Remember in July 2007, when President Bush issued an executive order attempting to reconcile the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation program" with the Geneva Conventions’ Common Article 3? As it turns out, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued guidance to the CIA about what that executive order meant they could and couldn’t do to a detainee. And that guidance remains undisclosed, despite last week’s release of the OLC memos that Marcy covered so well. Fresh out from the Washington Independent:
…[T]he order did not define which interrogation techniques it now considered legal. Anonymous Bush administration officials told reporters on the day of the order’s release, “it would be very wrong to assume that the program of the past would move into the future unchanged.” As a result, according to the former senior intelligence official, after Bush issued the order, the CIA again asked the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to review the techniques listed in the revised interrogation program in order to determine their legality, just as the Office of Legal Counsel had done in 2002 and 2005, after previous periods of challenge to the post-9/11 interrogation program.
“The agency repeatedly sought and repeatedly received written assurances from the Department of Justice that its interrogation practices were lawful,” said CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano. “As others have noted, the detention and interrogation program changed over the years as changes arose in the legal landscape. That included the interpretation of Common Article 3. CIA was proactive in requesting guidance and it was proactive in making changes.”
Hannah August, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said the department had no comment on the 2007 memo.
The Washington Independent has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 2007 Office of Legal Counsel document and is awaiting word from the Justice Department about the status of the request.
I don’t have the memo yet. Nor do I know why it wasn’t disclosed last week. I’m working on answers to these questions right now.