The New York Times had a front page article on the legal peregrinations of the Bush Administrations as it seeks safe harbor for its ship of torturers. The next day, the scandal spills out into official Washington, and the stubborn evil denizens at 1600 Pennsylvania trot out for a desultory press conference. There’s the snarling, contemptuous Bush, explaining, “This government does not torture people.”
Away, in countless rooms in millions of houses, the populace reads the stories and sighs and does nothing. Politicians screech, and pundits blather, and the war their generation shouldered with both protest and calm continued its carnage. Slowly, the news media formed a tight narrative around the new scandal: Bush’s Justice Department had found a way to legally, and yet secretly (and only in 2007 America can this occur without oxymoron), legitimate forms of torture too bestial to contemplate — beatings, simulated drownings, freezing men half to death… you know, Bush had growled, interrogation techniques that were “tough, safe, necessary and lawful.”
But no one knew, no one could know, that in the bowels of CIA headquarters at Langley, a group of men and women were safeguarding a group of techniques that were already exposed, and already forgotten, that were carefully cozened, that men were trained in, that were meant to outlast the worst New York Times editorial or Congressional investigation. And if they were referred to, if anyone should have to whisper them, they could use the awful acronym that had referenced them for over fifty years now: DDD.