Mashed Potato Bulletin: Bush Tried, Failed To Destroy Torture Memo

From the Daily Scoop of Mashed Potato Bulletin, we learn about a memo from Philip Zelikow, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which advised State and the president against “enhanced interrogation techniques” (torture) in 2006. Apparently, Bush attempted to round up and destroy all copies of the memo, but one survived in the State Department, and was obtained by the National Security Archive (not a government agency; rather, an institution of journalists and scholars at GWU) in response to a FOIA request. Please read mpbulletin’s post and then National Security Archive’s article for details.

The crux of the first memo of five, declassified only this week, is described in this paragraph from National Security Archive on Apr. 3:

The memo released today, labeled “draft,” concludes that because they violate the Constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishment,” the CIA techniques of “waterboarding, walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement” were “the techniques least likely to be sustained” by the courts. Zelikow also wrote that “corrective techniques, such as slaps” were the “most likely to be sustained.” The last sentence of the memo reads: “[C]ontrol conditions, such as nudity, sleep deprivation, and liquid diets, may also be sustainable, depending on the circumstances and details of how these techniques are used.”

Great. So Condi had staff counsel who thought the OLC opinions on “enhanced” techniques might be beyond the pale. And so they were. And still, no one from that administration has been prosecuted, and Obama seems disinclined even to pursue such matters. Your government, advocating torture, in secret, brought to you at long last by the FOIA.


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