News Release

· Torture · Executive Privilege


Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, Cole wrote in the recent piece “Bush’s Torture Ban is Full of Loopholes”: “[A]n executive order that categorically bans torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is a significant step in the right direction. … But how much of a step the administration has really taken remains a serious question. The actual tactics the CIA is authorized to use remain classified, based on the bogus claim that agency interrogators need to keep detainees guessing about how far they can go in order to interrogate effectively. … While the executive order flatly forbids torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, its failure to specify permissible and impermissible techniques seems designed to leave the CIA wiggle room.”

Cole added: “The executive order’s most revealing words come at the end. Its final section states that the order creates no rights enforceable by any victim against the United States or its employees, while expressly offering CIA employees a defense against any attempt to hold them liable for abuse. The ultimate purpose of the law, in other words, is to protect the potential perpetrators, not the potential victims.”

Cole is author of several books on civil liberties including Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism.
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Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of the book Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and just wrote the piece “Showdown Looming Over Executive Privilege.”
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Author of the book Executive Privilege: Presidential Power, Secrecy and Accountability, Rozell just wrote the Legal Times piece “It’s an Executive Privilege: A battling president and Congress should remember why we compromise.” The article is available online.
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan at (541) 484-9167.