Wolfowitz, an Architect of U.S. Torture Policies, Nominated to Lead World Bank; ACLU Notes Move is Latest to Reward Officials Implicated in Abuse of Detainees

March 18, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – President Bush’s nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to be the new head of the World Bank continues a pattern of rewarding those involved in crafting torture policies with prestigious appointments, the ACLU said Friday.

“As privates and sergeants are getting jail time, top level officials are getting promotions,” said Christopher Anders, an ACLU legislative counsel. “Government documents show the torture at Abu Ghraib wasn’t an isolated incident. The only way to get to the bottom of the issue is if we go straight to the top.”

Documents turned over to the ACLU through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit reveal that the Defense Department used “torture techniques” on detainees at Guantanamo. The documents include e-mails indicating that the FBI raised objections over interrogation techniques that appear to have been authorized by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz.

Wolfowitz isn’t the first individual involved in the torture scandal to continue up the career ladder. Alberto Gonzales, who drafted memorandums on torture and gave legal advice on the matter as White House counsel, is now the attorney general. Michael Chertoff — the force behind the detention of hundreds of Arab, South Asian and Muslim men after 9/11 – become the secretary of Homeland Security. And Jay Bybee, the head of the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel who signed the notorious August 2002 torture memorandum, was given a lifetime post on the influential Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Other senior officials implicated in torture, like Major General Geoffrey Miller and Major General Barbara Fast, were re-assigned to new positions, but never held accountable.

The ACLU, as a matter of long-standing policy, takes no position on nominations. However, no government official who has been implicated in the torture of detainees should be rewarded without careful consideration and scrutiny. Gonzales and Chertoff faced tough questions during their nomination process, and Wolfowitz must as well.

“The Bush administration seems to be more focused on career paths than on holding high level officials accountable for the torture of detainees,” Anders added. “The only way to ensure justice is served is for Attorney General Gonzales to appoint an outside special counsel, someone detached from the scandal, to investigate abuses. Torture is no cause for promotion.”

The ACLU’s letter to Gonzales calling for a special counsel can be read at:

More information on torture documents received by the ACLU is online at:

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