For the first time, the CIA has admitted that two critical government memos ordering torture from the president and the Justice Department do indeed exist. They insist they will not be released to the public. Money quote:

The ACLU describes the first as a "directive" signed by Bush governing CIA interrogation methods or allowing the agency to set up detention facilities outside the United States. McPherson describes it as a "memorandum." In September, Bush confirmed the existence of secret CIA prisons and transferred 14 remaining terrorism suspects from them to Guantanamo Bay.

The second document is an August 2002 legal memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to the CIA general counsel. The ACLU describes it as "specifying interrogation methods that the CIA may use against top al-Qaeda members." (This document is separate from another widely publicized Justice memo, also issued in August 2002, that narrowed the definition of torture. The Justice Department has since rescinded the latter.)

When Bush officials are eventually prosecuted for war crimes, these documents will be critical in proving the direct link from the White House to the torture cell. I see no reason, except for political protection, that the public should not see them. The Senate should subpoena them.

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