Back in 2005, when he was counselor to the secretary of state, Philip Zelikow wrote a memo suggesting that the legal basis for torturing terror suspects was pretty shaky. It didn’t go over well: “The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo,” he wrote a few days ago over at FP’s Shadow Government blog.
Fine. But who tried to send Zelikow’s memo down the memory hole? Can you guess?
Zelikow tells Mother Jones that he doesn’t know for sure who in the White House ordered the suppression of his memo, but he says that his “supposition at the time” was that the office of Vice President Dick Cheney was behind the cover-up. In an email exchange with Mother Jones, Zelikow notes that Cheney’s office did not have the authority to request that his memo be deep-sixed: “They didn’t run the interagency process. Such a request would more likely have come from the White House Counsel’s office or from NSC staff.” But that request did not reach him in written form. “It was conveyed to me, and I ignored it,” Zelikow recalls. But he suspected that Team Cheney was probably behind it.
Democrats in Congress want to try to find a copy of Zelikow’s memo, and they also want to try to find any record of who ordered the memo destroyed. Stay tuned.