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Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Bush Admin. Prepared for Harsh Interrogation Tactics Before Being Granted Legal Ok

There’s no turning back at this point. While President Obama wanted to brush this aside and move on, the demand for a full-scale investigation of torture seems to be winning out. Expect lots of scandal, but it seems it will be tough to ever file criminal charges against any Bush officials, let alone get a conviction.white-house

By Joby Warrick and Peter Finn
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Intelligence and military officials under the Bush administration began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods — and weeks before the CIA captured its first high-ranking terrorism suspect, Senate investigators have concluded.

Previously secret memos and interviews show CIA and Pentagon officials exploring ways to break Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees in early 2002, up to eight months before Justice Department lawyers approved the use of waterboarding and nine other harsh methods, investigators found.

The findings are contained in a Senate Armed Services Committee report scheduled for release today that also documents multiple warnings — from legal and trained interrogation experts — that the techniques could backfire and might violate U.S. and international law.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Announces New Anti-Trust Leadership (Main Justice)

Fed Air Marshals to Get 30 Day Suspension for Drunk Driving Arrests

Probably not a bad idea to craistock_000001465593xsmallckdown on federal air marshals who violate the law. Makes sense.

By Michael Grabell
ProPublica

Federal air marshals arrested on drunken-driving charges will face a 30-day suspension without pay under a new policy (PDF) from the Transportation Security Administration.

The penalty replaces a policy in which air marshals convicted of drunken driving could be punished with a letter of reprimand, one of the lowest penalties.

The new policy comes after a report by ProPublica found that more than 40 air marshals had been charged with crimes since the agency expanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The report appeared in Nov. 13 editions of USA Today.

Robert Bray, director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, said the tougher penalty is a way to implement “a culture of accountability” in the agency.

“We’ve had pretty strong feedback” from the rank and file, he said. “They feel as professionally and personally embarrassed by these actions as I do, and they want these people dealt with.”

Under the policy, a 30-day suspension is mandatory for any “alcohol-related offense,” a broad category that includes a police report of driving under the influence, refusing a sobriety test, an arrest or a conviction.

The minimum 30-day suspension puts the air marshals in line with other federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. It took effect Friday.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 armed air marshals fly undercover on U.S. flights to protect against possible terrorist attacks. The official number is classified.

At least nine air marshals have been convicted of drunken driving, according to a Transportation Security Administration memo obtained by ProPublica.

A group that lobbies on behalf of federal officers agreed with the change in policy.

“We’re out there to protect the families of the American public — not endanger them with drunk driving,” said Frank Terreri, an air marshal and representative with the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. “We were honestly surprised that it was as lenient as it was.”

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who grilled TSA officials about drunken-driving incidents at a congressional hearing, said that he is encouraged by the stricter penalties but that air marshals convicted of driving drunk should be fired. “Their job is too important to get a conviction for drunken driving,” Poe said.

FBI Adds First Domestic Terror Suspect to its Most Wanted Terrorist List

San Diego/fbi photo

San Diego/fbi photo

Osama bin Laden, move over. Meet animal rights bomber Daniel Andreas San Diego.

 

By Henry K. Lee and Demian Bulwa
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — The FBI added an alleged animal rights bomber from Sonoma County to its list of “Most Wanted” terror suspects Tuesday, underscoring the agency’s increasing focus on such activists by lining him up next to Osama Bin Laden and 22 other Islamic extremists.

Daniel Andreas San Diego, 31, a former resident of tiny Schellville who is believed by authorities to be hiding out in Costa Rica, is the first domestic terror suspect to be added to a list that officials created a month after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

San Diego is accused of detonating pipe bombs in 2003 at a pair of firms, Chiron Corp. in Emeryville and Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton. No one was hurt in the early morning attacks, though the FBI contended Tuesday that San Diego “intended to cause serious injury or death.”

Investigators believe the firms were targeted because they had done business with Huntingdon Life Sciences, a New Jersey laboratory that conducts experiments on animals for clients.

 For Full Story