On September 6, 2006, in front of a somber East Room audience composed in part of family memberrs of the victims of September 11, 2001, Bush delivered an extraordinary, thirty-seven-minute address. Standing in front of a cluster of American flags, flanked by Cheney, Gonzalez and Michael Hayden, who by then was Director of the CIA, and framed by a bust of Lincoln, who had established that "military necessity shall not permit of cruelty," Bush admitted for the first time that America had been holding secret prisoners for years, without charges and outside the reach of authorities, and subjecting them to "an alternative set of procedures." He announced that he had emptied the black sites and transferred these suspects to Guantánamo Bay.
As he went on, however, Bush defended the program as "one of the most vital tools in our war against terror," insisting that everything about the program had been legal. The President noted that he could not reveal exactly what the government had done to the prisoners, because it would "help the terrorists." But he assured the world that his administration's calibrated program of torment was highly effective. He rattled off the details of several cases . . . [but] never mentioned the name of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose fabrications under torture had helped sell the war in Iraq.
Copyright 2008 by Jane Mayer. All Rights Reserved