16 April 2013 - An independent task force issued a damning review of Bush-era interrogation practices on Tuesday, saying the highest U.S. officials bore ultimate responsibility for the "indisputable" use of torture, and it urged President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo detention camp by the end of 2014.
In one of the most comprehensive studies of U.S. treatment of terrorism suspects, the panel concluded that never before had there been "the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody."
"It is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture," the 11-member task force, assembled by the nonpartisan Constitution Project think tank, said in their 577-page report.
After a two-year investigation, bipartisan legal research and advocacy group the Constitution Project released a report confirming that the United States engaged in torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jeffrey Brown talks to two of the report authors, former congressman James Jones and retired Army Brig. Gen. David Irvine. Transcript>>>
Watch Report Finds Proof That U.S. Tortured Detainees After 9/11 on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
A cut from the above discussion and transcript, highlighting a point of spin in trying to justify the bushco damaging ideology:
JEFFREY BROWN: David Irvine, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told the AP when the report came out that this report is -- quote -- "completely divorced from reality." The procedures were, in his words, "lawyered and lawyered again and lawyered again."
DAVID IRVINE: I think if anyone takes time to read the report, they will be overwhelmed by the volume of episodes where representatives of our government, our military brutally, brutally tortured many, many people, not just people who were among the worst of the worst, as they had been characterized, but often people who were guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The claim that this was lawyered to death is an interesting claim, because we have had years and years and decades of experience successfully interrogating prisoners in tactical and strategic interrogations. We have never had to rely on this kind of approach to get the information that we needed to get to protect the country.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, speaking of the information -- well, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
JAMES JONES: Well, I was just going to say the lawyering part is one of the criticisms we have.
In past wars, they say that the generals ran the war. The lawyers ran this war to a great extent. And the way -- by suspending the Geneva Conventions, which we have adhered to for years, by violating the Convention Against Torture, which President Reagan himself proposed and the Congress passed, and the lawyers tinkering with that in such a way that they didn't replace it with anything, and so the chain of command, the procedures that would have been in place were basically obliterated because of lawyering.