Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies at 90
JD Johannes on the Iranian border

Justice Department not in charge of CIA interrogation techniques

There is quite a lot of hyperventilation going on today about some testimony from one of the Justice Department lawyers Jay Bybee who wrote the so-called "torture memos". Apparently some  of the techniques the CIA used were not included in these memos, and the left is claiming that the Justice Dept. didn't "authorize" these techniques. First of all the term torture is garbage, none of the techniques used, including the dreaded waterboarding, are torture. Secondly the Justice Department is not the "authorizing" authority for what the CIA does when interrogating prisoners. What they did in the memos in question was to offer their legal opinion as to whether or not the techniques were legal under US law and treaties we have signed. Just because particular techniques were not included in these memos does not mean they were unauthorized, it means Justice hadn't weighed in as to whether they would stand up if challenged in court.

The actual authorizing authority would be the CIA itself and the President as its boss. If they decide to use particular methods then those methods are authorized. Going to the Justice Department is only part of the ass-covering process in case (as happened) these tactics become public. Even in his testimony Bybee is not saying that these techniques would have violated our laws and been considered torture, he is saying that they simply weren't covered in the memos in question.

Judge Jay S. Bybee, said the Central Intelligence Agency never sought approval for some practices detainees later said had been used on them, including dousing them with cold water to keep them awake and forcing them to wear diapers or soil themselves.

Since those memos said that waterboarding was OK, and most of these fall well short of that, the CIA simply didn't ask for an opinion on these. They could logically have assumed that since they had "authority" to waterboard that playing loud music was going to be a non-issue. Well not according to our torturologists on the perpetually-outraged left. They keep hoping for that smoking gun where W just said "Torture 'em all". Sorry folks, this ain't it.