The LA Times presents yet another example of Bush boldly setting a course and then failing to follow through on pesky details:
The failure to conduct a comprehensive examination occurred despite calls to do so as early as 2003. That year, the agency's inspector general circulated drafts of a report that raised deep concerns about waterboarding and other methods, and recommended a study by outside experts on whether they worked.
It is not the natural way of bureaucracies to second-guess a program embraced by the top people.
We get a modest hint as to the second CIA memo Cheney was attempting to see declassified to buttress his case that the enhanced interrogation program was effective:
Goss, who had taken the helm at the CIA four months after the inspector general's report was filed, eventually complied. But Helgerson had envisioned a group of experts, perhaps including specialists from the FBI; Goss turned instead to two former government officials with little background in interrogation.
Gardner Peckham, a national security advisor to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, produced the approximately 10-page document that praised the program. It concluded that the program was "very structured and very disciplined," said a former official familiar with its contents, but did not assess the effectiveness of various methods.
A separate report, submitted by John Hamre, a former deputy Defense secretary, was similar in scope and led to no significant alterations of the program. Hamre and Peckham both declined to comment.
The May 30 2005 OLC memo cites a March 2 2005 memo titled "Re: Effectiveness of the CIA Counterintelligence Interrogation Techniques" but that is not what Cheney requested. Instead, he asked for a June 1 2005 memo that is apparently 13 pages long.
Both the Hamre and Peckham memos were described by Dana Priest in a Dec 30, 2005 story:
So, place your bets - I say that Cheney went with the more supportive Peckham memo, which means that the March 2 "Effectiveness" memo is by Hamre. And do note that, however ambiguous it was, even the Hamre memo had enough ammunition for the author of the May 30, 2005 OLC opinion (if this line of reasoning is accurate).