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Flanigan Withdraws as Nominee for Deputy Attorney General
During at least one of the meetings attended by Flanigan, those involved heard detailed descriptions of the interrogation methods the CIA wanted to use, such as open-handed slapping, the threat of live burial and "waterboarding," a technique that produces the sensation of drowning.
Flanigan said at his Judiciary Committee hearing that certain aspects of the 2002 memo were "inappropriate in a sort of sophomorish way" and that he supported the administration's revision of that memo in December 2004.
But he declined to say, in response to Democratic senators' questions, whether he had expressed support or opposition for the original version and said the Justice Department's briefings about the memo were "reasonable." Flanigan also declined to say whether specific techniques would be allowed under administration rules and wrote that he did "not believe that the term 'inhumane' treatment is susceptible to a succinct definition."
In the Abramoff case, Flanigan had direct dealings with the lobbyist after he left the White House and became Tyco's general counsel; in that post, he was responsible for overseeing a contract Tyco signed in 2003 with Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff's employer at the time.
Abramoff had promised to help defeat proposals for imposing tax penalties on firms -- such as Tyco -- that were incorporated in offshore banking havens, and he bragged to Flanigan about his connections to then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and to White House senior adviser Karl Rove, according to Flanigan's statements to the committee last month.
In April 2004, Greenberg Traurig informed Tyco that Abramoff had misspent $1.5 million of the more than $2 million that Tyco had paid him in lobbying fees, by diverting the funds to companies that Abramoff controlled. Flanigan assured the committee, in his written answers, that he had cooperated in the firm's investigation and also that Tyco had turned over pertinent evidence to the Justice Department.
But the Democrats then wondered why Flanigan -- who said he was "shocked and disappointed" by Greenberg Traurig's disclosure -- had not caught the alleged misconduct himself. Flanigan responded that Abramoff had fooled even his own employer.
He also said that he had turned over to his company, for use in its lobby, a $250 digital picture frame that Abramoff gave him as a Christmas gift in 2003.