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Destruction of Evidence, Obstruction of Justice and Other Just Plain Old Dumb as Dirt Ideas

Ninth in a series

mediumdirt.thumbnail.jpgA little while back the NYTimes had an article just saturated in irony. It seems that when the CIA had that stupendously stupid and morally bankrupt clever idea to minimize the possible exposure of its agents to worries about POSSIBLE criminal prosecution for cruel and unusual punishment related to the torture harsh interrogation techniques used against Al Qaeda suspects, they seem to have DEFINITIVELY put themselves in legal jeopardy for destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice.

Oh, and the icing on the cake: Al Qaeda suspects who have actually been charged with crimes and who might have been convicted after an actual trial — they’re maybe gonna walk because of the destruction of evidence problem.

Read the article. For a lawyer, it’s mind-blowing. The CIA agents had minimal exposure for the torture interrogation techniques because, as I understand it, they refused to use them until they got a legal opinion stating that it was legal. A legal opinion from?

Say it with me folks: John Yoo!


That should have given them (at least within U.S. borders) the same kind of de facto immunity from prosecution that the telcos have whenever they obey a warrant or a properly issued Attorney General’s certification (which is why telcos certainly don’t need retroactive immunity, right?).

Except of course, that the Yoo memos have turned out to be unsupported by actual law and basically out of touch with reality.

But the opinions have not yet been shown to be unusable as a fig leaf, so the reason given for the destruction of the tapes makes no sense. Further–ah delicious, scrumptious irony of ironies–the destruction may have caused some nice slam-dunk criminal exposure. And the magnitude of the possible harm caused by the destruction of that evidence (I mean, sheez! Letting terrorists get off on a technicality YOU CREATED?) might even lead to all kinds of enhancement opportunities for a sentencing judge.

So, did they destroy the tapes because they know that these memos are so bad that they will not trigger the immunity provision of the Detainee Treatment Act?

Ya just can’t make this stuff up.

Did I ever mention that irony is my favorite form of humor?

Dirt photo by The Rocketeer

[Editor’s note: The mid-post photo, by takomabibelot, features a banner created and designed by Firedoglake reader BonnieT of Austin, Texas, where she operates]

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In rugby, the looseheadprop is the player in the front row of the scrum, who has the ability to collapse the scrum, pretty much at will and without the referee knowing who did it.
While this can give the LHP's team a great tactical advantage, it also exposes scrum players from both teams to the dangers of catastrophic spinal cord injury.
Consequently, playing this position makes you understand your responsibility to put doing the right thing ahead of winning, and to think beyond your own wants and desires. It also makes you very law and order oriented.