Flimsy cover

Re "On the trail of torture," Editorial, Aug. 13

The Times writes, "[U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric J.] Holder is disinclined to prosecute interrogators who complied with legal advice, however flimsy. That approach is prudent, especially given legislation passed by Congress providing interrogators with a legal defense based on 'good faith reliance on advice of counsel.' "

I don't believe that CIA torturers ever read, much less relied in good faith on, the legal opinions that supposedly exonerate their deeds. In any case, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, a Senate-ratified treaty and thus supreme law of the land, "The state party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed [torture] is found, if it does not extradite him, shall ... submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution."

Tom Payne


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