaddressed needs at work, among them the imperative to cut the public in on the discussion and the decision-making.
The role of the leakers and the press and bloggers who disseminate what the leakers share is not institutionalized, and there is little or no quality control. But as a result of their actions, things that need to be made public, like torture and illegal wiretaps, often are publicized. The Leakocracy serves as a valuable if not vital safety valve in our society.
So it is far from clear that, even if the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by uniformed military, these would have been war crimes. It is, however, beyond doubt a violation of U.S. and New York State criminal law for civilians to attack skyscrapers with airplanes.
What the Client Wanted To Hear First, so the official story has gone, there were the lawyers, people with names like John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury. Consulted by their clients in the Oval Office, the CIA, the Pentagon and the Vice President’s Office about whether Muslim men could be imprisoned without […]
On Advice of Counsel In discussing whether we should prosecute the people who ordered or committed torture, I’ve been drawing some artificial distinctions for clarity. I’ve contrasted the working torturers, the folks who slammed other folks into walls and poured water over their airways, with the Pentagon and Langley brass who merely ordained […]
Just Following Orders [I]t can never be maintained that a military officer can justify himself for doing an unlawful act, by producing the order of his superior. Chief Justice Taney, Mitchell v. Harmony, 54 U.S. 115, 137 (1851) Last time, we started with the premise that the MPs who abused the detainees […]
“A Few Bad Apples” On October 19, 2003, Specialist Sabrina Harman of the 372nd Military Police Company picked up a Sony Cybershot camera and began taking photographs of life on Tier 1A at Abu Ghraib prison. She documented naked prisoners being stacked like cordwood, prisoners being threatened by attack dogs, hooded prisoners, beaten […]
Decommissioning Guantanamo, releasing or trying its inmates: Not so complicated as it may appear.
Will our next President reverse the dangerous overextension of executive power? Michael Traynor’s talk at the American Law Institute conjures up memories of ancient Rome.