Former Rice aide to testify on interrogations

(Gold9472: Taking this despicable man's word to mean something shows just how corrupt our Government really is. He rewrote the 9/11 Report to be more favorable of Condoleezza Rice. He tried to insert a false link between Al-Qaeda and Iraq into the 9/11 Report that would have ONLY been beneficial to the Bush Administration (an indication of where his loyalties lied). The staffers of the 9/11 Commission did not like him. He shied the 9/11 Commission staffers away from the NSA because "it was just more interesting—sexier—to concentrate on the CIA.” He tried to prevent 9/11 Commissioners from talking directly to 9/11 Commission Staffers. He refused to approve half of the interview requests for "Saudi Connection" investigators, blocked access to a key document about the "Saudi Connection" to those same investigators, and ultimately, fired one of them.He blocked Commissioner access to some of the JICI documents causing Commissinoer Tim Roemer to ask “why is our executive director making secret deals with the Justice Department and the White House? He is supposed to be working for us.” There is also reason to believe he took direction from Karl Rove.

Again, taking this despicable man's word to mean something shows just how corrupt our Government really is.)

By LARRY MARGASAK Associated Press Writer
Posted: 05/12/2009 12:14:08 AM PDT

Democrats are moving swiftly to hold hearings on recently released Bush administration legal opinions backing rough methods to pry information from terrorist detainees. The Obama administration has expressed reservations about public hearings that would look backward.

While Democrats want to highlight the view that the former administration tortured prisoners, their tactic has been overshadowed by a controversy involving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans have challenged her comments that in a briefing six years ago, she was not told the harsh tactics were being used.

Zelikow learned of the then-classified Justice Department legal opinions in May 2005 and wrote a memo a few months later that contended the policies violated the U.S. Constitution.

More importantly, the memo was part of the internal arguments in the Bush administration that pitted the State Department against then-Vice President Dick Cheney and the Justice Department.

At times, Rice actively joined the dissent, a position that evolved from one of support after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Cheney, to this day, contends the interrogations prevented terrorist attacks.

Rice ignited a controversy last month when she told Stanford University students, "If it was authorized by the president it did not violate our obligations under the convention against torture." But in an appearance in Washington afterward, Rice said she really meant "the president (George W. Bush) said, 'I won't authorize anything that is illegal."

Zelikow argued in his 2005 memo that constitutional protections for defendants, and the Constitution's ban against cruel and unusual punishment, were violated by some of the interrogation tactics.

Writing last month for the Internet site of Foreign Policy Magazine, Zelikow said, "In other words, Americans in any town of this country could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest—if the alleged national security justification was compelling."

Zelikow, who served as counselor to Rice at the State Department from February 2005 through January 2007, circulated his 2005 memo within the administration but had no authority on legal matters beyond the power of persuasion. He didn't get far.

"My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views," he wrote. "They did more than that. The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo."

Several members of Congress have asked the Obama administration to search for a copy.

Zelikow, in an interview with The Associated Press, said that he told Rice that he was circulating a dissent.

"I would keep her informed about everything," he said. "I suspect I provided her a copy of the memo. In general, she understood the broad thrust of what we in the State Department were trying to do. She, at her level, was working and finding a way for the president to change the policies."

A former senior State Department official under Rice, who declined to be quoted by name in discussing the internal dispute, said the secretary held regular meetings on detainee issues with her small inner circle. In those meetings, he said, she supported efforts to close the detainee prison at Guantanamo, empty the secret detention sites and accept international standards for treatment of detainees.

In February 2007 Rice's legal adviser, John Bellinger III, wrote his own dissent. He concluded that some of the tactics violated international treaties including the Geneva Conventions prohibiting torture.