Timing, Again

Marty Lederman points out that today’s NYT story clarifies one of the issues I’ve been trying to pinpoint on timing.

If the CIA had destroyed its interrogation tapes during the pendency of the 9/11 Commission investigation, that almost surely would have constituted felony violations of 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(1). So they retained the tapes during that investigation. However, as the New York Times reports tomorrow, the CIA very carefully avoided informing the 9/11 Commission of the existence of the interrogation tapes — which would have been extremely valuable information for the Commission to use. "A C.I.A. spokesman said that the agency had been prepared to give the Sept. 11 commission the interrogation videotapes" . . . but the Commission never said the magic words!: The Commission sought "documents," "reports" and "information" related to the interrogations from the CIA — but "staff members never specifically asked for interrogation videos."


Here’s the really amazing bit, however: "Because it was thought the commission could ask about the tapes at some point, they were not destroyed while the commission was active," said a CIA spokesperson.

Then, as soon as the Commission issued its report and closed up shop, the CIA quickly destroyed the evidence, precisely because there was no longer any proceeding pending (and arguably no foreseeable proceeding that would trigger 1512(c)(1) culpability, although that is far from certain).

This tactic may be familiar to you from your youth. I know when I was four or five, I used to parse parental requests very narrowly so as to rationalize behavior I knew to be wrong. By the time I tried it in Middle School, though, it was no longer considered a valid dodge and I got busted by teachers and school administrators (though it still worked to legalize gum chewing in Algebra class). But I guess those rules are different for the Bush Administration when they’re trying to hide their torturous ways.

If Marty is correct that the CIA held onto the tapes until the 9/11 Commission finished and then found a period to destroy them (apparently in the time period between when Leonie Brinkema asked if there were tapes and they said no), then it may explain why the public reports on when the White House weighed in on matters are so dodgy. The NYT claims that Addington, Gonzales, and Bellinger were involved in 2003. But the memo documenting their involvement (and, at least Gonzales’ and Bellinger’s opposition to the destruction of the tapes) dates to 2004. I’m guessing, from this general dodginess, that we’ll find some members of this White House crowd all of a sudden expressing robust support for destroying the terror tapes at a time when it became legally comfortable to do so.

38 replies
  1. merkwurdiglieber says:

    The Libby connection won’t help in the effort to get their stories
    straight after 4 years creating realities, always the dilemma for the
    pathological liar. Where did I lose the thread? Who did I tell which
    version and when? Should be fun to watch!

  2. radiofreewill says:

    Has it been determined whether the two video Tapes and audio Tape found this past Sep are copies of those thought destroyed in Nov 05, or are they something different?


    Government officials have said that the videos destroyed in 2005 were the only recordings of interrogations made by C.I.A. operatives, although in September government lawyers notified a federal judge in Virginia that the agency had recently found three audio and video recordings of detainees.

    Intelligence officials have said that those tapes were not made by the C.I.A., but by foreign intelligence services.

  3. PJEvans says:

    So videotapes are not considered ‘documents’, ‘reports’ or ‘information’? You’d think they’d fit quite well under that last category.

    What do the courts have to do, pull out a dictionary and a thesaurus and list every possible variation of each category they’re asking for? (These guys really fall under the heading of ‘first thing we do, let’s …’)

  4. radiofreewill says:

    Seems pretty clear already that the Lawyers – at least Addington, Gonzo, and Bellinger – were discussing Destroying the Tapes (That They Were Hiding Their Knowledge Of) During the 9/11 Commission.

    Whoever the Power was that Kept the Lawyers Quiet about the Tapes, likely also ordered their Destruction.

    Bush wasn’t just acting in Secret, he was operating inside a Secret World, where he was unchecked and unbalanced by any constraint – he could Secretly order Torture, and the Infrastructure and Policies and Logistics supporting it all came together.

    He could keep Secret his Program of Torture from the Congress and block any unfavorable Judicial actions, even against the Concensus Advice of his Lawyers.

    Bush could ‘Compartmentalize’ and directly control groups within Agencies – like PIN, OLC and possibly Jose Rodriguez’ Counter Terrorism Group in CIA.

    It looks, already, despite nearly unanimous advice Not to Destroy the Torture Tapes, that Bush could very well have Pixie-Dusted the Tapes just when it became obvious that Brinkema was going to get them – another clumsy grasping at thin air by the Rule of Law!

    What’s unfolding here is the story of a Run-Amok, Un-Constrained President acting out his paranoid, suspicious and hateful psychological weaknesses through Secrecy and the use of an impenetrable, magical Power to Act Above the Law and Not be Held Accountable – enabled in the most shameful, bootlicking ways by a cast of thousands of Loyalists, who only wanted to Please the King.

    In the absence of restraint, Bush chose to Torture in Secret, and to hide it from Congress and the Judiciary.

    Then, he covered it up by Destroying the Tapes.

  5. Loo Hoo. says:

    I want to know, too, who actually committed the torture. What kind of sick individual would torture rather than resign? TheraP?

    I’m not talking about the low level England types, but the well-paid and highly educated types. The ones who knew it was illegal regardless of whatever crap piece of “legal” paper they were given.

    Did these people watch the recordings after the fact in some perverted enjoyment?

    • TheraP says:

      I’ll take a whack at your question:

      What kind of sick individual would torture rather than resign?

      It’s a very interesting question because you pose it as two opposites. And, if we’re really lucky, maybe we can have both of these!

      In any case following your line of reasoning in the question, since you’re posing “resignation” as an option, I’m thinking you’ve got “shame” in mind as something this “sick individual” should be feeling. Shame is very interesting. It does assume a conscience and therefore someone with empathy and if you’ve got empathy, you would certainly never be able to torture anyone. Not only that, if you knew about any torture you would likely try to stop it and you’d believe the person doing it needed to be put somewhere where they could do no further harm (either jail or a psych hospital).

      For most of us shame leads to a desire to absolutely disappear, to leave the scene at the very least. And thus, your idea of resigning. If we were in a culture such as Japan or China or Korea, you would see an elaborate ritual take place, where the leader apologized and publicly abased themselves, probably even bowing to the public and then resigned. If only….

      But for people who lack a conscience or lack the ability to feel and express shame, you often see a rage reaction. Instead of fleeing or feeling as if they simply want to die on the spot, they become rageful and have a desire to vent that rage, to control the object of their shame. And that, likely, could lead to torturing someone. Torture is the desire to do two things. To punish and to prove to the victim that you are in control, you can force them to speak and behave as your slave. Not only that, the torturer at times not only wants obedience to their will, but they also want the other person to become so much a puppet that they begin to believe in what the torturer says is true. So, not just physical control. But mind control.

      Does that help to answer your questin, Loo Hoo?

  6. MadDog says:

    I’ve been struck by not just who was involved in 2003 about the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes, but why that who.

    Alberto Gonzales – WH
    Harriet Miers – WH
    John Bellinger – WH
    David Addington – WH

    Seems to me that if I was somebody like CIA General Counsel Scott W. Muller, and I wanted to know the “legality” of destroying the CIA interrogation tapes, I’d be consulting with the place where such opinions can be found; namely the Department of Justice. You know, the place where all those lawyers hang out.

    Yup, if I were looking at the “legality” of destroying the CIA interrogation tapes, what I wouldn’t be doing, was consulting with the folks where “political” decisions are rendered. That being the White House.

    But…but…but you say, those folks at the WH were “lawyers”!

    Yup, and that is why this tale smells more fishy than week-old halibut!

    When you want to discern the “legality” of something, the “normal” process in a “normal” administration would be to head for the DOJ.

    So what we are left with here is that somebody, presumbably from the CIA, but not necessarily so, calls up “lawyers”, not at the DOJ, but at the White House, and asks them, what?

    Is it “legal” to destroy these CIA interrogation tapes? I think not!

    But what then could one be asking of folks at the White House, and “WH lawyers” at that?

    Could the question to be considered at the White House be:

    “What is the political fallout if the existence of these tapes becomes public, and what are the WH legal jeopardy implications if the public finds out that the WH ordered the torture of detainees?”

    • Rayne says:

      If I didn’t have a massive headache this morning (likely from clenching my jaw too much out of rage), I’d recall who it was who said that they didn’t consult certain folks for “legality”…which of course means that there were consultations regarding the political impact of the tapes.

      Your line of questioning also assumes a request for consideration moved bottom-to-top in the organization, rather than top-down or horizontally across the upper echelons primarily, with a highly limited or focused push down into the organization once a determination had been made.

      The bulk of sentiment regarding the opinion of those in the WH who did not support destruction of the tapes may be misguided; we assume they were looking at the retention/destruction from legal benefit, versus political benefit. What if these 4 WH folks working from not a legal perspective but a political one, actually thought these tapes would be of POSITIVE political benefit if retained? Ugh, the notion makes my head throb even more to think they might at some point tout these tapes in some sort of marketing promotion for their side…

      Or worse, that the tapes might be used politically to threaten opposition: Look at what we are capable of doing to you…

      • TheraP says:

        Or worse, that the tapes might be used politically to threaten opposition: Look at what we are capable of doing to you…

        Doesn’t seem plausible to me that person not yet in custody could be threatened that way. Too much risk they’d spill the beans of the tapes.

        However, it has occurred to me that simply taping some tortures might speed up a process of interrogation. Show the tapes and say, here’s what we can do. Speak or else.

        That’s another reason it seems to me those tapes (and/or others) are still in existence.

  7. Mary says:

    Why is there so much silence on the DOJ lawyers who were in the know? I have to believe there were several and that some in the FBI had knowledge of the torture and the likelihood of tapes and very likely their actual existence.

    In any event, with the Padilla case, all the “investigation” of the Zubaydah questioning supposedly done before that Press Conf, the OLC memos being issued, etc. I just don’t buy that no one at DOJ knew. They knew very good and well that torture was taking place and evidence of torture being destroyed and they both deliberately solicited the torture and deliberately looked the other way while evidence was hidden and everyone agreed to collectively not pursue war crimes against their own inner circle.

    So Mad Dog – yes, it is odd that the calls were to the WH lawyers, but I don’t buy that they necessarily ended there. Those torture memos at OLC didn’t spring like Athena from Bybee’s and Yoo’s foreheads, or from Bradbury’s thereafter. Ashcroft and Comey didn’t engineer that Padilla press conf with all the info on Zubaydah without ever once hearing that Dan Coleman had vocally intervened to try to disrupt the DOJ solicited torture of Zubaydah. Comey in particular, with his background and connections, cannot have not known about the fact that his DOJ was making the USA into a Torture Central.

    And all this while, Bellinger has stood and unblinkingly claimed that the US is “humane” even while they were being briefed on things like the torture tapes and beyond – you know they were briefed on the torture killing that was in Priest’s article as well (chaining a detainee to freeze to death) and once the Arar lawsuit was filed in do you think no one at DOJ was briefed in on his torture conspiracy? Thompson was a direct sign off on Arar’s shipment to torture.

    So DOJ is beginning an “investigation” without anyone even first asking the questions of who at DOJ was involved in the torture programs, authorizations and cover ups? There’s a good idea.

    And in the end, the discussion gets more and more limited – to particular tapes and waterboarding in particular – while the broad picture of policies of torture, policies of using torture to cross-corroborate prior torture statements, using torture to gin up a war of agression, using torture and then becoming so wedded to that torture that years later, no one weans themselves off of it and kidnap victims with no terrorist ties are held for years in terrifying abuse that drives them to try desparately to kill themselves and become obsessed with a bug or a spider or a fly as their only point of interaction in life. http://www.salon.com/news/feat…..bashmilah/

    Story after story of actual people willing to tell what happened to them exist, as well as frozen bodies buried, but no one listens and no one digs up the bodies. Congress and the Courts have been recruited by this DOJ into being assistant sponsors of torture – who turn deaf ears to the stories and close our courts to the victims. A destroyed tape garners more attention and more a destroyed human, but in the end, the tape will mean nothing either. The nation and its courts have been trained by the heroic Goldsmiths and Comeys – willing accomplices to torture, all fo them. When el-Masris case was finally tossed, it put the seal on.

    Yes, “they” certainly hate us for our freedoms. Our DOJ supported freedom to kidnap and torture on whim.

    • MadDog says:

      Why is there so much silence on the DOJ lawyers who were in the know? I have to believe there were several and that some in the FBI had knowledge of the torture and the likelihood of tapes and very likely their actual existence.

      The earliest MSM reports did indeed mention that Scott W. Muller, CIA General Counsel briefed folks at the DOJ regarding the desire/intent of the CIA destroying the CIA interrogation tapes.

      And since those earliest MSM reports, the silence about DOJ involvement has been deafening.

      Like you Mary, I smell some rats!

  8. LS says:

    I don’t think there was any illegality in destroying the tapes per se.

    The illegality lies in what the tapes disclosed and that it has been admitted to that torture was used during interrogation of the two taped subjects.

    The illegality lies in destroying evidence requested in investigations.

    EW, I think you are right on that they skated past the 9/11 commission on purpose and then destroyed them in the interim period.

    I’m not so sure that they can get away with, “oh, but you didn’t say ‘video’”", because it does fall under the category of “information” regarding the interrogations.

    Regarding the 9/11 commission, they were more interested in whether interrogation results pointed toward Al Qaeda clues, rather than whether anyone was tortured or not during interrogation. It is possible that the information they provided about what was found out during the interrogations absolutely satisfied what they were looking at, as opposed to Brinkema wanting any evidence to support claims of torture that could have been caught on video.

    Even so…even without the videos….there certainly has been confession of torture tactics having been used, which means that it has been admitted to that the Geneva Conventions were violated. The fact that the Administration wants to ignore the Geneva Conventions entirely is nothing more than an admitted murderer (e.g., the Police Commissioner) confessing to a crime and no one doing anything about it; because the murderer says, “Well, I extinguished the existence of another human once, and you’ve got no body, and furthermore I disagree that it is what the definition of murder is so fuck off, in fact, I might do it again”…. Even though there is every legal justification to arrest the murderer; the cops stand around and scratch their heads.

    I think the key lies in the “legality they relied on” being yanked by Goldsmith…I’m not sure they will get nailed with obstruction, but they might, because they will need to prove exactly what date, when and where, and how those tapes were destroyed…right now there is no real proof…maybe they destroyed them much later or not at all….Just because they say so, does not make it true…we already know that they have zero credibility….they lie all the time.


  9. Peterr says:

    I’m wondering whether the issue of destroying the tapes arose at the White House, rather than the CIA. Do we know for sure that the question came from the CIA?

    For the White House, the political implications of the tapes getting out would have been the huge issue. The CIA, on the other hand, would have been (theoretically, at least) more concerned with the intelligence value of the tapes — and thus, more inclined to keep them around in case they might for some reason prove helpful in the future.

  10. MadDog says:

    Via Marty Lederman over at the Balkination blog, a Scotusblog link to a government motion filed with Judge Kennedy has this interesting appendix from Mikey Hayden at the CIA:

    4. In light of recent events surrounding the destruction
    of recordings of the interrogations of detainees formerly in the
    custody of the CIA, I have issued an order to all CIA personnel
    to preserve and maintain all documents, informaLion, and
    evidence relating to:

    A. any detainee held at the united States Nava! Base
    Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and

    B. any detainee held by the CIA

    What struck me is the limiting language that was used.

    For example, if you are a detainee and have been “renditioned” to be held by some of the US’s “friends” in the GWOT, such as Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, etc. AND the CIA has information regarding your torture detention in said “friendly hands”, the CIA does not oblige itself to maintain such information.

    CIA-held information like video of torture interrogations performed by “friends”.

    “Sorry, but like Netflix, we just rented this torture interrogation video and we have to return it or pay a late fee. Can’t have that with US living on a budget and all.”

    • LS says:

      “4. In light of recent events surrounding the destruction
      of recordings of the interrogations of detainees formerly in the
      custody of the CIA, I have issued an order to all CIA personnel
      to preserve and maintain all documents, informaLion, and
      evidence relating to:”

      This could be read two ways the way it is written:

      In light of recent events surrounding the destruction of recordings of the interrogations of detainees, formerly in the custody of the CIA, I have issued…(in other words, the detainees are no longer in the CIA custody)…

      Instead, the way it is written, it could also imply that the “recordings” were “formerly” in the custody of the CIA and then got destroyed…

      Just sayin’….maybe the CIA didn’t actually do the “destroying”…

      • MadDog says:

        Instead, the way it is written, it could also imply that the “recordings” were “formerly” in the custody of the CIA and then got destroyed

        Or recordings just formerly in the custody of the CIA. And who knows if the rest have been destroyed or not.

        • LS says:

          Exactly, except it does say “destroyed”, but I’m with you…who the hell knows what happened to them…if anything. Maybe they gave them to the WH, and “destroyed” their copies or vice versa.

  11. TheraP says:

    Obviously we are in desperate need of a special counsel or some kind of ongoing, wide-ranging investigation that covers almost any conceivable wrongdoing done by this administration or its surrogates. Because the only way to make sure these criminals feel the “pinch” and either do not destroy anything else or at least become liable for obstruction of justice is to be sure there’s an “investigation” that is looking for that information.

    I was thinking last night about how our whole system of government and justice, just like driving on the highway, is based on mutual trust and willingness to be responsible. Once people become predators, instead of citizens, it mucks up everything. And that’s what we’ve got now.

    Sorry for the little rant. Hope it wasn’t too far off the topic.

    I am struck and heartened by how many of us keep playing by the rules and working together in whatever ways we can to create and restore civil trust and civil society. And I remain simply horrified by those with the gall and the venom to undo and destroy all these same creative and restorative efforts.

  12. masaccio says:

    Here is the quote from the NYT:

    A C.I.A. spokesman said that the agency had been prepared to give the Sept. 11 commission the interrogation videotapes, but that commission staff members never specifically asked for interrogation videos.
    The review by Mr. Zelikow does not assert that the commission specifically asked for videotapes, but it quotes from formal requests by the commission to the C.I.A. that sought “documents,” “reports” and “information” related to the interrogations.

    I have a standard form for subpoenas which defines the term “document” in a way which includes any recorded information. I am not a litigator, but a lot of my work is investigation of financial issues. Don’t tell me the government doesn’t use an even better form than I do in this kind of case, I just can’t stand it.

    • Rayne says:

      Once again, my throbbing head obstructs my recollection — but I’m fairly certain that the “freeze letter” that Gonzales sent out rather too late to the WH staff once the inquiry into Plame’s outing began was tightly crafted to include ALL documentation. That document might give some insight into their thinking, while removing their arguments as to what constitutes a “document”.

  13. JohnLopresti says:

    E Tufte catalogs visuals as information very academically, as every marcom manager has for decades. Congress in its slow leviathan mode took a long time to convene the commission. Maybe like the SCSI-Phase-II report, the commission could reconvene and subpoena extant ‘tapes’ and make an addendum report with new recommendations based on visual information, with soundtrack both actual source audio and overlay translator. Skip the subtitles. In fact, the subpoenas need to access video production jargon, a lexicon of several thousand words, because, as with most narrow fields in industry and art, there is a developed vocabulary of specialized terms adapted from the basic language we share when we parse to detail our own narrow field of work.

  14. LS says:

    I love this from the NYT article:

    “On Friday, the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and to Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, asking them to preserve and produce to the committee all remaining video and audio recordings of “enhanced interrogations” of detainees in American custody.

    Signed by Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, the letter asked for an extensive search of the White House, C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies to determine whether any other recordings existed of interrogation techniques “including but not limited to waterboarding.”

    Note: “in American custody”.

  15. WilliamOckham says:

    What I find particularly rich is the assertion by the CIA spokesman that they would have handed over the videos if the 9/11 commission had asked for them specifically. That conveniently ignores the fact that when they didn’t hand them over when Judge Brinkema asked for them.

      • Stormwatcher says:

        That’s the difference between an investigation the Administration has bought off on and a pesky different branch of govt.

        I have less confidence in Fitzpatrick and Comey (and now Congressional Democrats). So far, all investigations undertaken during the Bush years have been non productive. Yes, many have been “caught” and sent to jail. But the Bush Administration has essentially remained untouched, unfettered, and uncontrolled. Either they’ve been able to whitewash events ,i.e. Sen. Roberts on the 9/11 commission to control the message to the American public, or the criminal element that is the Bush Administration has manipulated the “investigations” to temporarily pause true oversight while designing a new political/legal escape strategy. That is why I was particularly disheartened to hear Judge Kennedy differ to Bush lawyers Friday. We need some real heroes and heroic action.

        • PetePierce says:

          As you know, deference to Bush lawyers will produce more of exactly what you described. Mukasey is pond scum, and so are the Democrats who endorsed him for doing so–Schumer, Lahey, Feinstein, and yes Whitehead the band of merry blowhards who talk a good game and produce exactly nothing. Okay Feinstein can’t talk a good game; she doesn’t really understand the legal nuances and is a destructive blowhard butt in a seat on Senate Judiciary.

          SJC has done this country tremendous damage in confirming Mukasey, Roberts, and Alito and it will never be reversed.

          There is no government lawyer who can be trusted to undertake the Bush administration. If you have a penny ante person accused of a crime they will summon all kinds of resources to pile onand crush them whether they are innocent or not. You saw that happen with the Alabama fiasco of former Governor Don Siegelman. But Bush DOJ are the co-criminals and co-conspirators of every Bush WH and CIA crime.

          It really amuses me to see very intelligent people wracking their brains to try to figure out and piece together documents to figure out the chronological or architectural sequence of when and whether DOJ was dealt in on the CIA tape destruction or anything else.

          Let me just say–I enjoy your thoughts, analysis, and writing skills, and the links and documents/analysis you link to are much appreciated and I read them, but you really can’t be so foolish as to think that OLC and many other attorneys at DOJ weren’t consulted when it came to destruction of CIA tapes or any other thread that the EW or FDL branches of this site consider where Bush, Cheney, and Addington broke the law.

          And I don’t think anyone swallows the Dana Perrino superficial bullshit/propaganda that Bush didn’t know nothin’ ’bout nothin’ or that she doesn’t know. Dana’s no whiz kid, but she understands that a number of laws have been broken and there is criminal coverup a plenty. Bush was in the loop on every damn one of these coverups–anyone who thinks not is completely naieve.

          Of course friggin DOJ was dealt in. Naming all the attorneys that were part of the crime is difficult even for ex-DOJers like LHP and Christy here, and possibly several others I don’t know about but I find it difficult to believe that anyone believes that DOJ was not privy to every move by the WH insiders–Cheney, Addington, Miers, Miers’ attorney staff and now Miers is replaced by Fred Fielding who is thoroughly enjoying the kind of brain wracking that goes on here as he constructs teflon bubble after teflon bubble for every destruction of documents and every illegal act. Put yourself in Fielding’s brain. Fielding has the chance after years to come back and construct what he’s always wanted to and he has able help in Addington. They have constructed a Unitary Executive or a Kingdom and they have taken a collective whiz if you will (to be elegant and classy) on Congress every time Congress burps a meek protest.

          There are no heroes in Congress, but there are a ton of cowards, and besides the Republican sheep/lemmings the cowards are all Democrats with names like Hoyer and Pelosi. These self-congratulatory pigs are rejocing in ear marks and calculating their ability to stay in power riding the coat tails of their candidates for President in a goofey flawed system where the people who show up at the caucuses in Iowa are going to decide who is the next President

          There might be many heroes here, but unfortunately no one here is in the Senate or the House or in a position to call their hand. DOJ as far as the ability to reign in an out of control Presidency and executive branch has never been in worse shape.

  16. MadDog says:

    EW, this is tangentially OT (or not *g), but check out Laura Rozen’s latest in MotherJones:

    …In the summer of 2002, after returning from a posting as the Counterterrorism Center chief in Pakistan, where he was involved in the questioning of Zubaida, Kiriakou served as the executive assistant to Robert Grenier, then the CIA’s Iraq mission manager. Grenier, a former station chief in Pakistan and director of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, later was called as a witness at the trial of the vice president’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby—and his testimony proved damaging to Libby’s defense.

    According to a declassified document filed with the court after the Libby trial and obtained by Mother Jones, Kiriakou authored a June 10, 2003 email sent to several CIA officials. The message apparently was written in response to intense efforts at that time by the vice president’s office to learn how Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had been selected to go on a CIA-sponsored fact-finding mission to Niger. The email makes clear that senior CIA officials, including Kiriakou’s boss and the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, did not know who Valerie Wilson was at the time. Prodded by Cheney’s office, they were seeking information on her role at the agency prior to a scheduled conversation with Libby the next day.

    Libby later would claim that he did not learn who Plame was until two days later, from the vice president (and that he then forgot about her CIA connection until he was reminded a month later by journalists)…

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”

  17. FrankProbst says:

    This tactic may be familiar to you from your youth. I know when I was four or five, I used to parse parental requests very narrowly so as to rationalize behavior I knew to be wrong.

    I would never have tried a whopper like this, and if I had, I sure as hell wouldn’t have gotten away with it. If I were a member of the “9/11 Commission”, this is the sort of stunt that would make me want to “get the band back together” and haul everyone in for some more “under oath” questioning.

  18. MadDog says:

    So let’s see here:

    Kiriakou worked for Grenier.
    Grenier got fired by Rodriguez.
    Grenier helps convict Libby for Valerie Plame Wilson betrayal.
    Rodriguez orders tapes destroyed.
    Kiriakou meets openly with the MSM describing “torture”.

    So the questions are: Who spilled the beans to the NYT? And why?

    Any dots you’d like to connect?

  19. Jeff says:

    balkinization has posted Zelikow’s memo itself, which is quite interesting in all sorts of ways. For now, I just want to flag a couple of things, in the context of what Zelikow makes clear was a quite strident dispute between the Commission and CIA over efforts to get information from and about the detainees. There was a particularly contentious period running from late 2003 until mid-2004, when the Commission produced its report. Tenet and McLaughlin unquestionably did something wrong, and someone more expert than me will have to make the judgment of criminal liability. In January 2004, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Cambone and Wray (at DoJ) were brought in along with the CIA folks including Tenet, McLaughlin and Scott Muller. That means, obviously, that if any of those other (non-CIA) folks knew about the tapes at that point, they were fully in the loop of the controversy, where CIA was withholding the tapes when they pretty clearly should not have been.

    Another intriguing thing is that in May 2004 the Commission specifically asked what information the CIA had about whether Abu Zubaydah had said anything about a Saudi prince in his interrogations. This was memorialized or embodied in “CIA Question for the Record No. 3″ dated May 20, 2004. The Commission apparently has no record of a CIA response. Now, the reason that is intriguing is because it was apparently in May 2004 that Muller was meeting with White House officials to talk about the destruction of the tapes. This has been contextualized in relation to the Abu Ghraib revelations. But I wonder either if it had something to do with the 9/11 Commission business (as well), or what the White House officials knew after that point and what contact they had with the 9/11 Commission after on this issue, if anything.

  20. MrWhy says:

    Doesn’t Waxman like to use the phrase IBNLT “including, but not limited to”? Shouldn’t that cover video & audio tapes, paper documents, transcripts, email, and all and sundry, regardless of who/what/when/where/why/how?

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