Hayden And Tortured Reasoning

“I’m sure [Hayden] does believe it was in compliance with the law, but I think the law he’s talking about is the law of Syria, not the law of the United States. The law of the United States forbids torture; it is a federal crime under a virtually unanimous law passed by Congress back over a decade ago. But what the administration did is they hired in 2002 a bunch of legal sycophants who basically wrote secret memos that said the President can do whatever he wants – that that is the law. So I’m sure General Hayden believes that that is compliance with the law because the President can’t defy the law when he gets to make what the law is. That isn’t, sadly, what the law actually is … [and] the idea that this was done to protect identities is laughable.”

~~ Neal Katyal, professor of constitutional law, Georgetown University [on Olbermann’s show tonight]

There were plenty of signs that Hayden was going to have trouble with the “law” before he became CIA chief. For instance, let’s recall his exasperated misunderstanding of the fourth amendment back in January of ’06.

See Emptywheel’s fascinating analysis of Senator Whitehouse’s speech today. Excerpt from the Senator’s speech:

“In a nutshell, these three Bush administration legal propositions boil down to this:

  1. I don’t have to follow my own rules, and I don’t have to tell you when I’m breaking them.
  2. I get to determine what my own powers are.
  3. The Department of Justice doesn’t tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is.

When the Congress of the United States is willing to roll over for an unprincipled President, this is where you end up. We should not even be having this discussion. But here we are. I implore my colleagues: reject these feverish legal theories. I understand political loyalty, trust me, I do. But let us also be loyal to this great institution we serve in the legislative branch of our government. Let us also be loyal to the Constitution we took an oath to defend, from enemies foreign and domestic. And let us be loyal to the American people who live each day under our Constitution’s principles and protections.”

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