Did the White House Review CIA’s Records on Congressional Briefings?
A month ago, I wrote a post noting that CIA had never finished its Memos for the Record of several key Congressional briefings. But as I’ve been reviewing old Vaughn Indices to get a better sense of what we received yesterday, I’ve seen some details that raise new questions about CIA’s use of Congressional briefings.
That post from last month was based on this FOIA dump, including a collection of materials on whether or not Congress was briefed on the tapes. Those materials include:
- A 2-page MFR of Pat Roberts’ February, 4 2003 briefing on torture and the tapes printed out on November 19, 2008. It noted that Roberts named “10 reasons right off” for Congress not to exercise any oversight over torture. It also recorded these details about what CIA told Roberts about the torture tapes:
[Deputy Director of Operations Jim] Pavitt and [CIA General Counsel Scott] Muller described the circumstances surrounding the existence of tapes of the Zubayda debriefing, the inspection of those tapes by OGC lawyers, the comparison of the tapes with the cables describing the same interrogations. According to Muller, the match was perfect and the lawyer who did the review was satisfied that the interrogations were carried out in full accordance with the guidance. Muller indicated that it was our intention to destroy these tapes, which were created in any case as but an aide to the interrogations, as soon as the Inspector General had completed his report. (In a subsequent briefing to Congressmen Goss and Harman, Muller said that the interrogators themselves were greatly concerned that the tapes might leak one day and put themselves and their families at risk.) Senator Roberts listened carefully and gave his assent. [my emphasis]
- A two-page MFR by Office of Congressional Affairs head Stanley Moskowitz prepared on July 11, 2004, presumably in advance of the 2004 Congressional briefings on (among other things) the IG Report. It lists 4 relevant briefings (the February 4, 2003 briefing for Roberts; the February 5, 2003 briefing for Goss and Harman; the September 4, 2003 briefing for Goss and Harman; the September 4, 2003 briefing for Roberts and Rockefeller). Moskowitz attached the February 4, 2003 Roberts briefing to that memo, noting that “the remainder of the sessions are being finalized.”
- A one-page MFR for the February 5, 2003 Goss and Harman briefing printed out on April 27, 2009 (so not long before CIA released its torture briefing list on May 7, 2009). The MFR states, “Pls see attached notes.” It also records that the “MFR never completed. Closed in FELIX 10/3/07 by OCA IMO.”
- An earlier version of that same one-page MFR of the February 5, 2003 Goss and Harman briefing. The print date on it is not shown, though it shows no record of being closed out and/or never completed. There is a post-it on the document labeling it for the “AZ FILE.”
- A stub noting that “Pages 3-5 withheld in full,” which suggests the two previous pages–the two copies of the Goss and Harman MFRs–were considered part of a package with these withheld pages. This suggests these withheld pages may be the actual notes from the briefing.
- A one-page list (in proportional font, so probably from a different office than OCA) listing “SENSITIVE BRIEFINGS TO OVERSIGHT MEMBERS FROM FEBRUARY 2003-JULY 2004.” It lists the February 5, 2003 briefing first, following by the February 4, 2003 Roberts briefing. It makes no mention of the September 4, 2003 briefings of the Gang of Four. It lists a January 28, 2004 briefing of Goss and Harman (the document redacts the description of whether or not EITs were discussed, though since this briefing doesn’t appear on CIA’s most recent torture briefing list, presumably EITs weren’t discussed). And it lists the July 15, 2004 briefing of Roberts and Rockefeller, but not the July 13, 2004 briefing of Goss and Harman covering the same topics.
- A second copy of the July 11, 2004 MFR described above. It seems to be an exact copy, down to the staple holes. The only difference in the presentation I can see is a difference in redaction of one of the staffer’s names, which may be significant since one of the staffers present, Michael Sheehy, is reported to have briefed Pelosi on the briefing (though the Moskowitz MFR only notes the presence of two staffers, not the three recorded in the CIA’s most recent list).
- A one-page table listing “Congressional Assent” to the destruction of the torture tapes. It includes: a December 19, 2002 General Counsel email apparently recording “no objection” from the Inspector General to destroying the tapes; Jane Harman’s February 10, 2003 letter objecting to such a plan; the MFR of the February 4, 2003 Roberts briefing assenting to the torture tape destruction; note of the mention in the Roberts MFR that the torture tapes were briefed to Goss and Harman in their briefing; affirmation that the tapes were mentioned in the handwritten notes of the Goss and Harman briefing, with a note showing that Hoekstra may never have been briefed on the issue. The mention of Hoekstra shows this document had to have been made after 2005. It appears to have been printed on August 12, 2008, and includes a Bates stamp (suggesting it has been used in some kind of investigation or discovery).
Now, all of that’s a muddle. But that’s precisely the point. CIA appears to have had no consistent record-keeping with regards to Congressional briefings. The problems seem particularly acute when it pertains to that February 2003 briefing of Goss and Harman.
Which is why I’m so curious about the way the MFRs from February 2003 are described in this Vaughn Index as documents 155 to 157 (document 164 may be the chart described in the final bullet point above).
Document 155, SSCI Member Briefing, 2 pages: This document is a two-page draft MFR recounting a briefing of SSCI members and staff regarding the CIA’s RDI program. … The document also contains predecisional information transmitted to presidential advisors and used as part of the President’s and the CIA’s decision-making process.
Document 156, SSCI Member Briefing, 4 pages: This document contains two MFRs discussing a CIA briefing regarding the RDI program. The document contains information transmitted to presidential advisors in furtherance of the President’s decision making process. … The document also contains Congressional equities that require coordination with Congress before a final release determination can be determined.
Document 157, HPSCI Member Briefing, 8 pages: This document is an eight-page MFR including three page of handwritten notes discussing a briefing regarding the CIA’s RDI program. … This document also contains Congressional equities that require coordination with Congress before a final release determination can be reached.
Document 158, HPSCI Member Briefing, 4 pages: This document is a draft Memorandum for the Record, with three pages of handwritten notes, discussing a briefing regarding the CIA’s RDI program. … The document also contains predecisional information used as part of the CIA’s decision-making process. [my emphasis]
See, the muddle gets even worse. Most noticeably, CIA says the MFR describing the Roberts briefing–but not the Goss and Harman briefing–was transmitted to Presidential advisors. In fact, they appear to have sent two MFRs in document 156, though both appear to relate only to the Roberts briefing.
By comparison, they say the Goss and Harman briefing was only used as part of CIA’s decision-making, not the White House’s.
Which is all the more weird, considering we know CIA met with the White House later in February to strategize how to respond to Jane Harman’s letter warning them not to destroy the torture tapes. (The response ultimately ignored her entire objection to destroying the torture tapes.)
And, ultimately, they appear to have completed just one MFR showing Congress getting briefed on the use of waterboarding and the planned destruction of the torture tape. That MFR happens to integrate a line showing that Goss and Harman were briefed–but it tells us nothing about how they (or more pointedly, Harman) responded. It shows Roberts assenting (though he disputes that version). Just as importantly, the MFR (and possibly the briefing itself) falsely claims that OGC (probably John McPherson) found the torture depicted on the tapes had been “carried out in full accordance with the guidance” on torture; when CIA’s IG asked him about that subject in June 2003, he said he “would have to check guidance before answering.”
And that MFR–and not the Goss and Harman one, which was never finalized–was what got used on presidential decision-making.
Of course, we might ask Porter Goss what he remembers from that briefing. But last we heard, he was laughing about taking the blame for destroying the tapes.
I get the impression that not only do the left and right hands not know what the other is doing, but that they habitually lie about it to each other and everyone else.
My guess is actually something different. That Harman objected at the briefing, and teh torturers at both CIA and OVP didn’t want that record in final form, so they just worked on drafts of the Roberts one (at which, of course, Rockefeller was not present) to make that into their Congressional approval for torture. Only when Harman wrote a letter recording her opposition to the torture tape destruction, they were in further trouble.
In any case, they’re doubly screwed, since if Harman objected IN THE BRIEFING then GOss can’t claim to be ignorant to it.
That didn’t escape my notice, either. I thought it was, um, interesting that they just ignored her written objections.
I agree with your take on the CIA’s (and the OVP’s, though I have a question on that) objective in spinning Congressional “approval” for the videotapes destruction by citing Robert’s briefing at the White House.
And I’ll throw a couple more things into the mix (including that OVP question):
1. According to Jane Harman’s Feb. 10, 2003 letter to Scott Muller (1 page PDF), she refers to the AZ “videotape” in a manner that is confusing:
Her usage of the word “videotape” can be read to be plural throughout her memo, but the 2nd and 3rd usage can also be read as a “singular” videotape.
I wonder if the CIA briefed Harman in such a way to leave the question of “singular” or “plural” videotape up in the air.
Secondly, Harman’s letter intimates that the videotape is merely of AZ after his capture, and doesn’t confirm that the AZ videotape is of his interrogation/torture sessions. I wonder if the CIA again soft-pedaled to Harman on just what the AZ videotape reflected.
Lastly, regarding my OVP question, I do agree with you that one would think the OVP would be natural allies to work with Scott Muller & Co. to spin Congressional approval for the videotape destruction.
So why is it that the AP reports as recently as yesterday this:
Perhaps Addington took this position in “public” with Fredo but took the opposite position when speaking in “private” with his former CIA OGC colleague Muller.
I credit the possibility that CIA is not that well organized. However, given their professional line of work, it seems more likely that planned confusion would benefit them more. The CIA has been in the business of “briefing” Congress for sixty years. It’s the one game whose rules – written and unwritten – they know; they probably “brief” Congress better than anything else they do.
Planned confusion in briefing Congress would extend to domestic use a bit of routine tradecraft. Its benefits from a bureaucratic and legal perspective are many, so long as those it pisses off in Congress are too few to elicit an institutional reprimand. It makes it harder to show criminal intent, the CIA’s, their political bosses’ or their agency peers’. It makes it harder to track what they really did, an inherently good thing in the spying game. It makes it harder to demonstrate what they conveyed to Congress and what feedback that provoked. It makes it harder to construct and sell the need for greater or more focused oversight from Congress. As always, obstruction charges, if ever prosecuted, carry a lighter sentence than the possible crimes that obstruction hides.
And if they can get the WH to pressure Congress to keep it quiet, with or without blackmail, they can get even more from the deal, because it’s unlikely that those they brief will get together to compare the briefings.
Can y’all imagine what fun Leon Panetta is having as “head” of the CIA? How much does his senior staff lie to him? Is there any trust among these guys? Especially between the new guys and the stay behinds?
I don’t think I’d want Panetta’s job, no matter how much they paid me.
Bob in AZ
I just finished watching the movie “Breach”– about the unmasking of Hanson, the worst spy ever in our Government, a few months before 9/11. Of course, the plot line turns on the issue of trust, and the young agent gets Hanson to trust him just enough to make his final “drop” which closes the case on him. According to the info after the movie, the young agent decides that he doesn’t really want to become a full-fledged FBI agent after all, and quits to become a lawyer in the DC area.
What a life– to work in an agency where you don’t really know who you can trust. I’m glad I don’t have that problem.
Bob in AZ
Continuing on with the “strange” things from the latest CIA document dump, there is of course this curious email from Part 1 page 1 (28 page PDF):
We’ve all speculated, without any confirming evidence, that perhaps copies were made of the videotapes, but this email at least documents that somebody, or bodies, at CIA HQ was expecting the videotapes to be sent back to DC.
Like the speculated copies, there is no confirming evidence that they were ever sent to CIA HQ, but really, only The Shadow knows. *g*
Maybe to others this seems transparent, i.e., that the CIA is not used to keeping official record copies, and must show it knows what it is doing, to keep “in bounds” of the law, or the order. But surely, the CIA keeps and has kept records, so that is not the issue. Keeping records that others may reference? Perhaps. But something nags at me, and I could easily be wrong about this, that the “responsibility” the CIA has might be something else.
I’m very much appreciating all the work on these docs everyone is doing, from EW to Mad Dog and everyone else.
Also, if Jason Leopold’s sources are correct, and there is a second set of tapes of Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation, then everything we read has to be interpreted as through a prism.
If there was such a second set of tapes done, it could mean a separate taping system, a separate set of documentation, perhaps even a second act or acts of destruction.
My question: are the tapes we are told about (or for that matter Jane Harman was told about some years back) a cleansed set of tapes, meant, whatever info we gain about them, to keep us from knowing about or accessing the second set of tapes, which are even more incriminating.
If some interrogators overstepped the bounds of OLC instructions on waterboarding, that’s one thing, and accountability will be limited (as much as the government can) to those interrogators. But experiments mean researchers, analysts, those who put the experiment into play… and all these people can be prosecuted for war crimes, as such experiments on prisoners are potentially punishable by the death penalty.
Spin, CIA, spin.
Ta for the excellent Jason Leopold link!
Hope he stops by to add further to his story.
Agree this is one to spark the curiosity…
Is it possible that the ‘second taping system’ was related to recording metabolic parameters? That actually could make sense, although how they could measure anyone’s experience of a pain threshold escapes me completely.
But respiration rates, body temp, blood chemistry, and other parameters would make sense; however, one does not ‘videotape them’.
Also, per [email protected]:
Is ‘please’ a codeword for ‘ignore the following’? Or is it simply courtesy?
Hmmmm… high value target, and you have to specifically instruct people not to mess with the video? That’s weird.
Could it be a video pointed at medical instruments that displayed the torturee’s metabolic state as the sesion progressed?
Damn this is grim.
The way it was described for me is that the taping system was set up to “look at the detainee and to analyze facial patterns for deception.” And “to monitor the interrogators and look at their behavior and modification of behavior.”
That sounds consistent with the overall pseudoscientific approach of the likes of Mitchell and Jessen, the stuff of B-Grade action movies and psychology textbook descriptions of lab rat experiments. In your article you report that:
All they learned was how to hurt or scare people. They didn’t learn much about how to get information. Treat people like lab rats and you get people who act like abused rats. The person who knew how to get information was Ali Soufan, and he told us eloquently how to do it in his congressional testimony. He was also qite clear about what was wrong with the EIT approach [over and above that it was cruel].
But as to the point of this thread, I’ll bet there were a ton of visual records like you describe. They were trying to objectify the subjective, and would’ve amassed a lot of “data.” The question is not whether they gathered it. It’s whether they got it all destroyed [including the contractors’ private cache].
Great link. Thank you.
I have not been able to stop thinking about “who” was giving AZ the info that he was “the first.”
Yes, I think you’ve made that point before, viz who said he was “the first.” I think IIRC that was someone in the interrogation at Thailand, one of the interrogators. It’s easy to think it was the braggadocio of a Mitchell or Jessen or other JPRA type, but we just don’t know.
Re deception… Jason @62…
That’s a hell of a great investigative piece, Jason.
Here in the Bay Area we have one of the world authorities on facial signs of deception, and they’ve used plenty of videotape in the examination of what Paul Ekman calls “microexpressions.”
Ekman has worked with the Homeland Security crowd on this. I don’t know if he’s worked with DoD or CIA or DIA, etc.
Deception is a big topic. I’ve covered in my pre-FDL past. Kubark has a big section on it. Of course, when you are an interrogator or a debriefer, you want to know whether someone is telling the truth, exaggerating, confabulating, lying, falsely remembering in part, etc. Deception detection and interrogation go together like two sides of the same coin. Consider only the history of the polygraph.
Thanks for that link to Jason’s article
“A former National Security official previously told Truthout that Zubaydah “was an experiment. A guinea pig.”
On Friday, the former official said it became clear to some of the interrogators in Thailand that by June 2002, Zubaydah was not the high-value detainee the Bush administration held him out to be.
CIA contractors, however, pressed officials at the agency’s headquarters in Langley to allow them to continue subjecting Zubaydah to torture, the former NSC official claimed, because of the valuable information contractors had gained about specific interrogation techniques.”
Some sick sick people operating here. What were all of those international agreements that the U.S. signed about the treatment of prisoners for?
It’s been clear for some time that we have been dealing with some very sick people. They come from a sick society. We must right ourselves before it is too late. Perhaps the work EW is doing, Jason Leopold, and others, will help move us in the direction of the needed change. I hope so.
Mucho thanks for the appreciation!
My assumption is that the “responsibility” referred to is the CIA responsibility for both holding prisoners and for conducting their interrogations.
Based on my assumption, the CIA last had such “responsibility” during the Vietnam war, and that most of the CIA officers who participated in that “responsibility” of detaining and interrogating prisoners had long since retired. That institutional “expertise” was not maintained, and probably not even documented given how egregious the CIA interrogations back then were.
FWIW, this is how I read it as well.
“They should all be catalogued and made into official record copies.
The CIA has not had such a responsibility for a long time, so we want to make sure we know how to keep “in bounds.” We may need to get some guidance to the field [redacted sentence] Thank you!”
What or who decides whether these tapes are official record copies or not official record copies?
I am so grateful to many of the folks here at EW’s place for being so committed to justice, the rule of law and holding those responsible for committing such serious crimes accountable. An unnecessary war so many dead, injured, displaced. Outing Plame Re writing of torture laws, the use of torture, destroying the evidence. Crapping all over the constitution. The Bush administration and all of their crimes has made me feel so ashamed of this country.
Just sure glad that there are lawyer folks and others who really take justice and accountability so seriously. Gives some of us hope
And continuing on some more, from Part 2 page 1-2 (35 page PDF):
What’s interesting to me about this cable is the fact that the author feels it necessary, if not mandatory, to warn and reiterate a warning, not to edit the videos.
Which makes one wonder why the apparent necessity for that reiterated command.
Along the mystery line, have I missed the speculations about who the characters are in this email? [page 81] author? A? B? C?
I’m not familiar enough with the CIA to guess at the author or A. Jose himself would fit for C. He was head of the CTC (Counterterrorism Center) [D?] from May 2002 until he became DDO in November 2004. And I thought of Robert Gernier, our old friend from the Libby Trial, as [B] and [C]. He was Section Chief in Islamabad at the time of all this business [Zubaydah’s capture] until he replaced Jose Rodriguez as head of the CTC in November 2004 [Interestingly, Rodriguez fired Gernier in February 2006, not long after his Libby testimony].
But I’m way out of my league with really having a clue who these characters are…
I think someone other than Jose Rodriguez was C since Jose’s name is never redacted in the email.
My guess is whoever was the onsite leader of AZ’s torture. It may even be Mitchell, though as a contractor he’d be less likely to be “officially” in charge.
As to D, my thought is that it refers to either the name of the CIA torture team or the name of the torture prison in Thailand.
As to A, could be Porter Goss, but less likely because the author of the Part 2 email referred to Goss as PG in his previous Part 1 email on page 17 to Dusty Foggo.
As to B, that’s the one I want to know. *g*
And to help identify your B, take a peek at Part 3 page 38 (57 page PDF).
Though parts of it are redacted, it clearly states the following:
B sounds like someone in authority at CTC, though it is not Jose Rodriguez since he had moved on to DDO a year earlier.
I wonder if it is our old friend Jonathan Fredman? Probably not since he was only CTC’s Chief Counsel.
Excellent spotting! Robert Grenier was head of the CTC at that time – until Rodroguez fired him [ref]. Johnathan Fredman is a good candidate too. It does say “drafts language to be included in a cable…” [sounds lawyerly].
Speaking of Robert Grenier, if you do a Google News search on him, you’d might be amazed at the number of acticles he’s written in the past month, and that they all are published in Aljazeera.
They read like he’s only semi-retired and perhaps back on the US government payroll at least part-time.
I thought that at first, but then it occurred to me that there was no need for disguise until that last part [also, Jose fits the space allotted], so I put him back in the running. I agree though that [B] is the person of interest.
Harman “Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future.”
the PDF that ew linked to
“THE PARTICIPANTS OF THIS MEETING CONCLUDED THAT THE CONTINUED RETENTION OF THESE TAPES, WHICH IS NOT/NOT REQUIRED BY LAW,”
So are they or are they not required by law to keep the tapes as a record?
As I see it, they were always playing around with Congress (and leading on the do-gooders) (bold emphases added):
And there are plenty more like these. A reminder of Charlie Savage’s Pulitzer Prize winning report back in April 2006:
I’m going to make it a point to document how many times Bush told Congress that their attempts to report to them on intelligence issues was overruled by a Bush signing statement. By my count, it started in December 2001 (bold emphases added).
Mouse, meet cat.
I’d say that discovering that your chief ally has put a secret prison in your country would certainly impair relations with said ally.
Congress would be very much justified in cutting funding for such operations, too, if they weren’t scared to death that they’d lose votes (that they wouldn’t be getting anyway) if they did the right thing.
This should be very interesting!
“The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to with-hold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative”
Bush and signing statements
“It noted that Roberts named “10 reasons right off” for Congress not to exercise any oversight over torture. It also recorded these details about what CIA told Roberts about the torture tapes:”
Roberts sure does not give a rats ass about oversight or accountability. Phase I Phase II of the SSCI. Nothing ever came of that stalled investigation into false pre war intelligence
Roberts, and his SSCI Minority Chair replacement Kit Bond, have worked their tails off tirelessly…to impede if not to totally negate any and all oversight of the Executive branch by Congress.
Criminals working hard to prevent their crimes from ever seeing the light of day.
As I’ve said multiple times previously, I truly believe that the Repug party is an ongoing criminal enterprise, and has been so since at least the days of Nixon.
And when criminals find out that they never face any consequences, whyever would they want to stop?
Well, I don’t mean to cause trouble.
And I may be completely, entirely incorrect in my blurry, odd surmise, but what’s starting to bug me are what appear to be correlations between two things:
Jan 2003, before the start of the Iraq War, CIA says they’ve seen the tapes, logged the tapes, and also they’ve briefed Congress (meaning Harmon, Roberts, and a few others).
Feb 4, 2003 Roberts was briefed; the following day Harman and Goss were briefed.
Within 6 months:
(a) Iraq War began March 2003
(b) Someone(s) affiliated with OVP wants to tank US-Iranian peace talks – April 2003
(c) Dubya struts in his Commander Codpiece costume on the deck of an aircraft carrier (at sunset, for the best lighting) beneath a “Mission Accomplished” banner – May 1, 2003
(c) Harold Rhode [out of Doug Feith’s DoD-OSP shop] staged a ‘find’ of uranium docs and ‘anti-Israeli’ materials inside of Iraq, working in collusion with Ahmad Chalabi – May 7, 2003
(d) Michael Ledeen sent Feith a ‘plan’ that promised ‘finding’ Iraqi WMD that Ghorbanifar-Ledeen claimed had been moved to Iran – Late May 2003
(e) By June 17, 2003, McPherson admits that he saw some of the tapes were partially blank, or had snow on them.
I don’t mean to cause trouble, but in the background:
— certain parties were seriously screwing any chances for US-Iranian diplomacy,
— the nefarious Chalabi worked with neocons to ‘prove’ that WMD had been moved to Iran,
— Blackwater, Custer Battles, Halliburton, and other defense related corporations had no-bid contracts for the war, for pipelines,
— Bremer was in Iraq outlawing the Ba’ath party, wankering on about ‘democracy’ (which is a pretext for contracts, which is a pretext for o-i-l).
In this context, following a period when neocons were ‘planting’ finds of WMD and scaryTerrorInducing stuff in Iraq, all of a sudden the videotapes turn out to be screwy?
Hmmmmmm…. what’s up with that?
Within weeks, by mid-July 2003 Valerie Plame, whose job was to track nuclear materials (specifically Iranian materials IIRC from ‘Hubris’) was ‘outed’ by OVP + Rove (which is code for “Preznit”).
Of course, by late September Dubya (sans Commander Codpiece costume) was telling the WH press corps that he’d ‘fire’ any ‘leakers’ in his administration.
This from a guy whose OVP had planted Feith, Rhodes, et al inside DoD’s new OSP – the very people who’d been planting WMD (or trying to) and screwing around with US – Iranian relations.
And by that time, the war was starting to go badly.
And the WMD had not turned up in Iraq.
And the CIA person tracking nukes related to Iran had been ‘outed’ by someone(s) in the WH-OVP.
And CIA says that it has briefed Congress, but also now seems to be unable to reconstruct all the tapes related to the interrogations of ‘high value’ detainees…?
I may be a complete head case, but if I worked at CIA, then I’d sure want to know what in hell happened to those tapes.
I think most here are concerned about human rights violations, and that disturbs me.
But what **also** disturbs me is some hazy sense that there was an ‘inside’ group drumming up the war, drumming up evidence of war, and — for reasons unclear to me — trying to demolish the ability of the US or CIA to track Iranian, or non-state, or someone’s nuclear material.
Now, if you were a rogue outfit pulling sh!t while claiming to be working for the CIA, or for Blackwater, or for whoever… but someone told you in interrogations information that would implicate a Harold Rhodes, or a Chalabi, or anyone related to whoever was in that group of operatives, then you might just screw up the videotapes.
(Dates mostly from EW’s Ghorbanifar Timeline, but also from this post as well as 4/-16 pose “CIA Lwayer Did Not Record Destroyed Tapes”.)
It’s certainly also possible that the tapes were damaged to ensure that no family members could see them, nor could they be used as propaganda by others.
It’s also entirely possible that, humans being flawed (hungry, tired, time-zone confused, jealous, pissed, resentful, etc, etc, etc) someone(s) actually simply screwed up. Errors do occur, as do miscommunications.
It’s just strange that against some of the background that I’ve tried to list here, they happened to screw up on something as potentially valuable as CIA tapes of what the BushCheneyites claimed were key interrogations.
“but someone told you in interrogations information that would implicate a Harold Rhodes, or a Chalabi, or anyone related to whoever was in that group of operatives, then you might just screw up the videotapes.”
Reader of Tea Leaves “(b) Someone(s) affiliated with OVP wants to tank US-Iranian peace talks – April 2003”
I had never seen Senator’s Biden, Kennedy, Kerry, Boxer, Lincoln Chaffee, as pissed off as they were during that John Bolton nomination hearing (watched on C-Span). Hell even Voinovich looked worried Bolton was being his ass wipe self when Biden and company were demanding the NSA intercepts (rumored to be about U.S. Iran negotiations) that they had been asking the Bush administration to hand over.
I thought that group was going to jump over the desks and kick Boltons smug ass.
The general’s revenge
“When British Foreign Minister Jack Straw complained to Powell that Bolton was obstructing negotiations with Iran on its development of nuclear weapons, Powell ordered that Bolton be cut out of the process, telling an aide: “Get a different view.” The British also objected to Bolton’s interference in talks with Libya, and again Powell removed Bolton. But much as he may have wanted to, Powell could not dismiss Bolton because of a powerful patron: Vice President Dick Cheney.
The Bolton confirmation hearings have revealed his constant efforts to undermine Powell on Iran and Iraq, Syria, and North Korea. They have also exposed a most curious incident that has triggered the administration’s stonewall reflex. The Foreign Relations Committee discovered that Bolton made a highly unusual request and gained access to 10 intercepts by the National Security Agency, which monitors worldwide communications, of conversations involving past and present government officials. Whose conversations did Bolton secretly secure and why?
Staff members on the committee believe that Bolton was likely spying on Powell, his senior advisors, and other officials reporting to the secretary of state on diplomatic initiatives that Bolton opposed. If so, it is also possible that Bolton was sharing this top-secret information with his neoconservative allies in the Pentagon and the vice president’s office, with whom he was in daily contact and well known to be working in league against Powell. If the intercepts are ever released, they may disclose whether Bolton was a key figure in a counterintelligence operation run inside the Bush administration against the secretary of state, resembling the hunted character played by Will Smith in “Enemy of the State.” Both Republican and Democratic senators have demanded that the State Department, which holds the NSA intercepts, turn them over to the committee. But Rice so far has refused. What is she hiding by her coverup?”
Well, Bart Gellman’s “Angler” names one of the intercepted people as Richard Haass (currently the Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, IIRC). He was in some country in the Arabian peninsula when he was intercepted, and Gellman describes an employee in Cheney’s office (Eric Edelman) all pissed off because they see intercepts of Haass trying to open diplomatic relations with Iran.
Haass was under Powell at DoS.
But remember who else was at DoS? Liz Cheney, in all her neocon ideological insolent glory. Probably covering Bolton’s ass, would be a safe guess. Also handing out largess from black budgets for heaven only knows what purposes. And also landing in countries without telling the US ambassadors, or some equally almost unbelievably stupid insulting behavior.
She’s a charmer, that Liz Cheney (/s).
I think you may be overstating Baby Dicks power at State.
I think near the end, yes.
But there’s a case to be made that she was sucking up resources and preventing other, better things from getting done.
Such a charming woman, really… (/s)
Baby Cheney has quiet recently. After she was smacked around for her teams Keep America Scared ads about the Al Qaeda 7
Oh, and did you see the news that Blackwater was apparently charged with weapons violations by Tobacco & Firearms? (Woot!).
Perhaps bmaz will update us whether he thinks that’s a limp-wristed whitewash, or an early sign of changing political weather.
And in case EW returns to this post after her Saturday night out, I posted this comment on her previous post regarding “the more than 83 times AZ may have been waterboarded:
JesusMaryAndJoesph — !
Actually, you can’t reuse a videotape as many times as it appears they are talking about. That’s hogwash.
After several re-uses, even the best quality of videotape degrades.
That’s been my experience.
Plus, at a few bucks per tape cassette it’s cheaper to buy new than discard or reuse most of the time.
That quote makes it sound like they’re reusing those tapes over, and over…. maybe not 183 times, but >= 5.
That makes no sense to be reusing; they literally degrade; you can see it on playback, they catch in the recording equipment, or they literally have their tension go wonky and then you really have a mess on your hands.
I don’t see how someone could reuse a tape without getting fired.
While I do agree with you about the eventual degradation, back when I was recording on my VCRs (been a DVR recorder now for a couple years), I used to be able to get more than just 5 re-recordings. You been buying that cheap tape? *g*
Anyways, the way that October cable reads, the HQ folks decided they really didn’t want the tapes anymore except for immediate playback to buttress the notetaking and/or to sanitize the notetaking.
I don’t think they were wishful of keeping the videos any longer than they had to.
Watch who you’re insulting ;-))
I may have higher playback standards than you…?
Or I may have been using them in humidity or temp conditions that just caused all kinds of ruckus with equipment in the first place (which was true in a couple cases). But more than a few tapings, and even with the most expensive, best tapes I’ve found it to degrade. (Thank heavens for DV!!)
Maybe HQ didn’t want that stuff lying around.
Or should I simply say, “Abu Gharib…?”
Recall that Mr UberGenius Donald Rumsfeld seemed determined to ignore AG. Until the photos showed up.
So I’d call that evidence in support of your hypothesis.
LOL! I always bought the premium tapes, but only when they were on sale. Who knows whether I got what I paid for or I got conned. *g*
I’m still pondering why they were using Videotapes at all? Certainly by this time period digital recording equipment would have been available, and funds for that would not have been unavailable. And digital material can be sent via encoded internet and satellite communication back to Langley? A VHS would have to be converted to digital to send back to the agency.
Was analysis only going on locally? This implies that maybe Mitchell and/or Jenssen were assessing these tapes in the field….but no one back at the agency was? Or maybe this gets into the issue of the parallel taping?
And wouldn’t they need additional copies to transcribe the tapes? Or did the transcribers go to Thailand to make the written copies before destruction? Or were the transcribers people who made the tapes (yeah…that’ll ensure accuracy!).
As a matter of fact, I bet that KSM’s waterboarding sessions were videotaped on that “one tape re-use over and over again” method in late spring and summer of 2003.
By that time, this “re-use policy” had been in place for 6 months (remember this “policy” started in October 2002), and the CIA HQ folks made no bones about not wanting any videos to ever surface.
There was no way the CIA and the CIA contractors would stand around 24×7 and document by hand each and every second of KSM’s captivity and torture sessions. Even if they were willing, there was likely no way for them to keep up in realtime with everything KSM was being subjected to.
If what I suspect is true, KSM’s waterboarding sessions were in fact videotaped, but then immediately used to document the notetaking and/or to sanitize the notetaking, and then when his final waterboarding session was done, they destroyed the videotape.
And they ain’t ever gonna admit that KSM was videotaped. You betcha!
And to buttress my suspicion, this is from the only other waterboarded detainee where the government admitted videotaping – al-Nashiri’s Wiki entry:
I’ve long assumed Cheney’s middle names are actually ‘Plausible Deniability’.
Richard Bruce Plausible Deniability Cheney.
Well that is kind of the thing though isn’t it? If the government were conducting anything close to lawful interrogations and getting usable information as a result, they would want the evidence of such fact. Even if they were not getting usable information, they would want evidence they were not abusing, unlawfully coercing or torturing the subjects. There is a reason they are worried about criminal evidence.
But after watching Kyle Sampson, Lurita Doan, Jack Abramoff, Abu Gonzo…. well, we all have problems with judgment at one time or another. But they seem to have problems with judgment a very high percentage of the time. And if you’re in that culture, then I suspect that The Lucifer Effect kind of further impairs judgment.
And the question to ask of that quote on the prisoner that died in CIA custody in Iraq is: Was he also videotaped?
that’s the funny thing, there were A LOT of videotapes. It’s my understanding the interrogation (torture) sessions of every single high-value detainee was videotaped. At the other black sites and at Guantanamo and an elaborate camera system was set up. It is my understanding that those videotapes and other media that depicts the interrogations still exist.
Of course, that is not the subject of the Durham’s inquiry. But just thought I would add that.
Well, that’s quite interesting.
No wonder Liz Cheney starts interrupting whatever panel or interviewer she’s with whenever these kinds of topics rise to the surface.
There’s a ton of rumors out there. One of the rumors is that some people kept videotapes as “trophies.” I have no idea if those videotapes are ones of interrogations or videotapes shot by soldiers at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan of detainees or even if the rumors are true. But I do think the Cheneys being outspoken and defensive about the “enhanced interrogation program” has more to do about their own fears about a deeper involvement than just simply defending what they believe was a valuable tool. The challenge is proving it.
May not be the subject of Durham’s inquiry (of course not, why would it be), but it is pretty instructive as to the fact the greater interrogation operation was more than aware of recognized best practices in the field though. Late in the previous thread, I mentioned there actually being pragmatic reasons for using analog videotape to record custodial interrogations/confessions because of evidentiary stability and credibility. That is certainly one aspect, but experts in the field also will state taping in general is also the unquestioned best practice because the tapes can be reviewed over and over for physical and emotion clues which may have been missed during the live session, and can also be analyzed by additional professionals not directly involved in the live interrogation for additional clues and information. It is also a critical tool for evaluation and critique/improvement of interrogator skills and performance. Really, there are not that many credible reasons not to videotape interrogations; when you get get right down to it, most all the rationales for not taping are malevolent.
woops. should have read all the comments to the end.
yeah, let’s do some microfacial analysis on Bush. Or Obama, who knows what we will find out.
Missed your comment when I came back and added mine @68. Your point is well-taken. And we know they discussed the videotaping issue. I like to point out the exchange with Jonathan Fredman of CIA, Dave Beckman of DIA, and Lt. Col. Diane Beaver of DoD over the issue in the SASC released minutes of a meeting at Guantanamo, Oct. 2, 2002, which I transcribed some time back. I think it’s quite illuminating.
All solid points. And thank you for your insight on reasons for analog recording.
Everyone seems to have had different reasons though for videotaping HVD’s and there are differing reasons from DOD as to why interrogations are videotaped. The one common line I have heard is that videotaping interrogations are conducted to make sure the interrogators are acting within the law.
Yes. In fact, I was part of a complex litigation resulting in a consent decree mandating it for certain state and local law enforcement agencies here in the mid 90s for that exact reason. If done inobtrusively, it turns out to be good for a lot of reasons as noted though.
How do we find them?
ha! Good question. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer. For one thing, I have never been able to establish whether it’s even true. We know DOD has videotapes, but I think those are related to detainees that are/were held in Iraq and Afghanistan prisons and were confiscated from soldiers.
Don’t forget that 2008 Seton Hall study that said every interrogation at Guantanamo was videotaped.
(At the risk of trying folks’ patience:) It seems we’ve established both that there was a videotaping operation, and that there was a parallel digital/computer-based video recording operation. There is reasonable documentation for what happened with the videotapes (even if the reasoning for what happened is damning). However the computer aspect creates a possibility that additional copies may have existed on optical media (or other non-magnetic media), so any evidence searches that only asked for magnetic media, not optical media, would not have required those copies to be produced, indexed, or acknowledged in any way.
Just because there were videotapes doesn’t mean there weren’t also other recordings, and their existence could perhaps be determined, and if they existed then they could perhaps be discovered, and if they existed then they could perhaps have also been illegally destroyed.
Yeah, I don’t know how “well established” the computer/other copies bit is yet. May well be, but it is thin and far from buttoned down so far.
Just going on Jeff’s link to Jason’s story, claiming 5 IC sources. You’re right to point it out, though — it’s recent (‘in the past month’) which is a little weird. At a minimum, it looks like somebody currently wants us to believe that a second such system did exist. And that in itself is noteworthy.
it’s always possible that the records proferred by cia to various officials/cpurts were always intended as the distraction from another set of records kept in such a way or by such an entity as not likely to be inquired about by ig’s, foia’s, lawyers and judges.
the cia could not possibly, repeat,
could not possibly,
have been under any misapprehension that the torture they were engaged in was HIGHLY (war crimes) illegal from the day they first proposed torturing.
nor would an experienced cia administrator putt any faith in what was obviouly poppycock from john yoo/doj.
there likely was another whole torture/records system operating – whether in cia or in jsoc.
has any official ever asserted that jsoc was not present at and had no operational involvement in, the cia’s torture machinery?
I have absolutely no clue what happened, but why there appear to be at least 120,000 ‘left hands’ who don’t know what the 287,678 ‘hands’ are doing in this mess.
But if one of your undercover operatives were ‘outed’, wouldn’t you start getting rather… ‘spooked’?
And are we talking about ‘CIA’ or ‘contractors’ who are supposed to be allied to the CIA, but may have split agendas?
I got no clue, but it is perplexing.
could the cia, whose stock in trade is
really have made old-fashioned (for govt funded high-rollers like cia) vcr tapes of torture,
gotten really nervous ex post facto, about what those tapes showed, and
suddenly decided to destroy or alter, e. g., write over, tapes of torture?
well of course they could have.
but i would be surprised if they behaved so naievely.
And one last curious bit from the latest CIA document dump before I call it a night. From CIA OGC attorney MacPherson’s review – Part 1 page 25 (28 page PDF):
I would throw out the wild-arsed guess that MacPherson was describing 31 videotapes from al-Nashiri’s torture sessions and then 61 videotapes from Abu Zubaydah’s torture sessions.
Since Abu Zubaydah was captured March 28, 2002, and al-Nashiri captured in November 2002, it makes sense that the number of videotapes would have declined with the October 2002 “policy” decision to go to a single re-use videotape.
But…but MadDog you say, how can there then have been 31 videotapes for al-Nashiri if the “policy” started in October 2002 and al-Nashiri was captured in November 2002?
What makes the most sense to me is that there were videotapes and then there was a single re-used videotape.
By that I mean, the 31 al-Nashiri videotapes were documenting the 24×7 incarceration of al-Nashiri. As I said in my # 49, there was no way the CIA and CIA contractors were watching him second by second around the clock.
A video surveillance system would be a better use for “watching” him. The CIA and CIA contractors could review the tapes at fast-forward to see how al-Nashiri’s day and night went.
When it came to the waterboard sessions, I’m betting the CIA and CIA contractors were back to using the “policy” of a single-use videotape.
Could the 24×7 video post-torture be for purposes of monitoring what happens to the torturee’s metabolic functions after the sessions? Research. Mengele.
If… and it’s a big if… they were monitoring an individual’s vital signs, or some other aspect of the subject prisoner’s physiological state, say, cortisol level, or heart rate variability, the form of the data could come in many forms: chart notes, tape print-out, hook up to computer program, and possibly video to show instrument readings that otherwise can’t be saved. More likely, the video was used to show behavioral signs, which could be coded and then massaged statistically later.
No, we know from the inventory that there were 2 tapes for Nashiri, and 90 for Abu Zubaydah.
My guess is that the 31 showed no activities and 61 showed something interesting. That’s because the OGC lawyer treated them differently, watching them on play or fast play for one category, and watching all the others on play.
In other words, we know he said some had nothing worth watching closely, while others had stuff he had to actually look at.
Ack! I knew I’d wakeup and find you’d buried my beautiful theory. Thanks a bunch. *g*
Well, at least half of it. The “policy” of single tape re-use still stands, right?
And now that you’ve refreshed my Swiss cheese memory with that Inventory, I see by their entries for Detainee # 2, that they did in fact go down the path of that “policy” with al-Nashiri.
Of course, I’m still wondering if they videotaped KSM, but have never admitted so.
Remember that there’s an October 25 cable which may or may not have said everything could be taped over at that point. So it makes sense that they never kept the al-Nashiri vids, since he got to Thailand on November 15.
Yup, that’s what I transcribed in my # 35 above.
“muddle” was the word ew used, more than once in the post that initiated this discussion, to describe one aspect of cia’s recording keeping – congressional briefings.
would that be muddled because cia is yet another cumbersome govt bureaucracy where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, let alone wash it?
of course that’s possible.
or would it be because the cia is being, forgive my suspicion, deliberately deceptive in its traditional way? – “where did that bastard file our recipe for “muddled communications with the “outside” ” “?
according to ew’s post, when the cia meet with ssci chair sen roberts,
roberts gave them 10 reasons right off the bat for there being no need for congressional oversight.
i am willing to assume from this that sen roberts was working from talking points provided by the white house.
the white house stiffed the courts and converted critical congressional leaderdhip – unitary executive indeed.
Just a drive-by comment to highlight how sad things are these days: After seeing the title for this post, I had to read further to answer my first question of whether it was the Bush or Obama White House whose bad actions we are discussing…
so very sad, but true Jim.
This was obvious, I thought, throughout Robert’s (cough) “oversight”… everything… every-thing having to do w/Iraq, some of which RoTL reviewed @32, Robert’s was a limp, spineless pass-through-bot for every-single-act of malfeasance throughout this affair.
Even after all this time, I’m still a bit overwhelmed when reminded of vast scope BushCo employed in not just this (Iraq/torture/Levelling Lebanon etc etc.), but K-Street: eg repeatedly (I have over 100 records of this) bringing industry reps into WH, giving them formal position, allow them to write desired legislation, use WH staff to usher said legislation through congress, said rep returns to industry for the “harvest”.
They covered for Enron, covered for Ca. Energy crisis… blamed the victims (literally): I thought at the time it was retribution for Calif having voted overwhelmingly for Gore.
US Attn scandal, and subtext therein of politicizing those offices in support of voting shenanigans all over country: 1/2 Ohio GOP elected officials in cahuts w/them in service of fixing ’04 elections went to jail.
Which taken in totality… really, going back to GOP constant hit squad mentality during Clinton years, makes me all the more forlorn over Obaama, given his (seeming) intent to make nice w/these clowns.
Hard to fathom.
Wow, what a post and thread! Thanks, everyone.
Have Bush and the Cheney Gang ever been the subjects of a “microexpressions” examination?
“According to Muller, the match was perfect and the lawyer who did the review was satisfied that the interrogations were carried out in full accordance with the guidance.”
As good as transcriptions are there will always be errors. To assert that the lawyers arrived at “perfect” transcription is a bit troubling especially if they shared data and views.
The only way to assure accuracy without intentional deletion, alteration, or substitution would have been to have three transcribers view the tapes independently. They should have preserved their independent notes. Where there is variance from the others notes the pair with the same transcription would be accurate. I would doubt that they did this, but certainly the notes from the transcribers might show subsequent editing marks or alterations from primary to secondary copies.
From a 2002 paper published in APA’s Journal of Applied Psychology. One of the authors, G. Daniel Lassiter, has been researching the issue of videotaped interrogations for about 20 years. I’d love someone to research his findings, as I may not have the time.
Jeff, there is literally a lot of this type of stuff out there if you look for it. At one time, I had file boxes full of studies, notes, transcripts from expert depos etc. As to the point about jurors though, generally the video would not be shown to jurors because of the issues noted, rather any confession or other required portion would be transcribed or reduced to audio only.
Yes, lots of stuff. I’m not really interested in the jury studies, though for the professional it must be important. I’m curious what they were doing in Thailand, Camp No, etc.
I’m interested in things like this, presented at 2005 International Conferenceon Intelligence Analysis, sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production:
You can’t go to the link at Mitre, where this is housed, because you get a message that someone may be tampering with your connection.
See the list of different studies — but I advise not clicking on any specific one, past the page I link to here — at http://cryptome.org/intel-2005.htm
I am very familiar with Jay Nunamaker and CMI at the U of A. If you really need something, let me know; it has been a long time, but I still have contacts there.
Hmmm @93: actually, it hasn’t been established, certainly not from the documents released. I’ve been working on this particularly story on and off for a few months and it picked up again over the past couple of weeks. Right now, I’m the only one reporting this. I feel very confident about the veracity of the information I got om this from my sources, who were intel sources as opposed to people from SSIC. I am planning on following this particular story up and hope to actually find out if there was in fact an outside contractor who installed a second taping system, as has been claimed. Still, with all of that said, the only people saying this are unnamed sources and me. So while I appreciate the kind words from Jeff and that others here have taken the time to read my report, the case is far from having been made about another taping system. I hope others do follow it up though. And I intend to as well.
Well, for Chrissakes, be careful.
I don’t want to sound paranoid, nor do I want to send anyone down rabbit warrens. Nor do I want to make any false accusations.
But under “Brainstorming” as a category of thinking, I’ll remind you that Mitchell Wade’s MZM got the contract to set up … whatever (we’ve never really been told) in Cheney’s office back in 2002. I’ll note that the timing of the MZM contract certainly seems to fit with the Torture Timelines incidents we know.
Now recall that Mitchell Wade was the buddy of Dusty Foggo (#3 at CIA when Porter Goss came in and his Gosslings apparently made the professionals nuts).
Recall that the FBI went to Foggo’s house one afternoon and hauled a bunch of stuff out of it. (What they hauled out, I have no idea.)
Well, I dunno that I’m anything close to on the trail, but I did google results for EW + MZM, because I know that she’s where I first read about MZM, Wade, and Foggo.
Someone left an interesting comment on this old TNH post, which also happens to mention the possibility that a Wade-Foggo affiliate (Kontagianis?) was probably laundering money through mortgage fraud** including:
If there was a second system, and it’s quite likely that there was (given bureaucratic mindsets for duplication and the OVP’s desire to control info), then it could certainly make sense that there was a new system wired into OVP.
This might also explain the whole notion of some interrogators being quoted as saying they wanted to stop, but someone else insisted they continue. (Sorry… don’t have a link handy, but I’m guessing that Jeff Kaye has several bookmarks to this effect?). I’ve always assumed that someone watching via video transmissions told them to keep going, and that whoever that was was superior enough that the ‘contractors’ and/or CIA interrogators were obedient to whoever made the commands. (I say this without scorn; it would have been dangerous for anyone to stand up to Cheney and/or Addington and/or Scooter Libby, etc, etc, etc). But this would also help explain Liz Cheney’s yelpy hysterics whenever the topic of torture is raised. (ahem……)
Such a dynamic could certainly be explained if MZM and/or Dusty Foggo’s wild-and-reckless attitudes were able to ‘coordinate’ with OVP by being the Lucky Insiders Granted the Contract To Wire Video (oh, excuse me, I’m supposed to call it “furniture”) into OVP’s office.
It might also help explain why Mueller insisted that no FBI agents ever participate in torture interrogation sessions with CIA.
He may have obtained info about video interactions that really disturbed him; in which case, here’s hoping the FBI has evidence.
I’m **not** saying that this occurred.
It’s a possibility.
But that’s all it is.
However… I’d recommend you start with that old TNH thread, Jason.
** Well, it’s finally hitting me: if Cheney, et al, were using Kontagiannis and his network to launder money for black ops and black budgets, that would certainly help explain why the BushCheney cabal turned a deaf ear to the pleas of the FBI, which was alarmed about rampant mortgage fraud and practically begging for money for more agents to investigate mortgage fraud.
This would also tie in with USAG firings, almost certainly.
‘special computer programming services’ could include digital video feeds.
That doesn’t mean that they did.
It does, however, mean that they could have.
What I meant by this:
If someone was watching an interrogation on a video feed, and the contractor wanted to stop, they might get ‘overruled’ by someone watching via the video feed.
Cheney would have sought out like-minded, close-mouthed allies to entrust with putting in something like a digital video system. Recall that according to Sy Hersh’s reporting, the CheneyBots (Eliot Abrams, Wolfowitz, Perle, and the rest of the neocons) were determined to keep the military and the CIA ‘out of it.’ They intended to run it out of OVP, and putting out a contract to MZM would have fit that bill.
Other than that, I got nuttin’.
I thought I had nuttin’.
Then I clicked on yet another googled link for my search, and found this at an old Democratic Underground post:
First: I don’t know what I think about Democratic Underground as a source of info; I don’t actually read it that often.
Second: if this passage is accurate… then I’m dumber than a donut. Has everyone else around here assumed that MZM was involved in helping Rhodes, Chalabi, and G*d-only-knows-who-else plant bogus WMD in Iraq? Because if that’s actually true, I’m feeling really stupid to be connecting the dots this tardily…
Do you mean “taping,” or do you mean “recording”? Taping implies a particular physical medium, but “recording” could refer to a variety of media.
Bob in AZ
Thanks Bob for keeping the “taping” / “recording” distinction alive. Now that there is some support for the existence of a second, digital recording system, blurring that distinction may leave us a bit vulnerable to misdirection or misinterpretation of the evidence.
That’s a really good distinction, Bob. And thanks for making it. The use of the word “taping” was my word and was meant to represent “recording.” The was used as a sort of general way to describe “recording” (which is how I used it back in the day to describe everything from “taping” Dead concerts to “taping” a television show) and that’s what I had thought it implied when I wrote it. But I see how important it is to distinguish between the two. So thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Heh, well, understand when Judge Brinkema was contemplating it, the scope of what a Federal trial court considers inclusive is not particularly based upon disingenuous parsing. This is an extremely common kind of consideration and anybody who practices at the level damn well knows it. The contemplation is very broad.
Naturally. The parsing comes in elsewhere. Because the folks doing the responding to Judge Brinkema were representing very very guilty people, and were under terrific pressure from the client, and were relying on additional internal counsel and support staff and experts and archivists and participants to perform the searches — all of whom must have also been under simply terrific pressure to do everything possible to minimize potentially very very very bad outcomes both for particular individuals and for the Agency at large.
Perhaps a few of them will wind up paying a little for all that was done.
If U.S. soldiers were captured and these same torture methods were used on them. The U.S. would not have a leg to stand on.
I do think it will be interesting to see if the Senate Intel Committee does a thorough job on their review of AZ’s case and torture.