Former Vice President Dick Cheney has become an outspoken advocate of the harsh interrogation methods used against suspected terrorists since he has left office, but that is old hat for the former veep who led four of the infamous lawmaker briefings on the techniques, The Washington Post reported today.
He was not listed in the CIA chart that lists the briefings, but sources told The Post he oversaw meetings in 2005 with Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), then-Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and a particularly contentious one with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), according to The Post. At the time, McCain was pushing for an amendment that would have stopped interrogation methods like waterboarding.
The Post said:
“An official who witnessed one of Cheney’s briefing sessions with lawmakers said the vice president’s presence appeared calculated to give additional heft to the CIA’s case for maintaining the program. Cheney left it to the professional briefers to outline the interrogation practices, while he mounted an impassioned defense of the program.”
We previously reported that Rockefeller, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have disputed the accuracy of the CIA chart on the briefings. Pelosi has gone as far as saying that she was misled by the CIA, while Rockefeller and Graham have said they weren’t briefed on the full extent of the harsh interrogation methods.
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Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller recommended federal prosecutor R. Booth Goodwin to President Obama to replace Charles T. Miller as the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of West Virginia, The West Virginia State Journal reported this morning.
He is currently the office’s Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of economic crimes.
“While much of my eight years with the office has been devoted to prosecuting public corruption and substantial fraud cases, I have prosecuted about every sort of case this office handles,” Goodwin wrote in an e-mail to The State Journal. “I’d certainly like the opportunity to continue this office’s focus on prosecuting child exploitation and other violent crime, while continuing to expand our efforts to combat financial crimes and violations of the public’s trust.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Goodwin could be forced to recuse himself from some U.S. District Court cases because his father is U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, The State Journal said.
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Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) are joining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in disputing the accuracy of the interrogation briefings report that was released last week, various media outlets have reported.
Greg Sargent at Plum Line reported on Monday that Graham said he was not briefed on the “particular” techniques used.
A Rockefeller aide emphasized that the West Virginia senator, then-Senate Intelligence ranking member, was not at the CIA meeting listed and was briefed later, Politico blogger Glenn Thrush reported today. The aide went on to say that Rockefeller was never told about specific interrogation methods used.
“Senator Rockefeller has repeatedly stated he was not told critical information that would have cast significant doubt on the program’s legality and effectiveness,” the aide told Thrush. “With more information coming to light in 2004, Senator Rockefeller became increasingly concerned about the program, and in early 2005 he launched a full-scale effort to investigate.”