Yesterday, I wrote about Dick Cheney’s claim on Fox News Sunday that he does not object to those CIA employees who went beyond legal authorizations during interrogations. Today, I am still wading through the hundreds of pages of once-classified documents that were released last week. And I was struck by this passage, in a December 30, 2004 memo by the Daniel Levin, who worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, during a discussion of federal criminal law against torture.
There is no exception under the statute permitting torture to be used for a “good reason.” Thus, a defendant’s motive (to protect national security, for example) is not relevant to the question whether he has acted with a requisite specific intent under the statute.
If you want to join in the reading, the batch of documents in question is available here.