Top DOJ Lawyers Spoke ‘In Codes’ For Fear Of Being Wiretapped By White House ‘Lunatics’


Think Progress
July 27, 2008

Last night on PBS, Bill Moyers interviewed investigative journalist Jane Mayer and mentioned that in Mayer’s new book, she notes that FBI agents refused to participate in the CIA’s interrogation of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay because they determined it to be “borderline torture.” Moyers then asked, “Who were some of the other conservative heroes, as you call them, in your book?”

Mayer remembered one top Justice Department lawyer and “very conservative member of this administration” who said that after participating in White House meetings authorizing torture, he believed that “lunatics had taken over the country.”

Mayer said two other top DOJ lawyers had to develop a system of speaking codes because they feared they were being wiretapped while others described an “atmosphere of intimidation,” mainly from Vice President Dick Cheney:

MAYER: There was such an atmosphere of intimidation. … They felt so endangered in some ways that, at one point, two of the top lawyers from the Justice Department developed this system of talking in codes to each other because they thought they might be being wiretapped…by their own government. They felt like they might be kind of weirdly in physical danger. They were actually scared to stand up to Vice President Cheney.

Watch it:

Mayer later said that “there is a paper trail” documenting U.S. torture policies “that goes right to the top of our govenment” and that Congress “is beginning to” get to the truth and “piece it together.”

Mayer added that the truth to the White House policies is “a humungous jigsaw puzzle” because “there are many, many secrets we still don’t know. There are legal memos that nobody’s ever seen.”

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