Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
No comments
   
OpEdNews Op Eds

former intelligence and national security officials Speak out on Mukasey Nomination

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 5 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Become a Fan
  (134 fans)

opednews.com

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

    Twenty-four former intelligence and national security officials delivered an urgent message yesterday morning to the chairman and the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling on them to hold the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for attorney general until he states his opinion on the legality of waterboarding. 

    Their message strongly endorsed the view of former judge advocates general that waterboarding “is inhumane, is torture, is illegal.”  The intelligence veterans added that it is also a notoriously unreliable way to acquire accurate information. 

    They noted that the factors cited by the president and Mukasey as obstacles to his giving an opinion on waterboarding can be easily solved by briefing Mukasey on waterboarding and on C.I.A. interrogation methods. 

    The former intelligence officials pointed out that during their careers they frequently had to walk the thin line between morality and expediency, all the while doing their best to abide by the values the majority of Americans have held in common over the years. They appealed to Senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter to rise to the occasion and discharge their responsibility to defend those same values.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

  •  
    •  
      •  
        •  
          •  

                    November 5, 2007 
               

MEMORANDUM FOR: Chairman and Ranking Member

  •  
    •  

              Senate Committee on the Judiciary 

FROM:   Former U.S. Intelligence Officers 

SUBJECT:   Nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General 

Dear Senators Leahy and Specter,

      Values that are extremely important to us as former intelligence officers are at stake in your committee’s confirmation deliberations on Judge Michael Mukasey.  With hundreds of years of service in sensitive national security activities behind us, we are deeply concerned that your committee may move his nomination to the full Senate without insisting that Mukasey declare himself on whether he believes the practice of waterboarding is legal. 

      We feel this more acutely than most others, for in our careers we have frequently had to navigate the delicate balance between morality and expediency, all the while doing our best to abide by the values the vast majority of Americans hold in common.  We therefore believe we have a particular moral obligation to speak out.  We can say it no better than four retired judge advocates general (two admirals and two generals) who wrote you over the weekend, saying:  “Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.”     

      Judge Mukasey’s refusal to comment on waterboarding, on grounds that it would be “irresponsible” to provide “an uninformed legal opinion based on hypothetical facts and circumstances,” raises serious questions.  There is nothing hypothetical or secret about the fact that waterboarding was used by U.S. intelligence officers as an interrogation technique before the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004.  But after Alberto Gonzales became attorney general in February 2005, Justice reportedly issued a secret memo authorizing harsh physical and psychological tactics, including waterboarding, which were approved for use in combination.  A presidential executive order of July 20, 2007 authorized “enhanced interrogation techniques” that had been banned for use by the U.S. Army.  Although the White House announced that the order provides “clear rules” to govern treatment of detainees, the rules are classified, so defense attorneys, judges, juries—and even nominee Mukasey—can be prevented from viewing them. 

      Those are some of the “facts and circumstances.”  They are not hypothetical; and there are simple ways for Judge Mukasey to become informed, which we propose below.  

      Last Thursday, President George W. Bush told reporters it was unfair to ask Mukasey about interrogation techniques about which he had not been briefed.  “He doesn’t know whether we use that technique [waterboarding] or not,” the president said.  Judge Mukasey wrote much the same in his October 30 letter, explaining that he was unable to give an opinion on the legality of waterboarding because he doesn't know whether it is being used:  “I have not been made aware of the details of any interrogation program to the extent that any such program may be classified and thus do not know what techniques may be involved in any such program.”  Whether or not the practice is currently in use by U.S. intelligence, it should in fact be easy for him to respond.  All he need do is find out what waterboarding is and then decide whether he considers it legal.  

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What's Hayden Hidin'?

Asylum for Julian Assange -- Former Awardee for Integrity

Petraeus Cons Obama on Afghan War

Obama Stands Up to Israel, Tamps Down Iran War Threats

Mullen Wary of Israeli Attack on Iran

Note to Nancy Pelosi: Colin Powell Got Snookered at CIA, too

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments