Sept. 4, 2009 (Billings Gazette) -- A fierce debate will long continue to swirl around former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson's long-delayed 2004 report (sprung by an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit) about at least some of the "enhanced" CIA interrogations. He now says some were apparently designed "solely because they were degrading" (his statement printed in the Aug. 24 Washington Post).
The Helgerson report was released despite strenuous objections by CIA Director Leon Panetta.
We now know (The New York Times, August 26) that the CIA's "secret interrogation program operated under strict rules ... managers, doctors and lawyers not only set the program's parameters but dictated every facet of a detainee's daily routine, monitoring interrogations on an hour-by-hour basis."
Bush-Cheney torture policy
If we are to believe this proud declaration by the CIA, it reveals how fastidiously the Bush-Cheney administration executed its policy of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" forbidden by the international Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Conventions (both of which we signed), our own torture laws and the Supreme Court's 2006 Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision.
Should you doubt our torture policy existed, see actual official government documents (including autopsy reports of suspects killed during interrogation) in "Administration of Torture": A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond" (Columbia University Press, 2007) by the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh.
What is the CIA hiding? Keep in mind that of the 109 pages on the widely discussed CIA inspector general report, 36 pages were completely blacked out, and 30 more were largely blacked out (ABC News, Aug. 25). Moreover, ABC's Brian Ross and Matthew Cole alarmingly disclose: