Saturday, January 29, 2005

Another Gonzales?

George W. Bush's new nominee for the Dept. of Homeland Security has been found to have been consulted the CIA on interrogation techniques:

Michael Chertoff, who has been picked by President Bush to be the homeland security secretary, advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the legality of coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, current and former administration officials said this week...

Asked about the interaction between the C.I.A. and Mr. Chertoff, now a federal appeals court judge in Newark, Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, said, "Judge Chertoff did not approve interrogation techniques as head of the criminal division."...

One current and two former senior officials with firsthand knowledge of the interaction between the C.I.A. and the Justice Department said that while the criminal division did not explicitly approve any requests by the agency, it did discuss what conditions could protect agency personnel from prosecution....

...Mr. Chertoff opposed some aggressive procedures outright, the officials said. At one point, they said, he raised serious objections to methods that he concluded would clearly violate the torture law. While the details remain classified, one method that he opposed appeared to violate a ban in the law against using a "threat of imminent death."

The Senate better be aggressive in investigating exactly what Chertoff's currently secret recommendations are. If it turns out that he approved of methods that went too far, methods that any person with common sense would consider torture, then his nomination should be resisted with the same vigor that is being shown in resisting the nomination of Alberto Gonzales.


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