Rumsfeld and Cheney Approved Torture? Who Knew?

I am really, really tired of the corporate media gasping about “revelations” that everyone has known for years. The latest, from ABC News, is titled “Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved ‘Enhanced Interrogation’: Detailed Discussions Were Held About Techniques to Use on Al Qaeda Suspects.”

In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.

The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of “combined” interrogation techniques — using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time — on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these “enhanced interrogation techniques” were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Ohmygod, someone bring me the smelling salts and help me to the fainting couch.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder thinks the ABC News piece is highly relevant because it’s a “hidden secret” (as opposed to an open secret, I guess) that if the Democrats win the White House, they are going to be “very interested in figuring out whether there’s a case to be made that senior Bush Administration officials were guilty of war crimes.” Sounds like kind of a stretch to me. I mean, just because they planned and authorized interrogation techniques that are banned by the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the U.S. Constitution?

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