December 13, 2007
TURNED ON BY FICKLE POLITICIANS:
For six years, Central Intelligence Agency officers have worried that someday the tide of post-Sept. 11 opinion would turn, and their harsh treatment of prisoners from Al Qaeda would be subjected to hostile scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution.
Now that day may have arrived, after years of shifting legal advice, searing criticism from rights groups — and no new terrorist attacks on American soil.
The Justice Department, which in 2002 gave the C.I.A. legal approval for waterboarding and other tough interrogation methods, is reviewing whether agency officials broke the law by destroying videotapes of those very methods.
The Congressional intelligence committees, whose leaders in 2002 gave at least tacit approval for the tough tactics, have voted in conference to ban all coercive techniques, and they have announced investigations of the destruction of the videotapes and the methods they documented.
“Exactly what they feared is what’s happening,” Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, said of the C.I.A. officials he advised in that job. “The winds change, and the recriminations begin.”
Or as they said in Animal House, "You f*cked up. You trusted us."
UPDATE: Attorney Fritz Schranck emails:
Seeing your Animal House reference in this post brought a smile.
In discussions with my clients and others, I often refer to this pivotal moment in film history, and call it either The Flounder Rule or The Flounder Principle, in honor of the original recipient of this comment.
It's a highly useful explanation for a lot of stuff in life in general and government life in particular.