Bush approved CIA torture program

The Bush administration explicitly endorsed the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods against al Qaeda suspects in a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The previously undisclosed classified memos were requested by then CIA Director George Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, the newspaper reported, citing administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents.

A White House spokesman had no comment on the report.

According the newspaper, intelligence officials sought cover from the White House because they were worried about a possible backlash if details of the interrogation program became public.

Justice Department lawyers signed off on the agency’s interrogation methods beginning in 2002, but senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing, the Post reported.

Repeated requests by the CIA chief for a paper trail reflected growing worries within the agency that the administration might later distance itself from decisions about the handling of captured al Qaeda leaders, the Post said, citing former intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The officials told the newspaper Tenet first pressed the White House for written approval in June 2003 during a meeting with members of the National Security Council.

A few days later, Tenet received a brief memo conveying the administration’s approval for the CIA’s interrogation methods, the officials were cited as saying.

Tenet made a second request for written approval in June 2004, after the public outcry over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the Post said.

Administration officials confirmed the existence of the memos, but neither they nor former intelligence officers would describe the still classified documents in detail, the newspaper reported.


  1. Direct Democracy

    The blame game is how criminals are caught and punished.

    Look back.

    Place blame.



  2. adamrussell

    I disagree. Obama needs do nothing more than stop our executive branch from stonewalling. When requests for information are no longer being blocked then the truth can be known.

  3. adamrussell

    Right now both the dems and the world know that without some cooperation from the ones that hold the confidentiality strings there is no chance of a real trial. When Obama takes over there may be a chance of justice.

  4. colocritic

    As we all know, the problems the new president, and I’m sure it will be Obama as it looks now, will be so great that these criminal matters of the Bush/Cheney group will have to be put on the back burner for a time, at least. Maybe Kucinich and Wexler will take up the reigns again and get it moving. Let’s hope so.

    However, do they want to get bogged down in something like this in the first few months of a new administration when the Iraq war and the economy will be front and center? Obama has said he is going to review the signing statements and see, if any of them are illegal, and if so, do something about those.

    I can’t wait for the door to hit them all on the way out on Jan 20, 2009! Just think, we may never have to see or listen to W again!!! What a good thought.


  5. tiovince

    One thing we do need to be thankful for, is that Joe Biden said that he would pursue criminal charges against Bush/Cheney even after they left office…But, here in the real world, it’s just a dream for all of us. We’ll hear the usual, “It’s best for the country to let bygones be bygones”. I’d expect Bush and Cheney in jail about as much as I’d expect to see myself with a winning lottery ticket!! I don’t know who has the nude pics of Nancy Pelosi…but I hope they keep them hidden!!! LOL