Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Front page of the WaPost today, above the fold, Ashcroft Refuses to Release Memo.

This strikes me as completely untenable. What possible basis could there be for keeping this memo secret? It's a document prepared by a government lawyer directing government policy. In this article, Ashcroft doesn't even provide any justification for keeping the memo secret. He just trots out the "confidential advice" canard, which has a chance to work when it's not known whether a crime was committed, but is not going to fly in a case where we know there are several people who have been tortured to death. The President is not allowed to get confidential advice about how to have people tortured to death. This is not essential to the survival of the Republic. Even the Supremes aren't that craven.

My thinking is, Ashcroft is the weak link here. He's the Colonel Jessup in this story, desperately yearning to tell the world that he ordered the Code Red. Perhaps more on that in my next article (not the one coming out tomorrow, but the next one after that - you know, the one I haven't written yet.)

BTW, this is one of my favorite non-denial denials of all time:

"I want to confirm that the president has not directed or ordered any conduct that would violate any one of those enactments of the United States Congress or that would violate the provisions of any of the treaties as they have been entered into by the United States."

This sounds pretty unequivocal, right? Ashcroft is insulting your intelligence here. He thinks you don't know how to read, how to digest the totality of a situation. The allegation is that the memo advised the President on how to allow the use of de facto torture without running afoul of the law. So, if the President did indeed act on this advice and instruct the Pentagon and/or military intelligence to use these tactics, the entire point of the secret memo is that Justice believes the tactics approved were narrowly legal.

So Ashcroft is in fact CONFIRMING our suspicions about the memo in an attempt to deny them.

Anyway, like I said, tomorrow morning on DU, my article on the Tenet resignation. The title of the piece can also be read as my one-line Obituary for the Gipper, which is the last I'll have to say on the subject, at least until the fall.

Check it tomorrow.

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