Obama to Prohibit “Harsh Interrogations” … With Exception for “Appropriate Detainees”
As Ace has been saying, it comes with an expiration date. President Obama will sign Executive Orders calling for the closing of Guantanamo within a year (which Dave talked about below), closing CIA detention facilities around the world, and restricting CIA interrogation tactics to those listed in the Army Field Manual.
But the orders would leave unresolved complex questions surrounding the closing of the Guantánamo prison, including whether, where and how many of the detainees are to be prosecuted. They could also allow Mr. Obama to reinstate the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation operations in the future, by presidential order, as some have argued would be appropriate if Osama bin Laden or another top-level leader of Al Qaeda were captured.
The new White House counsel, Gregory B. Craig, briefed lawmakers about some elements of the orders on Wednesday evening. A Congressional official who attended the session said Mr. Craig acknowledged concerns from intelligence officials that new restrictions on C.I.A. methods might be unwise and indicated that the White House might be open to allowing the use of methods other the 19 techniques allowed for the military.
So, a fig leaf, and an implicit acknowledgment that President Bush was right. The CIA hasn’t waterboarded anyone since 2003, but they wanted the option if it became necessary. Obama just agreed.