The Guilty Men

Last week fleshed out some more detail on the Bush administration's torture regime. The third Yoo memo was so egregious even Yoo is finding excuses. The pattern of evidence is now strongly suggesting that the legal "fixing" that made illegal torture suddenly legal followed already-made executive decisions to deploy torture and non-Geneva interrogation as the lead tactic in the war on Islamist terrorism. We also discover more evidence of how high up the interest in these interrogations went:

On September 25, as the process of elaborating new interrogation techniques reached a critical point, a delegation of the administration’s most senior lawyers arrived at Guantánamo. The group included the president’s lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, who had by then received the Yoo-Bybee Memo; Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, who had contributed to the writing of that memo; the C.I.A.’s John Rizzo, who had asked for a Justice Department sign-off on individual techniques, including waterboarding, and received the second (and still secret) Yoo-Bybee Memo; and Jim Haynes, Rumsfeld’s counsel. They were all well aware of al-Qahtani. “They wanted to know what we were doing to get to this guy,” Dunlavey told me, “and Addington was interested in how we were managing it.” I asked what they had to say. “They brought ideas with them which had been given from sources in D.C.,” Dunlavey said. “They came down to observe and talk.” Throughout this whole period, Dunlavey went on, Rumsfeld was “directly and regularly involved.”

Beaver confirmed the account of the visit. Addington talked a great deal, and it was obvious to her that he was a “very powerful man” and “definitely the guy in charge,” with a booming voice and confident style. Gonzales was quiet. Haynes, a friend and protégé of Addington’s, seemed especially interested in the military commissions, which were to decide the fate of individual detainees. They met with the intelligence people and talked about new interrogation methods. They also witnessed some interrogations. Beaver spent time with the group.

Talking about the episode even long afterward made her visibly anxious. Her hand tapped and she moved restlessly in her chair. She recalled the message they had received from the visitors: Do “whatever needed to be done.” That was a green light from the very topthe lawyers for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the C.I.A. The administration’s version of eventsthat it became involved in the Guantánamo interrogations only in November, after receiving a list of techniques out of the blue from the “aggressive major general”was demonstrably false.

When Rumsfeld professed "shock" at the techniques revealed at Abu Ghraib, he was expressing "shock" at interrogation techniques he had already personally examined and approved for use at Gitmo. He was expressing shock after having personally directed one of the architects of the torture regime at Gitmo, Geoffrey Miller, to go to Abu Ghraib to 'Gitmoize" it. He was lying.