NYT Hypes 'Nonpartisan' Report on Torture Under Bush -- From 'Ardent Democrat' Who Avoided His Inaugural

On the day after terrorism struck the Boston Marathon, the New York Times chose a different kind of terror-related story to join it on the front page, from intelligence reporter Scott Shane: "U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes."

Shane and his headline writer harped on the "nonpartisan" nature of the Constitution Project, despite the fact that it clearly leans left, as a scan of the group's priorities (not to mention the personal remarks of its very own president in the Times itself) reveals.

A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.

Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch -- a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones -- seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.

As for CP's nonpartisan nature, here's president Virginia Sloan, hopping off to Belize to escape the second inaugural of George W. Bush's (whose administration is the main target of the new report), as captured in the January 17, 2005 Times.

''This does not seem like a hospitable place for Democrats this week,'' said Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project, a nonprofit group that studies constitutional issues, who is heading to a spa in Belize. ''Obviously, as an ardent Democrat, I was very disappointed by the election results, and in the past, I've gone to counterinaugurals at friends' houses. But this year, there was just so much emotion behind this election, it seemed like a good time to get out of town.''

How "nonpartisan" do you figure the group Sloan founded could be? More Shane about the purported horror of terrorist interrogation:

But the report’s main significance may be its attempt to assess what the United States government did in the years after 2001 and how it should be judged. The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.

Shane finally let slip that, oh by the way, a former Times reporter (a very liberal one) is executive director of the panel that issued the detainee report under the auspices of the Constitution Project.

The panel studied the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A’s secret prisons. Staff members, including the executive director, Neil A. Lewis, a former reporter for The New York Times, traveled to multiple detention sites and interviewed dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as former detainees.