A Sign Of A Shifting Climate

What does it tell you that the NYT suddenly manages to find sources telling us that Condi Rice came around to strongly resisting and opposing the torture program once John Bellinger did some - drum roll, please - research on the efficacy and history of torture in other democracies? I think it tells you that Rice's non-coercive interrogation by Stanford students had an impact. Bellinger, in particular, seems to be trying to walk back his own role significantly. But this is, at least, a fascinating nugget:

The proclamation that President George W. Bush issued on June 26, 2003, to mark the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture seemed innocuous, one of dozens of high-minded statements published and duly ignored each year. The United States is “committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example,” Mr. Bush declared, vowing to prosecute torture and to prevent “other cruel and unusual punishment.”But inside the Central Intelligence Agency, the statement set off alarms. The agency’s top lawyer, Scott W. Muller, called the White House to complain.

Then there's the pushback from Porter Goss, as emptywheel explains:

It's also rather nice, don't you think, that Goss doesn't mention his role in not preventing the destruction of the torture tapes right in the middle of the debate on the McCain amendment? I guess that--like Condi's "by definition" statement--isn't relevant to this story. Yet it suggests a number of other possible motives behind Goss' refusal to continue torturing--particularly as Congress continued to look more closely at the CIA's torture program. Of course, if Goss admitted that, then it would ruin his whole narrative about how Congress never complained, wouldn't it? But perhaps he's moving on from that narrative to one that claims that "Dick made me do it."

If you read between the lines some more, Steven Bradbury is sweating. Or should be.