“Behind the Executive Orders” by Jane Mayer
January 25, 2009, 1:00am
On Thursday, President Barack Obama consigned to history the worst excesses of the Bush Administration’s “war on terror.” One of the four executive orders that Obama signed effectively cancelled seven years of controversial Justice Department legal opinions authorizing methods of treating terror suspects so brutal that even a top Bush Administration official overseeing prosecutions at Guantánamo, Susan Crawford, recently admitted that they amounted to torture. According to some of those opinions, many of which remain classified, President Bush could authorize U.S. officials to capture, interrogate, and indefinitely imprison terror suspects all around the globe, outside of any legal process.
From The New Yorker