Just spotted in the Washington Post, Document On Prison Tactics Disavowed :
In a highly unusual repudiation of its department's own work, a senior Justice official and two other high-ranking lawyers said that all legal advice rendered by the department's Office of Legal Counsel on the subject of interrogations will be reviewed.
Guess that means those old legal opinions are inoperative now. It's about time. (Don't suppose Judge Bybee will be asked to resign do you? Nah.)
It's unclear from the Post article whether the royalist theory of Presidential power, endorsed by Bush himself, is also being disavowed, but I'd say it going to remain part of Administration doctrine or they wouldn't have released a memo Bush signed approving of it.
Gonzales … refused to comment on techniques used by the CIA, beyond saying that they “are lawful and do not constitute torture.” He also would not discuss the president's involvement in the deliberations.
A separate Post article notes that,
In December 2002, as Pentagon officials were trying to get detainees to offer more useful information about al Qaeda, Rumsfeld approved a variety of techniques, such as stripping prisoners to humiliate them, using dogs to scare them and employing stress positions to wear them down, the documents show. The tactics also included using light and sound assaults, shaving facial and head hair and taking away religious items.
Pentagon officials say most of the techniques were never used, and a Pentagon working group recommended that Rumsfeld roll back these methods. In a memo to the defense secretary in March 2003, the group wrote: “When assessing exceptional interrogation techniques, consideration should be given to the possible adverse affects on U.S. Armed Forces culture and self-image, which at times in the past may have suffered due to perceived law of war violations.”
A third Post article, which sounds awfully like White House talking points, suggests that liability concerns about the Torture Act, and especially the fear that anything less than a Presidential permission slip might open the door to prosecutions, drove Ashcroft to urge Bush to allow more violence than State or military lawyers wanted. Why Ashcroft didn't trust the troops to obey the law, and wasn't willing to see the bad apples tried, is not made clear in this recitation of talking points.
Are we really expected to believe the Iraq atrocities, and the Administration climate which circumstantially appears to have enabled it, was caused by….an absence of tort reform?
(Actually, on reflection, that's unfair: the legal action would have been criminal prosecution, not civil. So it was a real fear of US Attorneys?)