A proposed script for the vice president's chief of staff.

The law, lawyers, and the court.
June 24 2008 12:56 PM

20 Questions for David Addington

A proposed script for the vice president's chief of staff.

(Continued from Page 2)

Q. What precipitated your visit to Guantanamo Bay in September 2002, accompanied by Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes, and others? Did you discuss specific interrogation techniques? A participant in some of your meetings, Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, the staff judge advocate at Guantanamo, told author Philippe Sands that the message she took from you as visitors was to do "whatever needed to be done." Was that the message you intended to deliver?

Q. Former Office of Legal Counsel head Jack Goldsmith writes in his book that when he presented his view that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which describes protections that cover civilians in war zones like Iraq, also covered insurgents and  terrorists,  you became livid. "The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections," you replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. "You cannot question his decision." Does that accurately reflect your views at the time—and your temperament?

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Q. How many meetings did you participate in with CIA officials during which there was discussion about videotapes of CIA interrogation of terror suspects? Did you indicate in any way to the CIA that destroying these tapes would be acceptable or even preferable? Did you do so based on instructions from the vice president? Do you think destroying them was the right thing to do?

Q. Were you involved in any way with the signing statement President Bush appended to the 2006 emergency supplemental? The president said he would construe provisions of that bill outlawing the torture of detainees "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President … of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks." What did the president mean by that? Did he mean he didn't intend to heed the anti-torture provisions?

Finally, to put Addington's answers in some context:

Q. What is your response to those like former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora, who says that these tactics, by inspiring opposition and alienating our allies, were hugely costly to our country on a national-security basis?

Q. What is your response to those like retired two-star Gen. Anthony Taguba, who recently wrote: "After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Q. What is your response to those like Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, who have long argued "that the Office of the Vice President bears responsibility for creating an environment conducive to the acts of torture and murder committed by U.S. forces in the war on terror"?

Dan Froomkin writes the daily "White House Watch" column on washingtonpost.com and is deputy editor of the Nieman Watchdog Project.