Friday, February 11, 2005

Interrogator's defenders cite Bush

Comment: it has always come down from the top and scapegoating the troops doesn't absolve this administration.

Interrogator's defenders cite Bush
The New York Times
Saturday, February 12, 2005

WASHINGTON An interrogator under contract with the Central Intelligence Agency, charged with beating an Afghan prisoner who died the next day, is basing his defense in part on statements by President George W. Bush and other officials that called for tough action to prevent terrorist attacks and protect American lives.

Documents unsealed in the past week in federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, show that the interrogator, David Passaro, 38, might cite top officials' written legal justifications for harsh interrogation techniques and a Congressional resolution passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon calling on the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force" to thwart further terrorism.

Passaro's lawyers contend in court filings that in passing the legislation under which their client is charged, Congress "cannot have contemplated" the use of the law to "provide grounds for criminal prosecution of a battlefield interrogation of a suspected terrorist linked to constant rocket attacks."

Thomas McNamara, Passaro's lead defense lawyer, has officially notified the government that he will pursue a "public authority defense." Such a defense involves a claim that the defendant believed, even if incorrectly, that he was acting with the authority and approval of the government.

Passaro, a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier from North Carolina, was hired by the CIA in 2003 to capture fighters from the Taliban and Al Qaeda and question them at a base at Asadabad, in northeast Afghanistan.

He was charged in June with four counts of assault, accused of using his hands and feet and a large flashlight to beat a prisoner, Abdul Wali, over two days. Wali, who had turned himself in to the U.S. military after learning he was under suspicion of firing rockets at the base, died in his cell on June 21, 2003. Passaro is not charged in his death.

Interrogator's defenders cite Bush: printer friendly version

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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