For more than three years, Steven Bradbury has been the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, the crucial Justice Department office that has the power to issue "advance pardons," as former OLC head Jack Goldsmith put it. But Senate Democrats, because of Bradbury's role in approving the warrantless wiretapping program and enhanced interrogation techniques that include waterboarding, have opposed White House efforts to have him confirmed and remove his acting status.
That hasn't kept him from the job, however. It is, after all, a position that is supposed to require Senate confirmation. While Democrats, especially Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) have held firm, Bradbury has simply acted as the head of OLC. The Dems say that the administration has broken the law to keep him in the spot.
Dems have returned Bradbury's nomination four times, and over and over again, the White House has renominated him, most recently last month. And today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Durbin, the Senate whip, revealed that, in negotiations with the White House late last year before the Christmas holiday, the President refused to strike a deal on nominees unless Reid allowed him to recess appoint Bradbury. Reid said he'd offered to confirm 84 of the pending nominees, but the White House said no dice.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
I guess they figure the cat's out of the bag. Last month, former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, trying to accent the positive, confirmed that the U.S. had used waterboarding, but said they hadn't done it "in years." Today, CIA Director Michael Hayden got more specific in a public Congressional hearing. From Reuters:The CIA on three occasions shortly after the September 11 attacks used a widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday.
"Waterboarding has been used on only three detainees," Hayden told the Senate Intelligence Committee, publicly specifying the number of subjects and naming them for the first time, as Congress considers banning the technique.
Those subjected to waterboarding were al Qaeda suspects Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Hayden said. [The CIA's destroyed torture tapes, remember, documented the interrogations of Zubaydah and Nashiri.]