Rumsfeld and Tenet In It Up to Their Eyeballs

Here we go again. This kind of report–of leading Bush Admin figures deliberately breaking one law or another–is becoming so routine that one wonders if one should even bother commenting on it. It’s like, ‘So what else is new?’ But one feels one should at least try to keep up with their latest criminal acts, if for no other reason so one can get the jokes Jay Leno will tell tonight. So, in that vein of public-spiritedness, here’s the newest in a long line:

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in October ordered a suspected terrorist captured in Iraq to be held in secret, a Pentagon official said Wednesday in what administration officials acknowledged was one of two violations of international law.The unidentified detainee, believed to be a leader of the outlawed Ansar al Islam group, was held without being given a prisoner number, and the International Committee of the Red Cross was not told about him, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

CIA officials captured the man in July and spirited him out of Iraq. He was returned in October after the Justice Department issued a legal opinion stating that the international law embodied in the Geneva Convention forbade removing a prisoner of war from the nation in which he was captured, U.S. and intelligence officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.Tenet then asked Rumsfeld to take the prisoner into U.S. military custody at an undisclosed location, Pentagon spokesman Whitman said. He was kept in solitary confinement, away from other prisoners.

At Tenet’s request, Rumsfeld wrote a memo ordering Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq, not to assign the detainee a serial number and added words to the effect, an unidentified U.S. official said, of “do not acknowledge that we are detaining him to any international organization” — an apparent reference to the Red Cross.

Sanchez, head of Joint Task Force 7, the military command in Baghdad directing the war, complied with Rumsfeld’s order “in violation of international law,” the official added.

I probably should apologize for wasting your time with what is, for these guys, a pretty minor…um, indiscretion? But I thought you ought to know.

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