Rice may have admitted to conspiracy, former Nixon counsel sayshttp://rawstory.com/08/blog/2009/05/01/john-dean-rice-may-have-admitted-to-conspiracy/
By David Edwards and John Byrne
Published: May 1, 2009
Updated 4 hours ago
In little-noticed comments Thursday, the former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon John Dean said Thursday that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may have unwittingly admitted to a criminal conspiracy when questioned about torture by a group of student videographers at Stanford.
Rice told students at Stanford that she didn’t authorize torture, she merely forwarded the authorization for it. Dean, who became a poster child for whistleblowing after aiding the prosecution of the Watergate affair, told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that Rice may have admitted to a criminal conspiracy.
In a video that surfaced Thursday, Rice said, “The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligation, legal obligations under the convention against torture… I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency. And so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.” (Video of Rice’s comments appears at the bottom of this article.)
Her comments raised eyebrows from online observers, who compared Rice’s answer to that of Richard Nixon’s infamous quip: “When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”
Dean said he found Rice’s comments “surprising” and put her in a legal mire of possible conspiracy.
“She tried to say she didn’t authorize anything, then proceeded to say she did pass orders along to the CIA to engage in torture if it was legal by the standard of the Department of Justice,” Dean said. “This really puts her right in the middle of a common plan, as it’s known in international law, or a conspiracy, as it’s known in American law, and this indeed is a crime. If it indeed happened the way we think it did happen.”
Asked if the comparison between her comments and Nixon’s were fair, Dean said it was “fuzzy.”
“She was obviously trying to extricate herself and keep herself in a safe distance, that she was only operating under some general guidance of the president making things legal,” he said. “So it’s not clear whether this is a full-throated Nixonian-type defense or whether it’s a lot of confusion of the facts and throwing things up there to try to protect herself.”
“These kinds of statements are going to come back and be interesting to any investigator,” he added.Olbermann asked Dean whether Obama was violating the Geneva Conventions prohibiting torture himself by refusing to prosecute those responsible.
“He is indeed is in violation if the United States does not undertake investigation of this, or ultimately prosecution, if that’s necessary,” Dean asserted. “It’s not only the Geneva Convention, the Convention Against Torture also requires this. There are no exceptions with torture. There are no real things like “torture light.” The world community I think is going to hold the United States responsible, and if we don’t proceed, somebody is going to proceed.”