Senate panel to hold torture hearings

A subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the so-called "torture memos," the first public hearing on the legal memoranda since the administration made them public.

According to a committee press release, the hearing, slated for next Wednesday, will focus on the "legal analysis used to authorize harsh interrogation techniques, the ineffectiveness of those techniques, and the standards governing lawyers' professional conduct applicable to those who authorized the procedures."

The only two witnesses announced so far are Ali Soufan, a former FBI interrogator, and Phillip Zelikow, Counselor to the State Department in the Bush administration and Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission.

Both Soufan and Zelikow have been critical of the Bush administration's interrogation techniques. Soufan recently published a NY Times op-ed criticizing the techniques authorized in the memos and claiming that Abu Zubaydah, whom Soufan himself interrogated, had co-operated before waterboarding was used.

Zelikow criticized the memos in a recent Foreign Policy piece:
The underlying absurdity of the administration's position can be summarized this way. Once you get to a substantive compliance analysis for "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" you get the position that the substantive standard is the same as it is in analogous U.S. constitutional law. So the OLC must argue, in effect, that the methods and the conditions of confinement in the CIA program could constitutionally be inflicted on American citizens in a county jail.