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« Interesting Factoid - Reagan's Inauguration Had More TV Viewers | Main | Well, It Looks Like Obama's Overture to Iran Went Swimingly... »

January 22, 2009

Obama Outlaws Legal Interrogation Methods - Or Does He?

President Obama signed a few 'National Security' Executive Orders around noon today, apparently designed to increase the rights of illegal combatants - terrorists - that are trying to kill as many of us as possible. They were all remarkable, but perhaps the most troubling is the order on interrogation techniques for detainees in the War on Terror.

That particular Executive Order, which has not been posted online yet (2:00PM), proclaims that the only interrogation methods to be used on detainees in the War on Terror are those found in the Army Field Manual (pdf file - not sure if available in Arabic...yet). As media reports are already starting to show, that's a bit problematic:

The executive order says everyone in custody should be questioned under the Army Field Manual, which is intended for honorable combatants, meaning POWs in a military conflict. The rule would prevent trained interrogators at the CIA from using lawful interrogation techniques against terrorists who have been trained to withstand Army Field Manual techniques.


So by this particular order, Obama is not outlawing so-called torture of detainees, but preventing the use by our national security apparatus of certain legal interrogation techniques that have kept us safe for the past 7+ years.

But as with anything emanating from first Obama the candidate and now Obama the President, that's not the whole story. In fact, in many ways this Executive Order can be seen as an empty sop to the Left that got him elected. Why do I say that? Because in the same media report, there is this tidbit:

According to sources in the law enforcement community, the executive order on interrogation does not declare "enhanced interrogation techniques" to be torture; the order is silent on that.

"This allows for a lot of flexibility, a lot of wiggle room," said one source.

While the administration has insisted on one interrogation standard, one source says they are thinking about assembling a group within the next 60 days to make recommendations on a set of separate techniques for the intelligence community to use.

White House counsel Greg Craig acknowledged late Wednesday that the administration will have to establish a panel to make recommendations to address intelligence community concerns.


As Jim Geraghty of NRO is fond of saying, "All Barack Obama statements come with an expiration date. All of them."

I guess that's going to include Executive Orders...

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