WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coalition of liberal activists Monday called for the disbarment of two current CIA officials - and a former one - because of their roles in crafting and implementing Bush administration legal policies on detainee interrogations.
The National Disbar Torture Lawyers Coalition filed formal disciplinary complaints with the Washington, D.C., and New York state bar associations against John A. Rizzo, the current acting general counsel at the CIA; Jonathan M. Fredman, a CIA official currently on loan to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Scott W. Muller, the agency's former general counsel, who is now an attorney in the private sector.
The coalition has already filed a dozen similar complaints against former White House and Justice Department officials, including former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who also was attorney general in the Bush administration; and former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay S. Bybee, now a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The complaints accuse the three attorneys of "advocating for immoral and unethical 'extended' or 'enhanced' interrogation techniques (amounting to torture), and other policies that resulted in clear violations of U.S. and international law." They were filed the same week that the CIA is expected to release an internal inspector-general report from 2004 criticizing the interrogation program.
CNN was unable to reach the three lawyers for comment, but CIA spokesman George Little responded, "This, to put it mildly, is something with which we do not agree."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a lawsuit filed by former CIA operative Valerie Plame against onetime Bush administration officials to continue.
The justices offered no explanation for deciding not to hear the case brought by Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.
The two accused then-Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials of leaking Plame's identity to reporters in 2003, endangering her life as covert operative and violating her constitutional rights.
A federal appeals court had dismissed the lawsuit, saying the allegations do not fall under protections provided by the Privacy Act.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he does "not believe" and has "never seen any evidence to confirm (Saddam Hussein) was involved in" the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He strongly defended the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, however, citing Hussein's previous decisions to support and provide "safe harbor" to terrorists.
Cheney, in an appearance at the National Press Club, said he is intent on speaking out in defense of the Bush administration's national security record because "a clear understanding of policies that worked (in protecting the United States) is essential."
Among other things, he called the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center a "good facility ... if you are going to be engaged in a world conflict such as we are in terms of global war on terrorism. You know, if you don't have a place where you can hold these people the only other option is to kill them. And we don't operate that way."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A unit of the White House that was accused of misplacing perhaps millions of office e-mail's does not have to make its records public, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The decision was a victory for the Bush administration, which sought to shield its internal communications.
The three-judge panel here concluded the Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) over disclosure of its documents because "it performs only operational and administrative tasks in support of the President and his staff and therefore, under our precedent, lacks substantial and independent authority."
The latest opinion stems from a ongoing lawsuit by private groups over allegedly missing electronic messages, and allegations the White House failed to properly monitor its internal communications among staff.
The issue has been a thorny legal and political one for former Bush officials, who in the administration's final days in January were transferring more than 300 million e-mail messages and 25,000 boxes of documents to the National Archives.
Those officials acknowledged in court papers they had discovered about 14-million emails that were previously unaccounted for, and hundreds of thousands more that were later recovered on backup tapes.
MADRID, Spain (CNN) – A Spanish judge Thursday ordered an investigation into harsh treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay under the Bush administration on suspicion
that there was "an authorized and systematic plan for torture," according to a court document.
The case involves four former Guantanamo prisoners - a Spaniard, a Moroccan, a Palestinian and a Lebanese - who testified before the judge, Baltasar Garzon, that they had been tortured while held at the U.S. detention camp for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Two of the four were acquitted in Spain of terrorism charges, while similar charges against two others were shelved, according to the 10-page court order from Judge Garzon on Thursday, viewed by CNN.
The judge wrote there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation, based on the testimony from the four, plus news media reports about newly-declassified U.S. government documents.
The declassified U.S. documents, he wrote, revealed "an authorized and systematic plan for torture and harsh treatment of people deprived of their freedom without any charges and without the most basic elemental rights for detainees, set forth and demanded by international treaties."
The alleged plan at Guantanamo and other prisons, including a detention facility at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, "acquire almost an official and therefore generate penal responsibility in the different structures of execution - command, design and authorization of this systematic plan of torture," the judge wrote.