- Bhutto’s son to lead party. The Financial Times reports that “Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal, a 19 year old student at Oxford University, will succeed the slain opposition leader as chairperson of Pakistan’s largest party.” In the meantime, Bilawal leaves the “running of the party to his father, Asif Ali Zardari, named a co-chairperson, while he finished his studies.” Bilawal adds:
“The chairmanship of the party is a position often occupied by martyrs and we do not know how long my father will be able to keep this position,” he said. “When I return I promise to lead the party as my mother wanted me to.”
- CIA tapes were destroyed to ’save image.’ The New York Times reports that the CIA’s “every action in the prolonged drama of the interrogation videotapes was prompted in part by worry about how its conduct might be perceived — by Congress, by prosecutors, by the American public and by Muslims worldwide.” The Times adds:
By late 2002, interrogators were recycling videotapes, preserving only two days of tapes before recording over them, one C.I.A. officer said. Finally, senior agency officials decided that written summaries of prisoners’ answers would suffice.
Still, that decision left hundreds of hours of videotape of the two Qaeda figures locked in an overseas safe.
Clandestine service officers who had overseen the interrogations began pushing hard to destroy the tapes. But George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, was wary, in part because the agency’s top lawyer, Scott W. Muller, advised against it, current and former officials said.
Yet agency officials decided to float the idea of eliminating the tapes on Capitol Hill, hoping for political cover. In February 2003, Mr. Muller told members of the House and Senate oversight committees about the C.I.A’s interest in destroying the tapes for security reasons.
The tapes recorded a program “so closely guarded that President Bush himself had agreed with intelligence officials’ advice that he not be told the locations of the secret C.I.A. prisons.”
- Navy JAG Andrew Williams Resigns Over Torture. Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Williams, a JAG officer with the U.S. Naval Reserve, recently resigned his commission over the alleged use of torture by the United States and the destruction of video tapes said to contain instances of that torture.
As ThinkProgress reported in December, Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann,
the legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay, repeatedly refused to call the hypothetical waterboarding of an American pilot by the Iranian military torture.
Williams’ resignation follows on the heels of several high profile issues relating to the JAG corps. In 2006, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift was passed over for promotion and forced out of the Navy after he vigorously defended Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver. And just this month, the Bush administration planned to take control of the promotion system for military lawyers, a plan which was dropped due to the uproar it caused in the military and in Congress.