Today, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed Brian Benczkowski to serve as his chief of staff. TPMMuckracker reminds readers that Benczkowski served as one of the Justice Department’s torture apologists, arguing that if torture is conducted to prevent an attack “rather than for the purpose of humiliation,” it doesn’t violate the Geneva Conventions’ ban on “outrages upon personal dignity” and thus is likely acceptable:
“The fact that an act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliation or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act,” said Brian A. Benczkowski, a deputy assistant attorney general, in the letter, which had not previously been made public. […]
In one letter written Sept. 27, 2007, Mr. Benczkowski argued that “to rise to the level of an outrage” and thus be prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, conduct “must be so deplorable that the reasonable observer would recognize it as something that should be universally condemned.”
Last month, Mukasey declared that people who perpetrated torture “cannot and should not be prosecuted” or even investigated.