Bush Scandals List

318. William Haynes the Pentagon’s torture lawyer

On February 25, 2008, William Haynes announced his resignation effective the following month. Haynes had been the Pentagon’s chief civilian legal officer, its General Counsel, since May 24, 2001. During this time, Haynes participated in the Administration’s assaults on habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions. Indefinite detention, the sham Guantanamo tribunals (item 10), torture (item 194), and most recently a belated attempt to politicize the JAG corps (item 290) are his dubious legacy. Haynes also backed the use of evidence gained by torture in Guantanamo trials. In an August 2005 meeting, Guantanamo chief prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis related Haynes’ reaction to a judicial process that might result in acquittals: “Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.” When Morris learned in October 2007 that his office would be placed under Haynes’ general control, he resigned. On September 5, 2006, Haynes was nominated by Bush to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals but, in the run up to the November 2006 elections, his nomination was successfully filibustered by Democrats. Though Haynes will be remembered, he will not be missed. On June 17, 2008, Haynes appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to testify about torture and displayed a Gonzales-like fit of amnesia about his actions and decisions.

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