Three Things

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1. The CIA may have started treating Al Qaeda detainees with torture techniques months before receiving (highly questionable and since retracted) legal approval from the Justice Department. Salon’s Mark Benjamin has this dispatch from today’s hearing on the House Judiciary Committee.

“Did you offer legal approval of interrogation methods used at that time … prior to August 2002?”
“I have no recollection of doing that at all,” [Former Attorney General John] Ashcroft responded. He added that he did not remember anyone else at the Justice Department doing so either. He said later in the hearing that [Al Qaeda operative Abu] Zubaydah’s interrogation “was done without the opinion that was issued on the first of August.”

2. China may not be facing a widespread Olympic boycott for its human rights abuses, and complicity in arming the Sudanese genocide, but that doesn’t mean the China gets a pass. Nicholas Kristof weighs in today in the New York Times:

According to United Nations data, 88 percent of Sudan’s imported small arms come from China — and those Chinese sales of small arms increased 137-fold between 2001 and 2006. China has also sold military aircraft to Sudan, and the BBC reported this week that two Chinese-made A-5 Fantan fighter aircraft were spotted on a Darfur runway last month. The BBC also said that China is training Sudanese military pilots in Sudan.

3. Obama’s protective pool gets its scoop: Three trips to the gym in a single day. (Or does he do VP interviews at the bench press?)