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Cheney’s argument for not releasing innocent detainees: ‘They’ll all get lawyers.’

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"Cheney’s argument for not releasing innocent detainees: ‘They’ll all get lawyers.’"

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In his New York Times review of Jane Mayer’s new book, The Dark Side, Alan Brinkley describes how by the end of 2005, torture advocates within the Bush administration were fighting to continue their extreme detainee program “because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed.” In one White House meeting described by Mayer, Vice President Dick Cheney argued against releasing innocent detainees because “they’ll all get lawyers“:

By the end of 2005, those defending the regime of torture were no longer seeking primarily to protect the search for valuable intelligence. They were fighting for its survival, in the face of considerable evidence of the failure of SERE and other programs, because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed. Even releasing detainees whom they knew to be entirely innocent was dangerous, since once released they could talk. “People will ask where they’ve been and ‘What have you been doing with them?’” Cheney said in a White House meeting. “They’ll all get lawyers.”

(HT: Noam Scheiber)

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