The gang's all here
We don't have to wonder who should be on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity:
In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency ...
The high-level discussions about these "
enhanced interrogation techniques" tortures were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.
The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by most of the principals or their deputies. [My editing from Orwellian to plain English in the first paragraph - Nell.]
What a surprise to see that Colin Powell took part, after all the exertions of Larry Wilkerson and other loyalists to paint him as out of the loop and shocked, shocked...
Wondering who was the source for this story?
Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions. He agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details of interrogations, sources said.
According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly."
Update: 10 April, 3:00 pm - Emptywheel has a different and very plausible possibility for the source, and corrects my misunderstanding of who would have been Powell's deputy at Principals meetings. She helpfully lists all the deputies.
Update: 20 April, 3:30 pm - Cogent further post and comments at Emptywheel on the question of sourcing. Most persuasive to me are cases for Robert Mueller (FBI Director) and David Ayres, Ashcroft's chief of staff.