Washington Markup

Have You No Shame? Torture Memo Author to Testify Against Blocking NDAA Powers in USA

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:39pm

Truly unbelievable. The Senate Judiciary Committee is having a hearing tomorrow morning at 10:00 am EST on problems caused by the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA (we will be living tweeting from @ACLULive). The focus is whether there should be indefinite military detention authority in the United States itself.

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein could invite two witnesses to the hearing and Sen. Charles Grassley, as the ranking Republican, could invite one witness. Sens. Leahy and Feinstein invited two eminent law professors, including one who directs the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and will testify on what the country can learn from the horrible events of the federal government’s internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Sen. Grassley had one slot. He could have searched the country for someone to provide wise advice to the Senate. Who got the one slot? Steven Bradbury, who was the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, and was one of the top legal architects of the torture program.

Yes, the same Steven Bradbury who wrote memos that were essentially manuals on how to get away with torturing and abusing people. The memos have page after page reciting techniques about which the CIA sought advice — including how to slam people against the wall, how many times they could be waterboarded per session (six), how to slap people, and how to douse people with very cold water (up to 20 minutes of soaking with 41 degree water) — and approving those techniques. It is stunning still that no one has been criminally charged for these acts.

Now, this architect of the torture program will advise the Senate tomorrow not to block the use of the NDAA indefinite detention powers in the United States itself. If you are as stunned as we are, let Congress know.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated the hearing started at 10:30 a.m. That was incorrect. The hearing starts at 10 a.m.

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