"The harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the CIA"

When the Justice Department "publicly declared torture 'abhorrent' in a legal opinion in December 2004," they weren't, it turns out, being serious. They were being ironic—because, as the New York Times reports today, soon after Gonzo's arrival as Attorney General in Feb. 2005, "the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency."

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on "combined effects" over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion's overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be "ashamed" when the world eventually learned of it.
It might have been nice if Comey had made some public objections, but okay, never mind that. When do we start impeachment proceedings?

Yeah, yeah—I know. But we should. Dammit, at this point, the only way to show this nation does not condone the despicable actions of this administration is to start impeachment proceedings. Even if they fail. We should. It's the right goddamned thing to do.

Over at his place, Mustang Bobby also notes: "And if all that James Comey could come up with was that they would be 'ashamed' when the news came out, even he—the knight in shining armor whose midnight ride to the hospital bed of John Ashcroft saved us from even more warrantless wiretapping—has some pretty low standards when it comes to the public reaction. If that's all he can muster, we truly have become a nation that seems to be immune to the kinds of things that used to horrify us; that used to separate us from the nations we held up as the enemies of freedom and democracy." Amen, brother.

Also see: Hilzoy, Digby, Steve Benen, Drum, Oliver Willis, Jeralyn, and Athenae.

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