Jay Rockefeller and the Torture Tape Investigation

I’ve been writing a lot about the way CIA gamed briefings with Congress so they could destroy evidence of torture: how they created potentially misleading records about the September 2002 briefings with destroying the torture tapes in mind, how they created a record of Pat Roberts’ approval for destroying the torture tapes in February 2003 but not Harman’s disapproval of them, and how Crazy Pete Hoekstra got a really suspicious briefing the morning the torture tapes were destroyed.

But I’ve been neglecting the role Jay Rockefeller may play in all this.

Yesterday’s AP-hosted CIA spin made a big deal of Harriet Miers’ early 2005 order that CIA not destroy the torture tapes.

In early 2005, Rizzo received a similar order from the new White House counsel, Harriet Miers. The CIA was not to destroy the tapes without checking with the White House first.

It’s in that context where they list all the requests that might cover the videotapes and explain why they weren’t legally binding on the CIA: three judges orders and the 9/11 Commission request.

But that narrative left out a few more data points. Oddly, the AP seems to make nothing of John Negroponte’s warning to Porter Goss–issued on or before July 28, 2005–not to destroy the torture tapes. Maybe that’s because it reveals that months after Rizzo got the order from Harriet Miers, the Director of CIA was still actively discussing destroying the tapes. Maybe that’s because, given Goss’ apparent happiness with Rodriguez’ destruction of the tapes in November 2005, the evidence that Goss was considering destroying them three months earlier suggests complicity.

Now consider the two requests from Jay Rockefeller for John McPherson’s report on the torture tapes.

In May 2005, I wrote the CIA Inspector General requesting over a hundred documents referenced in or pertaining to his May 2004 report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation activities. Included in my letter was a request for the CIA to provide to the Senate Intelligence Committee the CIA’s Office of General Counsel report on the examination of the videotapes and whether they were in compliance with the August 2002 Department of Justice legal opinion concerning interrogation. The CIA refused to provide this and the other detention and interrogation documents to the committee as requested, despite a second written request to CIA Director Goss in September 2005.

It was during this 2005 period that I proposed without success, both in committee and on the Senate floor, that the committee undertake an investigation of the CIA’s detention and interrogation activities. In fact, all members of the congressional intelligence committees were not fully briefed into the CIA interrogation program until the day the President publicly disclosed the program last September. [my emphasis]

So in May 2005, Rockefeller asked John Helgerson for McPherson’s report. Then in September 2005, Rockefeller asked Porter Goss for the report directly. And Porter Goss–the guy who was actively considering destroying the torture tapes in July 2005 and who ultimately applauded Rodriguez’ success in destroying them–completely blew off Rockefeller’s request.

Mind you, Rockefeller asked for the report on the tapes, not the tapes themselves. But we now know that the report lacked any mention of the things noted in the IG Report: descriptions of the broken and blank tapes. We also know that the report didn’t do what is was purportedly intended to do: review whether the torturers had followed guidelines on torture.

Had Rockefeller gotten that report in 2005–in response to either his request of Helgerson or his request directly of Goss–he would have had good reason to at least suspect that the CIA had been engaging in a cover-up in November 2002 to January 2003, when it claimed to have reviewed whether Abu Zubaydah’s torturers followed DOJ guidelines but really did no such thing. He would have had reason to wonder why a lawyer, having reviewed tapes with abundant evidence of tampering, hadn’t even bothered to mention that tampering.

Which probably would have led him to ask for the tapes.

Mind you, like the 9/11 Commission, Rockefeller didn’t subpoena the report (as he noted, his push for a torture investigation was thwarted, presumably by then SSCI Chair Pat Roberts, the guy who had signed off on destroying the tapes).

But for some reason the CIA doesn’t want to admit it had this request pertaining to the torture tapes, in addition to all the requests from judges.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Sure would have been nice to know this BEFORE the Statute of Limitations expired.

    Oh, wait. We did.

    Boxturtle (“Nevermind” – Rosanne Rosanadana)

    • emptywheel says:

      Some of the statutes have expired (on torture that happened before July 2002. But questions about destroying tapes to keep them out of Jello Jay’s hands would be about obstruction. SOL for that expires in November.

            • harpie says:

              Thanks. I guess I’m confused about this part [[email protected]]:

              Some of the statutes have expired (on torture that happened before July 2002 […].

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Prediction: Nothing chargeable will be discovered before then.

        Boxturtle (Yeah, I know.I’m really out on a limb there)

        • bobschacht says:

          Prediction: Nothing chargeable will be discovered before then.

          I dunno. I’ll bet a lot depends on the White House read on Republican prospects for regaining control of the House. If they think the Republican brand is making a comeback, a few nicely placed indictments could remind folks about what Republicanism has stood for, for the past 10 years. The Durham results are waiting in the wings.

          Bob in AZ

          • BoxTurtle says:

            And they’ll be waiting there until November. ObamaLLP does not want to open this can of worms, it’s a path that could lead right to Cheney and Bush.

            Boxturtle (Rats are dangerous when cornered)

              • BoxTurtle says:

                Sure. The dems had subpoena power and look how far it got them under Bush. How many times did Gonzo declare forgetfulness? They’ll take their sternly worded letters like men!

                The GOP has shown much more party loyalty tha the Dems, so there might be some risk.

                Boxturtle (Rep. Issa, Rahm is on the phone. He has some tapes he’d like to play for you)

                • bobschacht says:

                  The dems had subpoena power and look how far it got them under Bush. How many times did Gonzo declare forgetfulness? They’ll take their sternly worded letters like men!

                  But that was the feckless Democrats. You seem to be forgetting what the Republicans did with their subpoena powers when they took control of the House while Clinton was President. They did more than write sternly worded letters. That’s the script they’re following.

                  Bob in AZ

      • Mary says:

        And if you don’t file obstruction per se, but do file some “reachy” SOX claim instead at the last minute and it gets tossed, oh well.

        You’ll by then have passed your obstruction filing deadlines.

          • DWBartoo says:

            This is now the “philosophy” of the “law”?

            IT has come to THIS?

            Gosh, one can hardly wait … ’til it trickles …”down”.

            (No question about it … one doesn’t know, should that end with a period or a question mark?)

            (An exclamation point, perhaps?)


            • ghostof911 says:

              There is dark humor in Act 3 when the arch villains believe they have escaped judgement because they have hired the most clever lawyers.

              The tables get turned in Acts 4 and 5.

                    • ghostof911 says:

                      Simply making a reference to Ovid. Every display of arrogance by mortal man meets an unpleaseant outcome as a result of some god’s anger.

                      I personally will be satistifed to learn from which Air Force base the drones that struck the towers were launched.

                    • DWBartoo says:

                      Thank heavens the gods are not arrogant, merely those who would be.

                      Who (or what) is “our” Augustus?

                      Beyond money, that is …

                      Let us make no mention of reason, or of humanity, for then the gods would weep. Or laugh.


                    • ghostof911 says:

                      There is more humanity in the people and creatures around us than in any of the gods of Ovid’s world. Those who know nothing of arrogance; for that matter, they know nothing this side of perfect innocence. They are not here to judge. The villains will end up being judges of themselves.

                      My money is on Fort Drum being the launchpad of the missiles that struck the towers. Any other suggestions?

                    • bmaz says:

                      My suggestion is that you don’t waste our time with truther conspiracy junk, whether it is thermite or “missiles from Ft. Drum”. That is not what we do here, and there is little to no patience for it.

      • timbo says:

        Obstructing the current investigation by the DOJ would still be well on the books for several years from now. Let’s hope they actually deposed folks about those tapes and are actively following up on the inconsistencies in any depositions and/or grand jury testimony.

        • Mary says:

          If they go with a SOX based claim that carves out the act of destruction only, with no obstruction of Congerss or other cases and no claims based on the torture, etc. – there won’t be much that has to be declassified and not many inconsistencies to be followed up on.

    • DWBartoo says:

      And why does Congress not feel any impetus to push harder? How may Congress just allow themselves to be ignored, lied to and generally reduced to rubber-stamping anything and everything the Executive wants, desires, or merely hints would please it?

      Such actions are profiles in what?

      Is it coherent expediency (Gah! if we don’t “go along” they will reveal …”) or is it fundamental belief that the Executive knows “better”, knows things that Congress cannot (and would rather not) know?

      Is it just part of the “game”, the serious, sometimes deadly, “game”.

      Does Congress put up with such things because it is easier than working for a living, easier to do little or nothing than to do the job they are paid, rather handsomely, to do? Perhaps they are not paid enough?

      Why is so little information shared by Congress with the people they supposedly represent? Especially, when that information really matters.

      Say, before the nation is committed to war, for example?

      At best, Congress is simply pathetic.

      And, as Uncle Walter used to say, “…and that’s the way it is …”

      Apparently, we need not brace ourselves for meaningful change.



        • DWBartoo says:

          Then, they would have only the corporations to $upport and appreciate them, harpie, which would be SUCH a change as to shake the pillars of human civilization and the world.

          Who could imagine such a thing?


      • BoxTurtle says:

        And why does Congress not feel any impetus to push harder?

        Because they don’t want to push harder.

        Boxturtle (Another edition of simple answers to simple questions)

        • DWBartoo says:

          Is that a natural tendency or related to the widespread stance of the Executive having the “bads” on the po’ pathetic lil’ critters?

          Or is it a happy mix of the two, seeing as these critters are so complex and nuanced and so on and so forth … amen?


      • ghostof911 says:

        Apparently, we need not brace ourselves for meaningful change.

        Change is inevitable. Only it will not come in a way that no one expects.

  2. ghostof911 says:

    One who has a tendency to think outside the box might consider the major focus on the torture tapes as a planned diversion to prevent anyone from asking who in the U.S. government brought torture into the picture. And for what purpose.

  3. harpie says:


    Four days before Nora Dannehy was appointed to investigate the Bush Administration’s U.S. attorney firing scandal, a team of lawyers she led was found to have illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case.

    More on the Latest DOJ Whitewash; Scott Horton; 7/26/10

  4. klynn says:

    Hey EW,

    Go back and read the Goss Op Ed from April 2009. Reading it knowing now that Jay wrote twice and requested the report (even writing Goss directly) on the tapes gives a whole new perspective to the intent of the obstruction.

  5. Mary says:

    I’d have to look back at it now, but IIRC the lawyer who did the “review” sounded like, even notwithstanding the tampering, he was perhaps engaging in some hypertechnicality himself.

    You will probably remember better, but again just my iffy recollection, he was very careful to phrase his review as not being whether or not legal advice was complied with, and not being a review to catalog what was actually on the tapes, but instead as a review to see if what was described in the cables was on the tapes. So, iow (and tie this to the “technically” speaking language in the AP article on the destruction despite pending cases to get the mindset of these guys) if the cable said we did A, and the video shows A, B, C, D, E, F – the lawyer doing the review was saying that as long as the video showed A, then it did show what the cable said.

    Again – I might be misremembering this, but that’s how the language struck me at the time, it seemed like it was very carefully worded – the cable said they did A, did they do A, Yes (and nowhere the “and did they do anything else”)

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s precisely the point I made in my AP piece yesterday, and what I’m referring to when I say that Jello Jay would have found that they hadn’t done what they said they were doing with the review.

      • Mary says:

        Depending on how trusting someone might have been, though (particularly at the time), a representation that the tapes showed what was on the cable (I can’t remember the reviewers specific language) might, particularly if you weren’t looking at that statement to try to parse it as a torture cover up, but instead as a good faith communication with Congress, have not provoked a lot of response. I can see that slipping through – the tampering is a bit more dramatic though.

        • emptywheel says:

          Thing is, Jello Jay had already read about the tampering–that was in the IG report (and it’s probably one of the reasons he asked to see the report, bc it’s the reason why I’ve been paying so much attention to the report, if for no other reason to pinpoint when it was tampered with). But the IG Report did not explain–at least not in the unclassified version–that the report didn’t do what it said it did. So JJ would have had to look closely. Though, to be fair, it sounds like he was trying sort of kind of to look closely.

          • DWBartoo says:

            One does wonder which end of the telescope he was “looking” through?

            (And what direction it was “pointed” in?)


          • Mary says:

            I can buy that he was trying to look closely – I’d just (and I bet you can’t I’m saying this) have been willing to give a buy if he didn’t catch that. CIA should not have been playing these kind of games with Congress and the Courts and either their inhouse lawyers or DOJ should have some responsiblity for not letting it happen.

            For that matter, we still aren’t seeing any justice for the missionary family the CIA helped shoot down and partially exterminate. Some of the same lawyers names come up on that and Congress has been just as inactive on that and since Hoekstra has been livid over it (involving his constituents) you can’t tell me that they couldn’t have have bipartisan support for accountability on that. The family should be allowed to look the men who targeted their wife/mother and infant son/brother for killing in the eye.

            If we can’t even get that – accountability for paricipation in targetting a plane carrying a US missionary family and killing a mother with her infant in her arms – I don’t see how we ever get accountability for anything else. The missionary killings and the torture sites are linked very tightly in my mind and I don’t know anyone I’ve ever spoken with who was against accountability for those killings. The old legal saw is to take your best facts case to make your precedent – it’s getting far too late, but that might still be an option.

            • emptywheel says:

              Dunno. If he asked for that many things, it means he was reading the IG report almost as closely as I was. To the best of my knowledge, Jello Jay and I are the only ones who have ever mentioned it, which is why I’m the only one talking about the content of McPherson’s report.

                  • BoxTurtle says:

                    Oddy, I agree. I think Jay IS hammering on it, but in classified sessions in accordance with the law. He just seemed honestly pissed about something and if he’s anything like the West Virginia side of my family, he’ll do something about that.

                    Boxturtle (I’ll bet the letter he sealed in his safe is a VERY sternly worded letter)

                  • DWBartoo says:

                    Some people’s hunches, their intuitive sensibilities, are golden.

                    MY intuition suggests that YOURS are, very often, such.

                    So, I kindle a wee bit of hope and appreciate the “spark” that it might burst into such flames as will warm our hearts and serve as a beacon in this long night of lawlessness, deceit and despair.


                    • AitchD says:

                      I just donated $50 more to help “support Marcy Wheeler” (the button is at the top of the page). If you ask me,I think it’s pathetic that the fund didn’t reach $150K long ago.

                    • Gitcheegumee says:

                      Hope the Falls Church address for snail mail is still valid.

                      EW, bmaz-can y’all verify?

                    • AitchD says:

                      My interface has become a virtual snail mail, like command-line DOS or Unix since I disabled the AutoFill function in my browser. Last week a proof-of-concept security breach was announced, no fix yet, so I have to type in everything.

                      (I just tried bolding some bits of text, using the handy FDL tool bar. Let’s see how it looks…)

                    • MadDog says:

                      Speaking of addresses, what’s this on your Twitter feed about moving?

                      And if that’s too personal a question, just ignore me. *g*

                    • MadDog says:


                      Good on Mr. EW for the new job!

                      Wish the EW family all the best as you deal with the changes!

                    • klynn says:

                      I hope the move, despite the NN timing, in the end is a good move.

                      Fill coolers with Zingerman’s!

                    • phred says:

                      A pity it isn’t to the other side of the lake… You would like the land of Cheese and Packers ; )

                    • phred says:

                      Hahahaha… Rodgers’ Pack is NOT gonna finish 2nd to that waffling geriatric gasbag (“I might be doing this when I’m 50” — in Pop Warner maybe ; )

                      And speaking of my favorite QB (here’s lookin’ at you bmaz), you can’t have him ; )

                      Go Pack! And that means you EW, what with the move and all…

                    • bmaz says:

                      I dunno, the geriatric dude kicked their ass quite soundly twice last year. He may be old, but if Ted Thompson is on the other side, I think the old Geezer will find some game in him for the occasion.

                    • phred says:

                      I suppose it doesn’t really need to be said, but I will anyway… I cannot wait for Football Trash Talk to begin again bmaz! It’s gonna be a fun year ; )

                      EW, an excellent point about the ferry, but the real question is how do you get McCaffery in the stadium? ; )

                      Equidistant from Lambeau, Soldiers Field, and Ford Field? The Mr. found himself the perfect job ; )

                    • emptywheel says:

                      The perfect job? Only if the Lions start playing Varsity.

                      And besides, who wouldn’t let a dog named after Eddie McCaffrey into a football stadium (though Lambeau probably isn’t the best one for him).

                    • bmaz says:

                      They let dogs in at the mistake by the lake if you can bring yourself to go to a Browns game (somebody has to, right?).

                    • bmaz says:

                      Yes, now all we have to do is turn Mr. EW into a Vikings fan!

                      Yes, I am jonesing for football too. It will come soon enough.

                    • phred says:

                      Historically the Irish have not been too keen on Vikings. I’m just sayin’…

                      And EW, you know that McCaffrey would love to snag some freshly grilled brats in the parking lot before going to play in the snow at Lambeau. I think I know which stadium the Millenium dog is most hoping to sneak into — hint, it’s in Title Town : )

                    • bmaz says:

                      Thompson’s unceremonious dumping of Favre was like Red Sox owner Harry Frazee selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in order to get cash to finance a Broadway musical; it brought on a curse. The Pack is now cursed, and it will not be lifted, and there will be no Super Bowl title, until Brett is retired and Ted Thompson is fired.

                    • emptywheel says:

                      Oh, I would. And if only the damn ferry would allow dogs, I’d be equidistant from Soldier field, Lion stadium, and Lambeau.

                      That said, given the location (and the Pats date in Detroit on Turkey day) I might have to be going to a lot of games this year.

                    • earlofhuntingdon says:

                      Well, a nicer shoreline and Sleeping Bear Dunes won’t be that far away, plus it will be easier to drive to the UP. It could be quite a shock, though, leaving the PR of Ann Arbor. I would miss it.

                    • emptywheel says:

                      Nah, actually A2 to UP is quick–right up 23–so long as you avoid traffic.

                      But I will be closer to Chicago.

                      I will miss the People’s Republic.

                      But hey–given the housing market, I may have a weekend home in A2 and a weekday home in W MI for the short to medium term.

                    • bobschacht says:

                      WHAT??? No more AA? No more chance to see you on my annual pilgrimages to the Alma Mater (and my brother in Romeo)?

                      Well, I guess congrats are due to Mr. EW. I hope he thrives in his new job.

                      Bob in AZ

    • pdaly says:

      How calculating on the part of (is it just McPherson?).

      I guess the courts know this game can be played, otherwise they wouldn’t force witnesses to swear “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

      I was curious to hear your take on Rockefeller’s referral to the August 2002 DoJ’s correspondence with CIA as “legal opinion.” If Rockefeller thought it was a reliance memo, would he be expected to know and use those words? Or would “legal opinion” be a layman’s term for “reliance memo”? Maybe we could ask him.

      Included in my letter was a request for the CIA to provide to the Senate Intelligence Committee the CIA’s Office of General Counsel report on the examination of the videotapes and whether they were in compliance with the August 2002 Department of Justice legal opinion concerning interrogation.

      [my bold]

  6. Mary says:

    BTW – I’m so glad you originally highlighted, and now again have mentioned, the Negroponte warning EW. It never gets mentioned.

    • klynn says:

      Looking at the Negroponte warning and the two requests from Jay as well as Pelosi not being briefed, against the OpEd Goss wrote in April 2009, makes Goss look very bad.

      Very, very bad.

      From the Goss OpEd:

      Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

      (my bold)

      Looks like Goss could be a case subject on Psychological projection.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Does it bother anyone else that Porter Goss, co-chair of the House Ethics Office, LAUGHED at the destruction of CIA torture tape

        Submitted by EFerrari on 16. April 2010 – 14:13

        World Affairs & IraqI was bothered way back when Nancy Pelosi accepted his nomination to this office after he resigned from the CIA. His CIA career started in a black ops/death squad known as Operation 40 and that’s searchable. It’s not a secret.


        But yesterday the NYT’s reports that he laughed at the thought of “taking heat” for the destruction of the CIA torture tapes?

        “Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he “agreed” with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Mr. Rodriguez offered to “take the heat” for destroying the tapes.

        “PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat,” according to one of the document, an internal C.I.A. e-mail message.”


        Former Chief Spook Tapped For House Ethics Review Board | TPMMuckrakerJul 24, 2008 … But even though this doesn’t surprise me it still totally horrifies me. Porter Goss! To head an ethics review board! Sweet and sour Jesus. …
        tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/…/former_chief_spook_tapped_for.php – Cached

        Porter Goss — Sunlight Foundation BlogFeb 25, 2009 … Office of Congressional Ethics Member Has Past Ethics Questioned … Porter Goss (R-FL) at the House Intelligence Committee in 2000. …
        blog.sunlightfoundation.com/taxonomy/term/Porter-Goss/ – Cached

        Does it bother anyone else that Porter Goss, co-chair of the House …2 posts – 1 author
        Pelosi appointed hired assassin to ethics commission … then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he “agreed” …
        http://www.thomhartmann.com/…/does-it-bother-anyone-else-porter-goss-co-chair-house-ethics-office-laughed-destructio – Cached

        • DWBartoo says:

          It bothers.

          It more than bothers.

          But it doesn’t bother the “right” people.

          It doesn’t bother the law, which cannot laugh … or cry.

          It would offend Justice, but she is gone …

          It offends humanity, but humanity has no voice that is heard or heeded.

          Does it disturb the crickets?

          I haven’t heard.


  7. ghostof911 says:

    The GOP has shown much more party loyalty than the Dems…

    They’re bound together by their pledge of omerta.

  8. behindthefall says:

    So just what DOES constitute a legally binding request to the CIA? Is one even possible? If one is possible, why did these smart people not issue one?

      • DWBartoo says:

        One would imagine that honest “deficit hawks” would be circling ’round this combined $17.9 billion … with hard questions and considerable disgust. One would imagine that Congress would be on this, at least for the “show” …

        However, scaring the bejeebus out the old and the poor appears to have all their attentions … other than saving the tax cuts for the haves and have-mores …

        Perhaps, fatster, the money has been “raptured” and gone to its own virtuous reward?

        (Along with those porcine flyers that flapped by … that night …?)


  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    So in May 2005, Rockefeller asked John Helgerson for McPherson’s report. Then in September 2005, Rockefeller asked Porter Goss for the report directly. And Porter Goss–the guy who was actively considering destroying the torture tapes in July 2005 and who ultimately applauded Rodriguez’ success in destroying them–completely blew off Rockefeller’s request—EW

    NOTE: Exactly one year later, in May 2006,Goss abruptly resigns as top capo of CIA. SOL,much?

    Porter Goss – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaOn May 5, 2006 Goss’ resignation from the CIA directorship was announced at a … “The idea of a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) dates to 1955 when …

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_Goss – Cached – Similar

    Think Progress » BREAKING: CIA Director Porter Goss ResignsMay 5, 2006 … – CIA Director Goss Resigns… …. Was CIA Director Porter Goss’ abrupt resignation because he’s about to get exposed as …

    thinkprogress.org/…/breaking-cia-director-porter-goss-resigns/ – Cached – Similar

  10. lakeeffectsnow says:

    Unless Americans hold their leaders accountable for their criminal conduct, even if it means the death penalty, future leaders will commit crimes as well, a prominent law school dean warns.

    “Unless and until this starts being done, and I stress the need for the gallows when the crime warrants it, we will never be without major crooks, without causers of major disasters, in big business, in government, in economics and in war,” writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover and an award-winning essayist.

    “Unless and until we start sending the even worse criminal warmongers and torture mongers to the gallows, we will in the long run keep getting more of the same. We will recoil from the disaster only to find ourselves facing a similar economic or warmongering disaster five or ten or twenty years from now,” Velvel wrote.


    i would wholeheartedly volunteer to be on the gallows crew. my list is quite lengthy and we need to get started.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      I once read that the difference between criminal and non criminal behavior is motivation.

      Non criminal behavior concerns itself with what is right and what is wrong.

      Criminal behavior is motivated simply by what it can get away with…and how many times it can get away with it…before getting caught.

    • DWBartoo says:

      We lack one important ingredient, les, the rule of law.

      To start doing as you suggest, without it, you would have to be quite like those whose behavior, you claim, with great justification, to deplore …

      And, with such an appetite for the gallows, indigestion, surely, awaits …


    • klynn says:

      Starting at the 40 minute mark is eye opening. Minute 46 on, very interesting.

      Would enjoy spending some time with Joe Wilson today after watching Blix.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Thank you,and klynn.

      India Times already has a Guardian UK report on it. Quite eyeopening.

      Iraq intelligence was poor, says BlixJul 27, 2010 … Former head of UN weapons inspectors tells Chilcot inquiry ‘alarm bells’ … Blix’s testimony follows concerns raised last week by Eliza …


    • DWBartoo says:

      Thank you, 1 boringoldman (one rather suspects … “not”), for that link.

      As klynn says @58, “around” the 40.00 minute point, Blix says, America was “presumptuous” in dismissing the UN security council … threatening to go off on their own as regarded Iraq… and “high” on the military …

      Yet Blix says, Obama claims he will be “different” …


  11. AitchD says:

    CIA – and the others – apparently (hahaha) have Pardonable Immunity to lie while under oath.

    Is there any evidence that Goss himself acknowledged receipt of the Rockefeller ‘letter’? It’s one thing to sign for an envelope; quite another to break the envelope’s seal; and so on.

    (Cynical take: sometimes good-faith letters are intended as a heads-up and watch your backside.)

    Don’t you remember when Ted Kennedy during Judiciary told Arlen Specter, then Chairman, that he sent him a letter with blah-blah in it, and Specter interrupted saying, Yeah, you sent me a letter but it doesn’t mean I read the letter.

    We’re different here. EW sends us stuff to read, we read it.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      A couple of threads back,”Pelosi: Members are Taking Votes…”, I left you a msg at end of thread.

      • AitchD says:

        My secretary ran off with my cabana boy this morning, which would explain why I wasn’t informed in a timely manner. My dog is writing these replies, by the way.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          It’s impossible to get good help these days.

          If only the “help” were as loyal and talented …..s/

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          I seem to be repeating myself far too frequently these days…in general…perhaps you could do the “honors”?

          • AitchD says:

            [from Pelosi: Members Are Taking Votes … You Don’t Know What You’re Voting On
            By: emptywheel Monday July 26, 2010 7:45 am]

            “Gitcheegumee July 27th, 2010 at 11:09 am
            In response to AitchD @ 79 (show text)

            Eisenhower’s farewell address, January 17, 1961. Length 15:30.President of the United States (and former General of the Army) Dwight D. Eisenhower used the term in his Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961:

            A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…
            This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

            In the penultimate draft of the address, Eisenhower initially used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, and thus indicated the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry. But, it is said, that the president chose to strike the word congressional in order to placate members of the legislative branch of the federal government.


            • Gitcheegumee says:

              In the penultimate draft of the address, Eisenhower initially used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, and thus indicated the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry.

              But, it is said, that the president chose to strike the word congressional in order to placate members of the legislative branch of the federal government.

              NOTE: This is what made the post salient to the discussions at hand.

              • AitchD says:

                Absolutely. I’m sorry that my copy/paste wouldn’t retain your bolded parts; one of these days I’ll learn how to use the tools staring me right in the face right up there ^ .

  12. Gitcheegumee says:

    Wikileaks Afghanistan: Osama bin Laden alive‎ – 2 hours ago

    Osama bin Laden is alive and playing a key role in directing the war in Afghanistan, leaked US military files suggest. By John Bingham Osama bin Laden …

    Telegraph.co.uk – 148 related articles »

  13. skdadl says:

    OT, and I hope I’m not duplicating, but a letter of Omar Khadr’s to one of his lawyers has just been published, and I figured anyone with a heart left might want to read this.

    … About this whole MC thing we all don’t believe in and know it’s unfair and know Dennis that there must be somebody to sacrifice to really show the world the unfairness, and really it seems that it’s me. Know Dennis that I don’t want that, I want my freedom and life, but I really don’t see it coming from this way. Dennis you always say that I have an obligation to show the world what is going on down here and it seems that we’ve done every thing but the world doesn’t get it, so it might work if the world sees the US sentencing a child to life in prison, it might show the world how unfair and sham this process is, and if the world doesn’t see all this, to what world am I being released to? A world of hate, unjust and discrimination! I really don’t want to live in a life like this. Dennis justice and freedom have a very high cost and value, and history is a good witness to it, not too far ago or far away how many people sacrificed for the civil right law to take affect …

    Dennis is Dennis Edney, one of Khadr’s Canadian lawyers; Nathan Whitling is the other lawyer, the one who takes the arguments to the higher courts (and wins, except not in practice).

    Omar printed the letter by hand; you can see the facsimile at the Star site.

  14. fatster says:

    How many “hit lists” are there? According to this, there are at least two. If the President wants someone killed, on which list does the name appear?

    “The military’s target list is different from a separate list run by the CIA. The two lists may contain some of the same names — Osama bin Laden, for instance — but they differ because the military and CIA operate under different rules.
    “While the military can only operate in a war zone, the CIA is allowed to carry out covert actions in countries where the U.S. is not at war.
    . . .
    “Also, the CIA uses unmanned aircraft to hunt down and kill terrorists in Pakistan’s lawless border regions where the U.S. military does not operate.’