Did Logistics Guy John Brennan Set Up the Torture Taping System? Did He Buy the Torture Coffin?

[youtube]mRAHa_Po0Kg[/youtube]

This was one of the most interesting little-noticed exchanges at John Brennan’s confirmation hearing last week.

CHAMBLISS: In 2002 what was your knowledge of interrogation videotapes about Abu Zubaydah, and did you seek any information about an Office of General Counsel review of them in 2002?

BRENNAN: I have — I don’t have a recollection of that, Senator.

CHAMBLISS: Of the tapes, or that request?

BRENNAN: At the time, in 2002, I do not know what my involvement or knowledge was at the time of the tapes. I believe that they — I was aware of the Abu Zubaydah debriefings and interrogation sessions being taped.

John Brennan not only knew of the torture tapes but … well, he doesn’t remember whether he asked about the OGC review of torture tapes or not.

As a threshold matter, remember that Brennan was in a logistical role at the time the torture sessions were first taped. He had nothing to do with the development of the techniques, he says. But thus far, I think no one has asked him if he procured any of a number of items the torturers used.

For example, did John Brennan help set up the torture taping system? That would explain how he knew they were taping the sessions.

But that’s not all. Remember, the Office of General Counsel reviewed the torture tapes — originally as a preliminary to them being destroyed in 2002 — to make sure what the torturers did matched what DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel approved them to do.

We know they shouldn’t have. We know the tapes should have shown the torturers exceeding the guidelines of waterboarding. We know the tapes should have shown the torture preceding the date when OLC actually approved it.

And we know the tapes should have shown the torturers putting Abu Zubaydah in a box as part of a mock burial, the only torture technique John Yoo ever labeled illegal.

In short, we know that the tapes should have shown that the torturers exceeded even the limited restrictions OLC put on them.

Instead, by the time OGC reviewed the torture tapes, 15 of the tapes were already partially or entirely destroyed. Some were taped over, some were broken, some showed the taping system had been shut off. 21 hours of Abu Zubaydah’s torture somehow did not remain on the tapes at the time of the OGC review in November to December 2002. As it happened, when the Inspector General later reviewed the tapes and compared what John McPherson, the OGC lawyer who had reviewed the tapes, actually recorded, he discovered that McPherson had found it unremarkable that the torturers were deviating from the guidelines approved by OLC.

But it appears, given Saxby’s comment, that Brennan was not so much interested in what the IG found, but in what McPherson found. Brennan appears to have been interested in what remained on the tapes after they had been partially destroyed, the first time, after the presumably most incriminating aspects of Abu Zubaydah’s torture had been destroyed.

Here’s another question. Did logistics guy John Brennan procure the waterboard the use of which exceeded the guidelines laid out by OLC? More importantly, did logistics guy John Brennan procure the box used to conduct an even-John-Yoo-said-it-was-illegal mock burial? And if so, did John Brennan know that the torturers considered the box a coffin?

Did John Brennan know, because he had done the logistics for the torture program, that the torturers had violated the only law Yoo ever put into place?

It would sure explain why the Obama Administration worked so hard to cover up the torture program.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

8 Responses to Did Logistics Guy John Brennan Set Up the Torture Taping System? Did He Buy the Torture Coffin?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @gracels @dcbigjohn That is a given.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gracels Naw, I have sat with @dcbigjohn My bet is you would actually like him quite a bit! Seriously. And he has passion for border stories
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @KanysLupin @emptywheel @MonaHol Not sure of context or question, but I would imagine prior statuses or placements on a list. Sorry, dunno.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dcbigjohn This is fucking outrageous.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @kdrum Yeah. This is just ugly. I am turning to the Boise State game on ESPN2 I think. Or Netflix and a beer.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @cody_k You are NOT doing very well quarterbacking the USC Trojans tonight. Not very helpful for the ASU Sun Devils. Please do better!
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Will NOBODY rid me of these pesky Bruins?? Jeez. This is what I get for needing help from, and rooting for, ONE TIME, the USC Trojans. #Ugly
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gracels @21law @jacklgoldsmith As much as I hate it, yeah, they are their own little fiefdoms. Again, I go off what I see where I practice.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @21law @gracels @jacklgoldsmith If properly charged and within boundaries of state, yes amenable to process for Rule 8 state speedy trial
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gracels @21law @jacklgoldsmith well, want the conviction for that purpose+willing to lock em up here even if no deport. thats my concern.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @21law @gracels @jacklgoldsmith In fact, willfully itinerant and belligerent to Fed policy when they can be. Think lot of GOP places may be.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @21law @gracels @jacklgoldsmith Ah, thanks. We shall see. But my experience here is county prosecutors are undeterred by Fed policies.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
February 2013
S M T W T F S
« Jan   Mar »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
2425262728