Archive for the ‘Department of Justice’ Category

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By Scott Shane, David Johnston and James Risen in Washington

Reports of unacceptable interrogation techniques led to a shake up in policy and staff at the Justice Department in 2004. After Alberto Gonzales’ arrival, the public started hearing things had changed, but new reports claim that things remained the same — or worsened.

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Read the rest of the article at Spiegel Online

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To quote John Edwards:

“Better late than never.”

From The Raw Story:

As Newsweek reports in its August 13 issue, the FBI has used a secret warrant to raid the home of former Justice Department lawyer Thomas M. Tamm, taking three computers and personal files.

The government is searching for the individual who leaked information about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program to the press, prompting a New York Times report in 2005. Mr. Tamm worked for the Justice Department during a period in 2004 when critics of the program included then Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller. Tamm is said to have shared concern, but whether or not he was actively protesting is unknown.

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Excerpts:

The FBI raid on Tamm’s home comes when Gonzales himself is facing criticism for allegedly misleading Congress by denying there had been “serious disagreement” within Justice about the surveillance program. The A.G. last week apologized for “creating confusion,” but Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy said he is weighing asking Justice’s inspector general to review Gonzales’s testimony.

The raid also came while the White House and Congress were battling over expanding NSA wiretapping authority in order to plug purported “surveillance gaps.” James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was “amazing” and shows the administration’s misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel warrants to close the gaps. A Justice spokesman declined to comment.

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Read the entire Newsweek article HERE.