If last week's Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on torture represented a watershed of disclosure, today's long-awaited testimony from David Addington and John Yoo reached the opposite extreme. Coerced into testifying under oath after years of resistance and obstruction, both controversial torture advocates labored tirelessly to tell a House panel as little as possible.
Between David Addington failing to submit testimony, and John Yoo forgetting his words, not a whole lot was cleared up by the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay.
But on the bright side Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), did manage to clarify a very important question. Just what branch of government is the Vice President in?
Crooks and Liars
David Addington today offered a preposterous reason for refusing to answer a question about whether or not he was party to talks about torture with his superiors — al-Qaeda may be watching CSPAN and he can’t give away any information that may benefit them. Really.
It seems like both of them are being evasive but for completely different reasons. Addington ought to be held in contempt of Congress for just plain contemptuousness. As Scott Horton noted on Pacifica's coverage, he clearly believes himself to be smarter than all the Representatives in the room, and he has no problem bullying them around the way he reportedly bullies everyone in the executive branch. He also doesn't mind lying about his role in designing torture tactics after a personal trip to Guantanamo. He essentially said, according to Horton, that the world is very dangerous and the threat is not yet over, implying that Congress had better back down with all the questioning and recognize that absolutely anything can be done in the name of protecting the country...
Now Yoo, on the other hand, seems afraid for his life and livelihood. He is trying not to answer any question too fully, is stretching out every answer to run out the clock on the questioners, is debating the meaning of words like "implemented," and is consulting with two lawyers on practically every question. He's trying to explain away the Convention Against Torture and generally throw up enough mud to resist any real answer. He's constantly citing Justice Department guidelines that restrict his testimony, too. Over and over he makes the claim that he was simply a lawyer providing legal advice. Of course, at the Nuremberg trials the precedent was set that lawyers whose advice was used to commit war crimes are culpable in those activities. If the policy is to go to the very limit, and the lawyer sets the limit, then he is creating the policy. Yoo can't wiggle off the hook... at least in an international court of law. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 gave some debatable measure of immunity to most of this crowd for their crimes.
Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Chris Dodd have managed to delay the FISA Amendments Act until after the July 4th recess.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced measures to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, said Thursday that oil executives who secretly met with the vice president in 2001 should be held criminally liable for pushing an illegal war.
The smearing of Lara Logan