A Washington Times editorial asserted that "[j]ust as a few MPs at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq acted disgracefully ... there may be legal wrongs and/or morally questionable acts that interrogation personnel conducted at Gitmo or other sites." But in suggesting that responsibility for detainee abuse at those detention facilities was limited to "a few MPs" at Abu Ghraib and "interrogation personnel" at Guantánamo, the Times ignored the conclusions of a Senate Armed Services Committee report that found: "The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees."
Reporting on Defense Secretary Robert Gates' role in "reviewing the current conditions" at Guantánamo "to make sure they're legal and follow the Geneva Convention," the Politico asserted that it "seems doubtful" Gates "will suddenly find conditions that were just fine on Monday of this week are now flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention," suggesting that Gates disagrees with President Barack Obama's order to close Guantánamo. In fact, Gates has repeatedly stated -- both publicly and reportedly to senior Bush administration officials -- that the facilities should be closed.
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Fox News' John Gibson and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough each asserted that if President Obama abandons Bush administration policies and procedures "which kept us safe for the last seven, eight years," in Gibson's words, Obama will bear responsibility for any future act of terrorism. However, neither mentioned evidence that President Bush's policies did not eliminate the terrorist threat to America and that some Bush policy decisions, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, may, in fact, have aggravated the threat.
The Associated Press falsely stated, "The Pentagon recently reported that 61 former prisoners at Guantanamo have returned to the fight against the U.S. and its allies." Similarly, on CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips asserted, "New Pentagon figures actually say 61 released detainees have been linked to some kind of terror activity." In fact, the Pentagon's figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but not confirmed as, having, in the AP's words, "returned to the fight."
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A USA Today editorial discussing former President Bush's departure from office claimed that Bush "eschewed controversial pardons," which it called "a refreshing contrast" to former President Clinton's departure. In fact, Bush's pardon for New York developer Isaac Toussie, announced December 23, was withdrawn after it was revealed that Toussie's family contributed more than $37,000 to Republicans.
A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that, in a recently released decision, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review affirmed the legality of the Bush administration's "warrantless wiretapping program" that "was exposed in 2005." In fact, the decision applies only to surveillance conducted pursuant to a 2007 congressional statute and does not say anything about the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program exposed in 2005.
The Wall Street Journal reported, "Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the [Justice] department produced legal opinions that have been attacked by some members of Congress and civil libertarians for allowing harsh interrogation tactics." In fact, critics of the Justice Department's interrogation opinions also include Jack Goldsmith, who served as the head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel under Bush.
Commuting Scooter Libby's sentence wasn't enough for Journal columnist Daniel Henninger. He wants a full, last-minute pardon for Libby who was convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valarie Plame. Libby never had serve his jail time (thanks to Bush) and Libby has never expressed remorse for his crimes.
Lots of conservatives were angry when Libby got convicted in court. What's rather odd is that conservatives like Henninger, who howled pretty much nonstop during the Clinton years about the absolute reverence for the rule of law (and don't even get them started on the topic of perjury) suddenly have no use for the jury system in America. Pundits like Henninger just don't like the Libby verdict and think it ought to be nullified by Bush.
Heres' Henninger flaunting his disdain for the rule of law:
Nominally the legal case was about the wheels of a prosecution in motion. Indeed by its end the details of the case against Mr. Libby had burned down to a travesty. But make no mistake. The effort that went into keeping the Plame affair alive was about discrediting the war effort in Iraq and the Bush antiterror program.
i.e. Being found guilty by a jury of your peers now qualifies as a "travesty."
Nope, no double standard here folks.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, discussing a Washington Post article reporting Bush administration official Susan Crawford's conclusion that Guantánamo detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani was tortured, Pat Buchanan suggested that specific techniques used on Qahtani were not torture, ignoring the reason Crawford gave for reaching her conclusion. As Mika Brzezinski noted, Crawford said her conclusion that Qahtani was tortured was based not on "any one particular act," but on "a combination of things" Crawford called "abusive," "uncalled for," and "coercive."
ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News and uncritically aired President Bush's statement that "Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment," without noting that a 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report found that the abuse there "was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own" and that Donald Rumsfeld's "authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody."
Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade falsely suggested that only "people at the U.N." want to close Guantánamo, while co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson, as well as Glenn Beck, used TV drama 24 as a justification for the use of torture. In fact, Sen. John McCain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and five former secretaries of state are among those who have said that Guantánamo should be closed.