CIA lawyer says Obama administration backed and continued virtually all Bush-era programs
by: J. D. Heyes
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
As he campaigned for the presidency in 2007 and 2008, then Sen. Barack Obama made clear there would be no torturing of terrorism suspects on his watch, as had been done by the agency with White House and Justice Department approval during the Bush administration in the years following the 9/11 attacks.
And as it turned out, one of the first things Obama did after becoming president was sign an executive order that included a ban on the torture of terror suspects.
That was in 2009, shortly after becoming president. But with the campaign over, now came the bitter reality of actually having to govern. As president, one of the things Obama, the new commander-in-chief, was expected to do was to continue successful prosecution of the so-called Global War On Terror begun Sept. 12, 2001. To do that would require action, not campaign promises. And action meant sticking with what worked.
That’s why, despite public protestations and campaign-like slogans of “change,” Obama used a presidential sleight of hand to disapprove torturing on U.S. soil while granting the CIA authority to continue the practice in countries whose record on human rights abuses was already well-known.
This is why the president, bowing the realities of office rather than the seductive sound bites of a campaign, agreed to allow the continuance of most other Bush-era anti-terrorism CIA tactics that may be distasteful to the well-heeled elite but that are vital to protect the integrity and national security of the world’s most powerful democracy.
In a soon-to-be released PBS Frontline documentary John Rizzo, a top CIA lawyer, says the incoming Obama administration may have tut-tutted the agency’s anti-terrorism tactics on the campaign trail but went on to “endorse” nearly all of them when the time came to take over the reins of power.