With my italics:
We knew that Zubaydah had more information… And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. .. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.
It will be impossible after this for Bush to field the Abu Ghraib defence of a “few bad apples”. The torture was decided on, in literally excruciating detail, at the highest levels of the US government, most probably by Bush personally. The point at which the CIA connects with the Department of Justice is the White House. The legal advice may let the underlings off the hook by the Nuremberg defence, though that’s not certain, but by the same token it implicates the Atttorney General, the Director of the CIA, and the President in the conspiracy.
The investigation and prosecution of a rogue Administration will become a huge law-enforcement problem for a decade, and by Republican default, it’s up to the Democrats. They had better start thinking about it now. The perps are, unless they are so sanguine as to believe their own sea-lawyers like Yoo, which would be stupid.
PS1: Bush went into a lot of unverifiable details about valuable intelligence provided by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in order to set up a moral and political defence of his torture. Since Bush lied about one case we can verify, there’s no compelling reason to believe the rest, or the assertion that
Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland.
Supposing we do believe this, the crucial point is not “the program” (detaining al-Qaeda agents somewhere) but the alleged necessity of torture within it – not the balance of advantage, the necessity. Finally, a moral defence of torture is not a legal one; at best it could motivate a decision not to prosecute the crime.
PS2: Bush also defended Guantanamo by citing Belgian members of an OSCE inspection team. The OSCE is IMHO a make-work organization for surplus diplomats, that has broadened its original mandate in conflict resolution (in places like Macedonia) into fields where it has no expertise, like prisons. Professional prison inspectors like these always insist on speaking to detainees; nor do individual team members make off-the-cuff comments to the press. That’s why they weren’t invited.