Deuce Martinez

CIA’s Torturers Get Their Scalp

With the news that John Kiriakou will head to prison for 30 months, it’s worth remembering how he got sent there.

It started when CIA officers claimed that when Gitmo defense attorneys provided photos of their clients torturers to them–having independently discovered their identity–the torturers were put at risk. DOJ didn’t believe it was a security risk; CIA disagreed and went to John Brennan. And after Patrick Fitzgerald was brought in to mediate between DOJ and CIA, the prosecution of John Kiriakou resulted.

As a reminder of where this all started, it’s worth reading this March 15, 2010 Bill Gertz article which was, AFAIK, the first public report of the investigation into the John Adams Project. It describes a March 9, 2010 meeting between Fitzgerald and the CIA.

The dispute prompted a meeting Tuesday at CIA headquarters between U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald and senior CIA counterintelligence officials. It is the latest battle between the agency and the department over detainees and interrogations of terrorists.

[snip]

According to U.S. officials familiar with the issue, the current dispute involves Justice Department officials who support an effort led by the American Civil Liberties Union to provide legal aid to military lawyers for the Guantanamo inmates. CIA counterintelligence officials oppose the effort and say giving terrorists photographs of interrogators has exposed CIA personnel and their families to possible terrorist attacks.

[snip]

According to the officials, the dispute centered on discussions for a interagency memorandum that was to be used in briefing President Obama and senior administration officials on the photographs found in Cuba. Justice officials did not share the CIA’s security concerns about the risks posed to CIA interrogators and opposed language on the matter that was contained in the draft memorandum. The memo was being prepared for White House National Security Council aide John Brennan, who was to use it to brief the president.

The CIA insisted on keeping its language describing the case and wanted the memorandum sent forward in that form.

That meeting, of course, would have taken place the day after Fitzgerald was appointed. So immediately after Fitzgerald got put in charge of this investigation, he presumably moderated a fight between DOJ, which didn’t think detainee lawyers pursuing their clients’ torturers via independent means threatened to expose the torturers’ identity directly, and CIA, which apparently claimed to be worried.

What happened with Kiriakou’s sentencing today is many things. But it started as–and is still fundamentally a result of–an effort on the part of CIA to ensure that none of its torturers ever be held accountable for their acts, to ensure that the subjects of their torture never gain any legal foothold to hold them accountable.

The CIA has succeeded in making an object lesson of a man who betrayed their omerta.

Will NYT’s Ombud Encourage a NYT Pre-Sentencing Memo for Bradley Manning, Too?

When I first read Scott Shane’s long profile of John Kiriakou, I thought, “how interesting that the NYT is doing a piece that exposes the government’s double standards just in time for the sentencing of Kiriakou, one of their sources.”

That’s not to say I’m not glad to see the piece: the profile did more to raise the scandal of Kiriakou’s prosecution than just about anything short of a 60 Minutes piece might.

And I’m much less interested in Shane’s references to his own role in Kiriakou’s indictment

Mr. Kiriakou first stumbled into the public limelight by speaking out about waterboarding on television in 2007, quickly becoming a source for national security journalists, including this reporter, who turned up in Mr. Kiriakou’s indictment last year as Journalist B.

[snip]

After Mr. Kiriakou first appeared on ABC, talking with Brian Ross in some detail about waterboarding, many Washington reporters sought him out. I was among them. He was the first C.I.A. officer to speak about the procedure, considered a notorious torture method since the Inquisition but declared legal by the Justice Department in secret opinions that were later withdrawn.

Then I am by this passage.

In 2008, when I began working on an article about the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, I asked him about an interrogator whose name I had heard: Deuce Martinez. He said that they had worked together to catch Abu Zubaydah, and that he would be a great source on Mr. Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks.

He was able to dig up the business card Mr. Martinez had given him with contact information at Mitchell Jessen and Associates, the C.I.A. contractor that helped devise the interrogation program and Mr. Martinez’s new employer.

Mr. Martinez, an analyst by training, was retired and had never served under cover; that is, he had never posed as a diplomat or a businessman while overseas. He had placed his home address, his personal e-mail address, his job as an intelligence officer and other personal details on a public Web site for the use of students at his alma mater. Abu Zubaydah had been captured six years earlier, Mr. Mohammed five years earlier; their stories were far from secret. [my emphasis]

As I have mapped out before, the indictment strongly suggests that Kiriakou was Shane’s source for Martinez’ phone number, and with that suggestion, implies that Shane got Martinez’ identity from Kiriakou rather than one of the 23 other sources he had for the article.

With this passage, Shane rebuts what would have been a key point at trial (and may help Kiriakou in his sentencing). At least according to Shane, he not only learned of Martinez’ identity before he asked Kiriakou about it, but was able to find Martinez’ home address and email on an alumni network site. (Note, Shane doesn’t address whether Kiriakou was the source for the “magic box” technology discussed in the article, about which Kiriakou was also alleged to have lied to CIA’s Publication Review Board.)

In short, the whole article serves as a narrative pre-sentencing memo, offering a range of reasons why Kiriakou should get less than the 30 months his plea deal currently recommends.

Continue reading

The US Attorney for CIA Scrambles to Cover-Up CIA’s Torture, Again

Bmaz just wrote a long post talking about the dilemma John Kiriakou faces as the government and his defense lawyers attempt to get him to accept a plea deal rather than go to trial for leaking the names of people–Thomas Donahue Fletcher and Deuce Martinez–associated with the torture program.

I’d like to look at four more aspects of this case:

  • The timing of this plea deal–reflecting a realization on the part of DOJ that their efforts to shield Fletcher would fail
  • CIA’s demand for a head
  • The improper cession of a special counsel investigation to the US Attorney for Eastern Virginia
  • The ongoing efforts to cover-up torture

The timing of the plea deal

Intelligence Identities Protection Act cases will always be risky to bring. By trying someone for leaking a CIA Agent’s identity, you call more attention to that identity. You risk exposing sources and methods in the course of proving the purportedly covert agent was really covert. And–as the case against Scooter Libby proved–IIPA often requires the testimony of spooks who lie to protect their own secrets.

There is a tremendous irony about this case in that John Kiriakou’s testimony in the Libby case would have gone a long way to prove that Libby knew Valerie Plame was covert when he started leaking her name, but now-Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer talked Patrick Fitzgerald out of having Kiriakou testify. Small world.

Bmaz notes that the docket suggests the rush to make a plea deal came after Leonie Brinkema ruled, on October 16, that the government didn’t need to prove Kiriakou intended to damage the country by leaking the names of a bunch of torturers. That ruling effectively made it difficult for Kiriakou to prove he was whistleblowing, by helping lawyers defending those who have been tortured figure out who the torturers were.

But the rush for a plea deal also comes after Matthew Cole and Julie Tate filed initial responses to Kiriakou’s subpoena on October 11. And after the government filed a sealed supplement to their CIPA motion that same day.

While both Cole and Tate argued that if they testified they’d have to reveal their confidential sources, Tate also had this to say in her declaration.

In 2008, my colleagues and I were investigating the CIA’s counterterrorism program now known as Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program” (the “RDI Program”).

[snip]

I understand that defense counsel has subpoenaed me to testify about the methods I may have used to obtain the identity of CIA officers during 2008 while I was researching the RDI program.

Tate doesn’t say it explicitly, but it’s fairly clear she was able to get the identity of CIA officers involved in the torture program. Her use of the plural suggests she may have been able to get the identity of more than just Thomas Fletcher and Deuce Martinez. And she says she would have to reveal the research methods by which she was able to identify CIA officers who were supposedly covert.

Continue reading

Putting the Torture Back in the Torture Whistleblowing Case

Kevin Gosztola has suggested and Josh Gerstein has confirmed that, along with Matthew Cole and Scott Shane, John Kiriakou has subpoenaed the Washington Post’s Julie Tate to give a deposition in his leak case.

The Shane subpoena is unsurprising. After all, it’s pretty clearly DOJ found Kiriakou through Shane’s June 22, 2008 story for which he claims to have 24 sources. Meaning any of the 23 other sources may be possible sources for Deuce Martinez’ identity, one of the charged leaks in the indictment. What’s interesting, however, is that Jesselyn Radack suggested to me on Twitter that Kiriakou might not subpoena Shane.

Matthew Cole is a more interesting subpoena, though also not surprising. After all, this investigation started not by investigating Shane’s story, but investigating the name of torturers submitted in a Gitmo filing. Presumably, then, DOJ first grilled the lawyers and their investigators about how they had learned the identities of the torturers they had included in that filing (note, Covert Officer A was not named there, because he was still covert), and from there they ultimately found Kiriakou.

Which brings us to Tate, who previously hasn’t been mentioned in this case. Gerstein writes,

Tate, a Post researcher who worked on stories about the Guantanamo prisoners and helped develop a Post databased of the inmates, was not mentioned in the indictment. However, Kiriakou’s lawyers said in a court filing “information developed by Mr. Kiriakou’s defense indicates that Researcher 1 [Tate] participated with Journalist A  [Cole] in certain activities alleged in the Indictment.”

Cole wasn’t actually alleged to have done anything in the indictment (though the complaint gets closer to suggesting he was investigating the torturers for the Gitmo defendants). But the suggestion is he was in a chain of information that ultimately led back to a bunch of lawyers unjustly accused of improperly treating classified information in a bid to defend their clients. Radack suggested Tate had a similar role.

What do @matthewacole & @JulieATate have in common?

I’m guessing this suggests Tate was somewhere in that same chain of information.

Consider for a moment how this complaint and indictment were structured by the now-retired Patrick Fitzgerald: Covert Officer A was not named in the original Gitmo filing, because he was covert. And Deuce Martinez may have been named, but he did not do the torturing; he did the questioning.

So Fitzgerald structured this case so as to avoid mentioning–much less admitting–that at its root lies a bunch of men guilty of torture. At its root lies the effort to hide the identity of torturers, and CIA’s efforts to punish those who brought that to light. If I’m right, and Tate is in that chain of people who exposed the identity of some torturers, then that’s part of what Kiriakou’s after: to show that he was simply involved in an effort to expose torturers. A whistleblower.

But there’s one other element. Radack also notes the irony here: the government is in a pickle, because they’ve been working very hard in the Jeffrey Sterling case to establish a precedent saying journalists can be subpoenaed in the same District as the Kiriakou case, EDVA, CIA’s home District. So they can’t very well turn around and say these journalists can’t be subpoenaed here. All the more so given that Kiriakou doesn’t have the luxury of just dropping the case to avoid subpoenaing the journalists, as the government does in Sterling.

I’m not sure it’ll work, but the Tate and Cole subpoenas sure seem like an effort to put the real lawbreakers–the torturers–back in the forefront of this case.

BREAKING! EXCLUSIVE! NYT’s Ambiguous Reporting Leads to Logical Conclusions

I guess John Brennan has figured out that the effort to roll out the Steely Decider campaign has backfired.

How else to explain the almost unheard of tactic from the NYT of accusing those who drew very logical conclusions from its own article of engaging in gossip?

For example, the NYT complains that people read these passages:

This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.

[snip]

“How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”

It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.

And concluded that, “President Obama really add[ed] a 17-year-old girl to the counterterrorism “kill list.”

The NYT complains that people read this passage:

David Axelrod, the president’s closest political adviser, began showing up at the “Terror Tuesday” meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president’s other aspirations and achievements.

And concluded that “his political adviser, David Axelrod, really participate[d] in discussions of which terrorist suspects should be targeted in drone strikes.”

In its effort to suggest readers have drawn unfair conclusions from what I assume was NYT’s deliberately vague reporting, it clings to that very ambiguity (ambiguity, I’ll add, which made the article far more dramatic and therefore more widely read).

The article said that Mr. Obama knew he might be asked to add such terrorism suspects to the kill list — but it did not say he had been asked to do it in this case. Nor did it say that he had done so.

Ah, but the article also didn’t say he hadn’t done so, either, did it? So whose fault is it that readers drew precisely the conclusions that the narrative and emphasis of the article created?

The NYT is so intent on impugning those who drew very logical conclusions from its vague reporting that it made this laughably inaccurate claim:

On the left, too, there were thousands of posts with inaccurate claims about what The Times had reported. Many picked up what a blogger for the conspiracy-minded PrisonPlanet.com wrote on the day the article appeared: that The Times had said Mr. Obama had placed several Americans and a 17-year-old girl, all with alleged links to the branch of Al Qaeda in Yemen, on the kill list.

I’m not sure what is most offensive about this. That a newspaper complaining that readers drew inaccurate conclusions from its vague reporting made an inaccurate claim that a libertarian is a lefty? That, in an effort to impugn Alex Jones the NYT decided to label him as a lefty?

Or that neither here nor in the larger article did the NYT breathe one word of that American 16-year old who was killed in a drone strike, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Even if this particular 17-year old girl weren’t ever put on the kill list (though she may well have been–the NYT effectively commits a journalistic Glomar by neither confirming nor denying it here), an American teenager was, one whose death goes unmentioned.

I refrained from noting the following when I first wrote about this article, but this odd attempt to ensure the Steely Decider campaign doesn’t backfire makes it pertinent.

First, remember what Scott Shane said when he got called on letting a senior Administration official hide behind anonymity to insinuate those doing independent reporting on drone strikes were al Qaeda sympathizers?

Shane, in written responses to a number of questions that Nieman Watchdog posed to him about the two articles, said he believes this particular quote was not necessarily directed at BIJ, calling it “ambiguous, and I wish I had been able to clarify it.” He added: “Based on all my reporting over the last couple of years, I believe U.S. government officials have in mind not BIJ or other journalists as sympathizers of Al Qaeda but militants and perhaps ISI officers who supply what they consider disinformation on strikes to journalists.”

Apparently, he was helpless in the face of the ambiguity that allowed sources–probably the same one demanding he go back and counter the blowback from this article–to insinuate independent journalism amounted to helping terrorism. But now, he sees fit not to clear up his own ambiguities, but rather to attack those who drew fair conclusions from those ambiguities.

The story must always mean what is most convenient for John Brennan.

Then there’s this. The Administration is currently prosecuting John Kiriakou for leaking information about the torture program John Brennan once championed. The very core of their case–not to mention any pretense that the government didn’t use National Security Letters to get journalists’ sources to identify leads in this case–is a Scott Shane story for which, he said, he had two dozen sources. One of the very first things Kiriakou’s lawyer is going to do, I’d wager, is demand to know who the other 23 sources for the story are so he can prove that some of those people–people like Buzzy Krongard–knew that Deuce Martinez was involved in the torture and interrogation program.

Now, as a threshold matter, the fact that Shane might have been–and may well be–under DOJ surveillance for a leak investigation suggests that every source who spoke to him for the drone story would have heightened awareness of the risk of speaking out of turn. That sucks. It goes to the core of the problem of Obama’s war on leakers, not to mention their claimed authority to use NSLs to get journalist contact information in national security investigations. But because of this Administration’s decision to prosecute a guy who allegedly identified torturers, Scott Shane’s sources–at least those that say things the Administration doesn’t want out there, mind you–may be in a precarious position. Yet people spoke to Shane for this blockbuster article nevertheless.

Furthermore, Shane undoubtedly knows that the Kiriakou prosecution–particularly those 23 sources sitting between John Kiriakou and a fair trial–could get him in a bigger pickle than James Risen is currently in. This makes Shane’s awkward position even worse. DOJ may well get to decide whether to let Kiriakou go free or risk a judge allowing Kiriakou’s lawyer to demand a list of Shane’s sources from 2008.

Now, I’m not blaming Shane on this front. I’m just pointing out what kind of ancillary power the Administration gets from its leak investigations. It may well be that that’s not playing a part here at all. But I do think it worth noting that Shane–and the NYT generally–may be in a position where the same people hiding behind all this ambiguity will have some say over what kind of headaches Shane will face for once using Kiriakou as a source.

Panetta: We Do Not Share Anything Inappropriate with Anybody … Except Our Assets’ Identities

When Leon Panetta confirmed that Shakeel Afridi was working with the CIA when he used a vaccination program to collect intelligence on Osama bin Laden, he likely made it much harder for Pakistan to release the doctor, or even give him a light sentence. Had the Pakistanis gone easy on Afridi after that confirmation, it would have amounted to the government admitting it had ceded the government’s sovereignty to the war on terror.

While I’m sure he had authorization to confirm the ties, there are a whole bunch of reasons it was stupid to do so (including the delegitimization of public health programs).

Panetta’s own role in increasing the likelihood Afridi would face harsh punishment from Pakistan didn’t prevent him from complaining about Afridi’s fate on ABC’s Sunday show, however, claiming he just couldn’t understand why a country would punish one of its citizens working as a spy for an ally.

“It is so difficult to understand and it’s so disturbing that they would sentence this doctor to 33 years for helping in the search for the most notorious terrorist in our times,” Panetta told me in a “This Week” interview.

“This doctor was not working against Pakistan. He was working against al Qaeda,” Panetta added. “And I hope that ultimately Pakistan understands that, because what they have done here … does not help in the effort to try to reestablish a relationship between the United States and Pakistan.”

I sort of wish Jake Tapper had asked Panetta if he’s ever heard of Jonathan Pollard, who we’ve imprisoned, thus far, for 25 years, for spying for an ally. Even more, I’m, um, disappointed that Tapper didn’t ask Panetta WTF he confirmed Afridi’s work for the US, particularly since Tapper himself commented on Panetta’s earlier comments this morning.

Panetta in January was first US official to on-the-record confirm the doctor’s help

More curious still, when Tapper asked Panetta why the Administration shared so much information with Hollywood about the Osama bin Laden raid–and Panetta claimed the Administration “do[es] not share anything inappropriate with anybody”–Tapper didn’t ask the obvious follow-up. Continue reading

Did DOJ Ratchet Up the Charges Against Kiriakou Because of Poland Investigation?

When John Kiriakou was first charged with espionage, he was charged with four counts:

  • Leaking Covert Officer A’s identity under IIPA section B
  • Leaking Deuce Martinez’ identity under defense information clause of Espionage Act
  • Leaking Deuce Martinez’ tie to the torture program under defense information clause of Espionage Act
  • Lying to the CIA’s Publication Review Board; falsifying a material fact

In today’s indictment, Kiriakou was charged with five counts:

  • Leaking Covert Officer A’s identity under IIPA section A
  • Leaking Covert Officer A’s tie to the torture program under defense information clause of Espionage Act
  • Leaking Deuce Martinez’ identity under defense information clause of Espionage Act
  • Leaking Deuce Martinez’ tie to the torture program under defense information clause of Espionage Act
  • Lying to the CIA’s Publication Review Board; falsifying a material fact

Not only did they ratchet up the IIPA violation to one that carries a 10 year, as opposed to a 5 year, penalty, but they also added a violation of the Espionage Act tied to Covert Officer A’s ties to the torture program.

This is likely designed to punish Kiriakou for refusing to accept their plea deal.

But I also wonder whether it’s not a response to the reports that Poland will file charges against the officials who helped the CIA set up its torture prison in that country.

According to the complaint, the torture investigators never did anything with Covert Officer A’s identity (which they got via the journalist to whom Kiriakou provided the information). The FBI officer who wrote the affidavit wrote,

Neither Journalist A nor any other journalist to my knowledge has published the name of Covert Officer A.

The IIPA violation doesn’t require any intent of damage. Intentionally leaking the identity is enough. But the Espionage charge does:

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; [my emphasis]

That is, to make the Espionage charge tied to Covert Officer A stick, they’re going to have to prove that Kiriakou had reason to know that leaking his name (to a journalist, but ultimately, to lawyers for people who had been tortured by Covert Officer A) “could be used to the injury of the United States.”

Are they really preparing to argue that helping men mount a fair defense in court injures the United States? That ensuring our legal system works the way it is supposed to work, rather than the way the kangaroo courts at Gitmo have been set up, hurts this country?

Or, alternately, are they going to build their “injury” theory on the Polish tie–on Deuce Martinez’ and (possibly) Covert Officer A’s involvement on Polish soil (if he was, in fact, there)?

They may well just be punishing Kiriakou for putting them to the trouble of involving journalists and CIPA and exposure of their torture program. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they pointed to Poland’s disinterest in cooperating in any more illegal covert activities with us as the “injury” that Kiriakou’s alleged leaks have cause.

Did Covert Officer A–Whose Identity John Kiriakou Allegedly Leaked–Leave the CIA?

DOJ has apparently failed in its efforts to get John Kiriakou to agree to a plea deal; they’ve just indicted him.

Interestingly, the indictment describes Covert Officer A–whose identity Kiriakou allegedly leaked–differently than the complaint did. The complaint described him this way:

Covert Officer A is currently a covert CIA employee whose relationship to the CIA has been classified for more than two decades.

Here’s how the indictment describes him:

Covert Officer A was a covert CIA employee whose association with the CIA has been classified for more than two decades. Covert Office A was a covert agent as defined at Title 50, United States Code, Section 426(4), and the United States Government was taking affirmative measures to conceal Covert Officer A’s intelligence relationship to the United States. The association of Covert Officer A with the [Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation] Program was also classified and constituted national defense information. [my emphasis]

With the exception of the bolded passage, the information on Covert Officer A’s relationship to the CIA is now all past tense.

Which suggests several possibilities: That Covert Officer A’s status has been changed to permit this prosecution; Covert Officer A is no longer covert (though is still classified); Covert Officer A has left the CIA; or that Covert Officer A is no longer alive. Update: DOJ says this is the way they normally write their indictments.

Alternately (given the way the CIA screws up leak investigations) maybe they were giving Pat Fitzgerald bad information during the investigation. Nahh! The CIA wouldn’t screw up another leak prosecution, would they?

Update: Compare how they describe Covert Officer A with how they describe Deuce Martinez–whose employment, but not identity–is described in the past tense.

Officer B was employed by the CIA as an analyst assigned to the CIA Counterterrorism Center. Though the fact that the CIA employed Officer B was not itself classified, the associations of Officer B with the RDI Program and with the Abu Zubaydah operation were classified and constituted national defense information.

Update: The DOJ announcement says Covert Officer A “remains covert.”

 

Bill Keller Blames Leak Arrests that Preceded WikiLeaks on WikiLeaks

Bill Keller has another narcissistic column attacking Julian Assange. The whole thing is rubbish not worth your time, but I did want to unpack the complaint with which Keller ends his column.

“A lot of attention has been focused on WikiLeaks and its colorful proprietors,” Aftergood told me. “But the real action, it turns out, is not at the publisher level; it’s at the source level. And there aren’t a lot of sources as prolific or as reckless as Bradley Manning allegedly was.”

For good reason. The Obama administration has been much more aggressive than its predecessors in pursuing and punishing leakers. The latest case, the arrest last month of John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. terrorist-hunter accused of telling journalists the names of colleagues who participated in the waterboarding of Qaeda suspects, is symptomatic of the crackdown. It is this administration’s sixth criminal case against an official for confiding to the media, more than all previous presidents combined. The message is chilling for those entrusted with keeping legitimate secrets and for whistleblowers or officials who want the public to understand how our national security is or is not protected.

Here’s the paradox the documentaries have overlooked so far: The most palpable legacy of the WikiLeaks campaign for transparency is that the U.S. government is more secretive than ever. [my emphasis]

The Obama Administration has charged 6 people with some kind of espionage charge for leaking:

  • Thomas Drake was indicted on April 10, 2010, just days after the release of the Collateral Murder video and before Bradley Manning first contacted Adrian Lamo; he was charged for purported leaks going back to February 2006
  • Shamai Leibowitz was first investigated in mid-2009, before Manning leaked anything to WikiLeaks; he was charged on December 4, 2009 and sentenced on May 24, 2010, the day the government was first learning about Lamo’s conversations with Manning
  • Stephen Jin-Woo Kim was indicted on August 19, 2010, around the time DOD first started trying to figure out what Manning allegedly sent to WikiLeaks; he is alleged to have leaked in June 2009
  • Manning was arrested on May 29, 2010 and will be formally charged this week for leaks allegedly starting in November 2009
  • Jeffrey Sterling was indicted on December 22, 2010, around the time the government was trying to pressure Manning into testifying about Assange; his leaks allegedly started in 2001
  • John Kiriakou was charged on January 23, 2012 for leaks dating back to 2007

All the non-WikiLeaks leaks allegedly took place before Manning’s. All were formally charged before Manning, and all but two men were arrested before Manning.

And yet Bill Keller, in a demonstration of his typical reporting skill though not Newtonian physics, suggests that WikiLeaks caused the crackdown on leaks.

Continue reading

Leon Panetta and the Pakistani Doctor: Yet More Double Standards on Classified Information

As the Bill Gertz article I reexamined the other day made clear, Leon Panetta became personally involved in the CIA’s efforts to investigate detainee lawyers who were trying to track down their clients’ torturers.

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and his chief of staff, Jeremy Bash, a former chief counsel for the House intelligence committee, at first were unaware of both the scope and seriousness of the case.

However, both officials began addressing the matter after inquiries were made from members of Congress. Since then, Mr. Panetta and Mr. Bash are getting regular updates on the dispute, said the officials.

As a result of that investigation, former CIA officer John Kiriakou was charged last week.

Consider the damage Kiriakou is alleged to have done:

  • Some lawyers with Top Secret clearance submitted a sealed filing naming a covert officer involved in the torture of 9/11 defendants. The lawyers pointedly did not photograph this officer in an effort to shield his identity. And his name was never made public.
  • Using information gained from Kiriakou and around 23 other sources (including former CIA Executive Director Buzzy Krongard), Scott Shane wrote an article detailing Deuce Martinez’ role in the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others. And while Martinez’ association with the torture program was classified, his identity was not. Furthermore, by the time of the article, Martinez was working for Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell’s contracting firm, making it a pretty safe bet that he was involved in interrogation, even interrogations involving torture.
  • Subsequent to this article based on information from Kiriakou and 23 other people, the 9/11 detainees saw pictures of Martinez; assuming Shane’s article is accurate, they had already interacted with Martinez personally.
  • In that article, Shane included details about the “magic box” technology used to locate Abu Zubaydah. Information on that “magic box” technology and similar ones has been publicly available for decades, meaning the only secret here is that CIA uses it (!) and called it something as stupid as “magic box.”

That’s it. That’s the reported outcome of John Kiriakou’s leaks. And for that he faces prison time of up to 20 years.

Meanwhile, tomorrow the above clip will be shown on 60 Minutes, showing Panetta confirming that the Pakistani doctor who conducted fake vaccinations in Abbottabad, Pakistan in order to get a glimpse into Osama bin Laden’s compound was, in fact, working for the CIA.

Panetta also acknowledged that Shikal Afridi, the Pakistani doctor conducting health tests in the village in an effort to collect DNA and verify bin Laden’s presence, was in fact working for the U.S. Afridi was arrested and charged with treason by the government of Pakistan. “I’m very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual…who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation,” says Panetta. “He was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan…Pakistan and the United States have a common cause here against terrorism…and for them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part,” he tells Pelley.

Not only does this presumably put more pressure on Pakistan to convict Afridi of treason (he remains in custody), but it exacerbates the problem of having used a vaccination campaign as cover in the first place, confirming on the record that similar campaigns in poor countries might be no more than a CIA front.

I presume someone in the White House gave Panetta permission to go blab this on 60 Minutes; I assume he’s in no more legal jeopardy than Dick Cheney was when he insta-declassified Valerie Plame’s identity.

But shit like this discredits every single claim national security experts make about the need for secrecy. I mean, how are CIA officers ever going to recruit any more assets when the assets know that the CIA director may, at some time in the future that’s politically convenient, go on 60 Minutes and confirm the relationship?

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @lizzwinstead Get the feeling there was some quick and broad and well-financed coordination on that response.
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emptywheel @JasonLeopold Bingo. Saw that. Need to go back to that one. Timing is very interesting too. And the FoPo withholding.
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emptywheel @JasonLeopold Oh, I remember. So this is CIA White PAper and the other is the DOJ White Paper? Or just that DOJ didn't refer other to CIA?
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JasonLeopold Ah thanks.
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emptywheel RT @TondaMacC: The easiest form of terrorism: no need for sophisticated plots, or training, or financing, by @shephardm: http://t.co/DSQdPF
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emptywheel @JasonLeopold Which one is that on--11/11 or 5/11?
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emptywheel RT @JasonLeopold: JUST FILED: CIA declaration in my #FOIA case re: CIA white ppr turned over to me justifying assassination of Awlaki https…
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emptywheel @maassp Thanks for pointing that out. It has been a largely male celebration of a great career.
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emptywheel @liferstate Not convinced any cohort is succeeding at this point.
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emptywheel @liferstate Good point. But in the meantime our collective pants-peeing will prevent any effort to address climate change.
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emptywheel @maassp I was interested in your comment abt being white male--his tributes are mostly from white men. Bc of the time?
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emptywheel RT @abc7newsBayArea: JUST IN: Dallas nurse Amber Vinson who contracted Ebola from Thomas Duncan is virus-free. http://t.co/mNDQTT1jd3 http:…
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