I’m all in favor of holding the several people in the White House who intervened to destroy evidence responsible for their actions: I expect Steven Cambone, Rummy, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, and probably Cheney deserve the heat for destroying the torture tapes.

But as we begin to hear about Jose Rodriguez considering immunity…

THE CIA chief who ordered the destruction of secret videotapes recording the harsh interrogation of two top Al-Qaeda suspects has indicated he may seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying before the House intelligence committee.

Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, is determined not to become the fall guy in the controversy over the CIA’s use of torture, according to intelligence sources.


The House intelligence committee has subpoenaed Rodriguez to appear for a hearing on January 16. Last week the CIA began opening its files to congressional investigators. Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat who is chairing the committee, has said he was “not looking for scapegoats” – a hint to Rodriguez that he would like him to talk.

… it might be well to remember what I pointed out when Rodriguez was first floating the idea of immunity.

The article also includes a clear signal from the masterful press manipulator, Bob Bennett, that he intends to advise his client John Jose Rodriguez to plead the Fifth.

Bennett told NEWSWEEK that his client had been "a dedicated and loy­al public servant for 31 years" and "has done nothing wrong." But he warned that Rodriguez may refuse to cooperate with investigators if he concludes that the probes are a "witch hunt." "I don’t want him to become a scapegoat."

In case you missed it, Bennett uses the same phrase Monica Goodling’s lawyer, John Dowd, used, "witch hunts," just before he snookered Congress into offering her immunity for a bunch of stuff that Congress already had evidence she was doing. As a reminder, Monica said almost nothing that incriminated Rove or Harriet and only sort of incriminated AGAG. But she managed to get herself immunity for "crossing the line" and politicizing DOJ’s hiring practices. Bennett’s use of precisely same language as Monica’s lawyer may be no accident.


Which is, frankly, about the only reason Michael Mukasey is correct in asking the House Intelligence Committee to back off. Crazy Pete Hoekstra is pretty close to Porter Goss, who appears to know more about the destruction of the torture tapes than he is letting on. And I could see Hoekstra doing the same favors–of impeding an investigation by manipulating the less than crafty chair of the House Intelligence Committee–that Dick Cheney did when he was in the same position during Iran-Contra. In other words, I’m not sure we can trust Crazy Pete to want to get to the bottom of this, and if HPSCI starts offering immunity as incautiously as they did with Monica, then I worry their investigation will stall any real investigation by DOJ–if it exists.

That is, in the hands of a less than shrewd majority and a politically reliable minority leader, immunity can be counter-productive. In the case of Monica Goodling, the Dems basically gave Monica a get out of jail card for nothing in exchange. Until I see that Crazy Pete Hoekstra’s heart is in the right place on this issue (which would, frankly, astound me), then I’d suggest we want to be very careful before we give Rodriguez something for nothing.

61 replies
  1. LS says: if they give him immunity…and he’s the only one “vulnerable”, because he decided on his “own” (yeah, right) to destroy the tapes (against the “advice” of Miers etal…)..then, if he’s given immunity…everyone else walks…something like that?

    One f’ing minute….!!!

  2. LS says:

    I’ll bet Silvestre Reyes..needs…Amb*an to sleep these days too…my theory…they’re lookin’ at him and the Rodriguez connection pretty closely…hence, the lack of cooperation from DOJ with the “committee”….just sayin’.

  3. MadDog says:

    As I said your the Secret Schmoozing post:

    As expected, no immunity, no talkee.

    I would hope that the House Intelligence Committee staff would get a proffer from Bennett on just what Rodriguez can testify to.

    Secondly, I would also hope that no such immunity be given unless Rodriguez has some real bomb shells (i.e. indictable info on high up WH morons).

    If I was leading the committee, I’d play real hard ball with Bennett. In the end, I’d rather have Rodriguez pleading the 5th than to sellout for less than an indictable major WH player.

    Immunity will only be worth it if he can nail higher-ups. Otherwise this is just a Village Kabuki drama played out to try and get us yokels fooled into believing stuff has consequences.

    I’m thinking that one reason Mukasey and the DOJ relented about Congressional hearings, is the that the WH politicos like Gillespie got involved and told ‘em, “Go ahead, let those dumb suckers have their hearings. They’ll screw it up just like Iran/Contra. Been there, done that and got the T-shirt.”

    And I noticed that Mukasey and the DOJ relented only for the House. I guess the WH figures they’re the easier ones to game.

    • PetePierce says:

      Good insights. But I haven’t seen any evidence yet that would lead Gillespie to think the House is any easier to game than Senate Intelligence or Senate Judiciary. I think nothing happens without Gillespie pulling the strings these days whether Fielding or Mukasey or Addington is involved.

      • MadDog says:

        Good insights. But I haven’t seen any evidence yet that would lead Gillespie to think the House is any easier to game than Senate Intelligence or Senate Judiciary. I think nothing happens without Gillespie pulling the strings these days whether Fielding or Mukasey or Addington is involved.

        Chairman Reyes is buddy-buddy with both Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s brother from what I believe was in earlier posts and commments here.

        Plus Reyes has seemed “intellectually-challenged” as the Chair since Nancy Pelosi appointed him to replace Jane Harmon.

        This is some of what I mean:

        Controversial statements

        In a December 2006 interview with the Congressional Quarterly, Reyes incorrectly said that al-Qaeda, a Sunni group, was “predominantly probably Shi’ite.” He also avoided answering the question whether Hezbollah, a Shi’ite organization, was Sunni or Shi’ite, answering now famously “”Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah? … Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?” Congressman Reyes, who has been a ranking member of the Select Intelligence Committees for a number of years, has been criticized for his lack of knowledge of the most basic of facts consequential to the war on terror.

        • PetePierce says:

          Plus Reyes has seemed “intellectually-challenged” as the Chair since Nancy Pelosi appointed him to replace Jane Harmon.

          Absolutely. And I’m not a Harmon fan at all either. Who knows what the hell she knows in many cases that we don’t? I don’t think Harmon was up to dealing with the Bush machine, but she probably lost her job because there is a good deal of anamosity between her and Pelosi.

          I’m with you. I didn’t know about Reye’s relationship with the Rodriguezs, but I wasn’t disagreeing with your assessment; I thought it was spot on. What I meant was, that I just haven’t been very impressed on any of the insight and judgement exhibited by the SSIC or SJC in the last couple years, so I would include them as equally gullible. I am just totally disappointed with nearly every call from Senate Judiciary and dating from Pat Roberts’s three card montes there, and now Jello Jay’s I don’t trust much I hear out of Senate Intelligence at all.

          Their performance with the Intell Bill, S.2248, and the inclusion of immunity via a deal with
          Addington and Cheney that closed most members out, was the last straw with them for me. In addition, I’ve found anything from SSIC for public consumption pretty worthless.

          I totally share your lack of confidence in Sylvestre Reyes or with no loss of respect to him, that he may not be up to dealing with these sharks even if he weren’t possibly making side deals. I read a piece that made me really doubt his intentions with this investigation, and it could well have been a link from an EW thread–I’m trying to remember where it was.

          If every someone had the equipment to manipulate government, it’s Ed Gillespie, and I think he’ll be more effective than Rove was at doing it from the WH.

          I remember seeing the statents you quote, and losing confidence in Reyes on the spot–I think they were in an interview that showed up on TV–I see from Wikipedia Fox News and it was experted on KO’s show–I could be wrong.

          • MadDog says:

            I’m with you. I didn’t know about Reye’s relationship with the Rodriguezs, but I wasn’t disagreeing with your assessment…

            Then the confusion was all mine. *g*

            If every someone had the equipment to manipulate government, it’s Ed Gillespie, and I think he’ll be more effective than Rove was at doing it from the WH.

            My take is that Gillespie was a two-fer. He replaced both Rove and Bartlett, and is miles more weasely than either. He’s not plumb crazy like Turdblossom and this wasn’t his first big job as was the case with Bartlett.

            • PetePierce says:

              In response to your comments and Jeff’s comments on Reyes not being up to the job, I don’t think Reyes’ background with the Border Patrol largely, qualifies him at all to chair a Congressional Intel committee. I would want an experienced attorney in that chair or in Rockerfeller’s chair–particularly in this climate.

              It often amazes me how some people get to chair those committees in the House or the Senate.

              • bmaz says:

                I agree as to Reyes. Also agree as to Jello Jay; however, he is an extremely bright guy, trust me I met him a long time ago. He is, however, a totally wimpy guy who has become institutionalized and “Stockholmed” by being surrounded by the more dominant authoritarian types. But you are right, he should not be Chairman.

  4. bmaz says:

    EW, I agree completely. Couple of thoughts. First off, what happened to prosecutors/investigators getting full proffers before conferring immunity? Is this just a lost art in Washington these days, or is Congress just too bloody stupid to know that you can demand that before giving immunity? Second, even if Congress decides they want to immunize, it still has to go by DOJ. What makes anybody think they won’t bugger and clog this one up? DOJ wanted Goodling to get immunity; they will not Rodriquez.

  5. PetePierce says:

    I don’t trust Crazy Pete on that committee any more than I trust Tom Davis on Waxman’s Oversight Committee. I think Bill Bennett can easily outmanipulate Reyes, and I don’t expect much to come from the Rod’s appearance before Reyes’ committee.

    It sure was enjoyable to run into

    Bill Bennett’s Mornings

    I always get nervous when I see the phrase “My friend Rachel Paulose”–I’m thinkin’ get some new friends.

  6. PetePierce says:

    I think Bob Bennett can easily out manipulate Reyes, not the gambler Bill. It was nice to run into his terrific web site though.

    • MadDog says:

      Excellent reading! I particularly like this part:

      Goss had been sharply critical of the clandestine service while in Congress and came to the agency promising sweeping changes. But within months of his arrival, a series of CIA veterans — including three top officers in the clandestine service — resigned in protest of Goss’ leadership.

      By the time the tapes were destroyed, “they weren’t in the business of listening to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official who observed the friction first-hand.

      And I still think there is much unsaid about Goss’ abrupt departure. None of the MSM stories seem to fit the suddenness and lack of believable explanations.

    • bmaz says:

      Good call. Here are my takeaways from the article:

      The issue became more urgent in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, which inflamed anti-U.S. sentiment abroad and prompted new laws in the United States governing the treatment of detainees. In the CIA, there was growing concern that the interrogation tapes might be leaked to the media or dragged into public view by a court or congressional inquiry.

      Officials who worked with Rodriguez said that he was never ordered by Goss or any other official to keep the tapes, and that he had obtained advice from agency lawyers saying there was no legal requirement to preserve them.

      They knew they were evidence that would be material to courts and Congress, knew the tapes depicted criminal acts that would expose the acts and those perpetrating them, knew they had been advised they should not be destroyed and, despite the foregoing, destroyed them under the guise that they were not “ordered” to not destroy them. Well, I guess that is just fine and dandy then; lets all just move along. Right. What a bunch of crap. Those, including Rodriquez, that destroyed the tapes are dead nuts guilty, and everybody up the food chain that knew the action was being contemplated and did not issue specific orders and otherwise see to it that the tapes were preserved is guilty as well; at a minimum for reckless disregard of their legal obligations.

  7. bmaz says:

    Oh, and by the way, NO IMMUNITY FOR RODRIQUEZ. Does anyone have any further questions as to why the Bush Administration led DOJ has a conflict here? Rodriquez, instead of being given immunity, should be offered a plea deal where he pleads guilty AND cooperates. But who is going to do that right thing here? The people, and their derelict in duty elected Congress, have so subsidized and ratified the pure audacious criminal conduct of this Administration that we are now effectively powerless to stop it. This is what happens when self interested derelict “leaders” like Pelosi, Hoyer and Conyers leave impeachment “off the table”. As far as I am concerned, every day that the Democratic Leadership refuses to invoke the power of impeachment, they are aiding, abetting and perpetuating a criminal enterprise, and ought to be prosecuted themselves. This is just ridiculous.

  8. nolo says:

    if rodriquez rolls on addington, as
    jeralyn merritt at talkleft is predicting,
    then addington will [almost certainly] give
    up cheney — addington is no scooter.

    i’d predict that all fo this may happen
    pretty quickly — as in mid to late january.

    seems not too far from what i was guessing.

    for what it is worth, rodriquez is no goodling.
    he’s had a long career in government, and has
    some real scars to show for it. he knows this
    had an orange jumpsuit written all over it. he’ll
    sing — bennett will get him immunity — and we may
    get addington, or [the optimist in me] cheney.

    hmmmm. . . could be.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh heh. I love the dreamer in you nolo. The second session of the 110th Congress does not start until January 15th. Add on to that the fact that either the full House, or a committee must set a hearing to contemplate an immunity grant and vote on the same, which sure isn’t going to happen on the first day back (don’t forget they still are up against the wall on FISA), then assuming they can have a hearing and vote on immunity, the procedure for obtaining immunity for a witness in a Congressional proceeding is governed by 18 U.S.C. Sec. 6005(b), which provides:
      (b) Before issuing an order under subsection (a) of this section, a United States district court shall find that—
      (1) in the case of a proceeding before or ancillary to either House of Congress, the request for such an order has been approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Members present of that House;
      (2) in the case of a proceeding before or ancillary to a committee or a subcommittee of either House of Congress or a joint committee of both Houses, the request for such an order has been approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the full committee; and
      (3) ten days or more prior to the day on which the request for such an order was made, the Attorney General was served with notice of an intention to request the order.
      Section 6005(c) does provide that the Department of Justice can intervene to request a delay in granting the immunity order, for up to twenty days, on such grounds “as the Attorney General may specify.” One obvious reason to request a delay is if the immunity grant will interfere with a continuing criminal investigation, although that does not appear to be the case in this situation. Conceivably, the Attorney General could seek to resist an immunity grant on other grounds, such as executive privilege or Congressional overreaching, which would create quite a stir at this point. This ain’t the Goodling pablum; big time stuff here. This is a minefield involving the CIA, the Clandestine services, war crimes of the highest order, etc. Want to bet some more pie on this being done in January?

      • JohnForde says:

        BMAZ – NOLO
        I love you both.

        Couldn’t events & timelines spin out of control quickly? Not thru the force of subpeona’s but thru leaks?
        As long as Addington can delay he can invoke countermeasures. It seems to me it will take an avalanche to dislodge Addington. But it could be a political avalanche, not a legal one.

        Getting to Cheney? I’m with you BMAZ – it will take the legal route.

      • bmaz says:

        By the way, if anybody caught this, this sentence in comment 16 I made above:

        One obvious reason to request a delay is if the immunity grant will interfere with a continuing criminal investigation, although that does not appear to be the case in this situation.

        should read “…and that does appear to be the situation here.”

      • nolo says:

        good timing points, bmaz –

        i have only a feeble excuse, on the
        whole timing thing — as i wrote a similar
        statutory run-down on the timing of goodling’s
        immunity deal before congress — um. . .

        too much reindeer milk!

        but seriously, what if the immunity IS granted
        by mid-february? [and i do think jeralyn is right.]

        now — as EW reminds, the documents the
        ACLU may have seen are, i think, the same
        ones david remes refers to in his averrments,
        before judge kennedy, in Abdah’s habeas case

        more torture videos still exist. they are
        likely at gitmo; as are photos of torture, as
        are audio tapes of interrogations of all sorts.

        what will it take to force these into the light?

        i dunno. but that’s where i’d most like this
        to end up — as part of the evidence naming
        cheney as “elected official A” in a mulit-count
        indictment driven by pleas/immunity from rodriquez,
        addington, etc.

        but as you say, i am ever a dreamer, bmaz.

        i’ll just go back to sipping my reindeer milk, now.

        p e a c e,

        and happy

        s o l s t i c e!

    • MadDog says:

      Thanks for the TalkLeft referral!

      Jeralyn pointed to a very interesting link in the NYT back in January 29, 2005:

      Security Nominee Gave Advice to the C.I.A. on Torture Laws

      Michael Chertoff, who has been picked by President Bush to be the homeland security secretary, advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the legality of coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, current and former administration officials said this week.

      Depending on the circumstances, he told the intelligence agency, some coercive methods could be legal, but he advised against others, the officials said…


      …Mr. Chertoff’s division was asked on several occasions by the intelligence agency whether its officers risked prosecution by using particular techniques. The officials said the C.I.A. wanted as much legal protection as it could obtain while the Justice Department sought to avoid giving unconditional approval.

      One technique that C.I.A. officers could use under certain circumstances without fear of prosecution was strapping a subject down and making him experience a feeling of drowning…


      …The C.I.A. was seeking to determine the legal limits of interrogation practices in cases like that of Abu Zubaydah, the Qaeda lieutenant captured in March 2002.

      The officials said Mr. Chertoff was directly involved in these discussions, in effect, evaluating the legality of techniques proposed by the C.I.A. by advising the agency whether its employees could go ahead with proposed interrogation methods without fear of prosecution…


      …In interviews, former senior intelligence officials said C.I.A. lawyers went to extraordinary lengths beginning in March 2002 to get a clear answer from the Justice Department about which interrogation techniques were permissible in questioning Abu Zubaydah and other important detainees. The lawyers involved included Scott Muller, then the agency’s general counsel, and John Rizzo, his top deputy, the officials said…

  9. Jeff says:

    It seems sensible for no immunity for Rodriguez, but it seems genuinely possible the reason for that is that he really freelanced and did something he should not have done. The fact that he was not told to keep the tapes is probably telling and damning. But that doesn’t mean he has something to give in return for immunity.

    And meanwhile, look at this hilarious column from Robert Novak on the matter. It seems like someone should tell him that NIEs are not CIA products. And of course for old-time sake I cannot resist wondering about this:

    Hayden, an active-duty four-star Air Force general, first antagonized Hoekstra by telling Reyes what the Democrats wanted to hear about the Valerie Plame-CIA leak case.

    What? Hoekstra and Novak, who is basically happy for his column to be an unfiltered platform for Hoekstra, still cannot handle the simple fact that Valerie Wilson was actually really undercover? That Cliff May was not right to infer that because a source of his blew Plame’s cover to him in July 2003, her CIA identity was well-known – May being, of course, the public origin of the notion that she was not really underover, which Novak himself was and continues to be happy to recycle despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    For the latest indication to the contrary – as if more was needed – the much more reliable inference of a much more reliable journalist:

    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.

    • bmaz says:

      Precisely; but whether he has the goods up the food chain or not, if you give him immunity without locking him in to the nth degree all the way up, and down, the chain on his knowledge and testimony (which I don’t think our boys have the savvy to do) Rodriquesz is then in a position to take the heat away from all the others AND walk. look like a hero to his beloved spooks too.

  10. Mary says:

    I can’t imagine Addington ever “giving up” Cheney or the President, in large part because he knows he will never have to. Congress won’t impeach or press on subpoenas, if he takes the 5th or even flat out lies, he’s primed for pardon only if he doesn’t roll, and as long as Congress has allowed Bush to win at chicken and has now set the scene for complete deference to, and lack of ever forcing accountability on, the actual torturers and their authorizer – Addington is in the driver’s seat. DOJ is a den of criminals who are believers in torture and in their inherent right to immunize “their people” from responsiblity for torture – and even the torture killings and child kidnap that have been reported but buried by Congress and the DOJ. It’s a DOJ that has an “us” v. “them” mentality, with “us” allowed to do anything, including torture, maim and kill – while sending “them” to prison for being politically unacceptable to someone in the Bush admin is par for the DOJ course.

    Think about what it takes to be someone who shows up for work every day to knowingly be a part of the promotion of torture, directly or indirectly. They show up every day, and have for YEARS now, to work for the Executive ability to kidnap and torture. Innocent men and women and children, destroyed families, and now a firmly established culture of departmental criminality with an equally established culture of departmentally covering up crimes – a group that recites catechisms of “chaining a detainee and leaving them to freeze to death is humane treatment because George W. Bush says so” – then goes out for a starbucks knowing how many people are suffering as victims of their department’s acknowledged and unabated solicitation and coverup of crimes, and figure out why Addington would be all that worried.

    In any event, not on topic but EPU’d from the timeline thead bc I think the dates are significant:

    I think you should consider adding in the Maher Arar torture victims act lawsuit against Larry Thompson, John Ashcroft et al that was filed in January of 2004 (22?) and the June 1 Padilla press conference.…..index.html

    The whole first part of the press conf is about all the classified info reviewed by DOJ prior to the presser, then it goes into a string of recitations about Zubaydah that had to have made Coleman choke a little.

    Before Clement gave his speech on torture, you had Arar filing a torture victims act claim against the AG of the United States and his DAG for their roles in torture. You supposedly also had DOJ in the midst of an “unprecedented” review of classified info very specifically including the Zubaydah handling, all of which gve rise to Comey’s presser in June.

  11. selise says:

    completely OT – i’ve been a bit out of it and expect you-all have already discussed this… but if not… i just listened to scott horton (of harper’s mag) being interviewed by scott horton (of anti-war radio, no relation) from friday, and while there were a bunch of interesting topics, this bit from harper’s scott horton jumped out at me (starting at 37m: 20s in):

    David Iglesias, who was the US attorney in Albuquerque, his case I think is the big bombshell out of all them. I have an article that’s going to be coming out about this shortly, but I’ll just go right to the punch line. What we discovered at the end of this case is that the man who decided to fire Iglesias because he wouldn’t bring the prosecution of this democrat in Santa Fe right on the eve of the election, was president Bush, personally.

    Alberto Gonzales refused to do it because it was so fragrantly wrong and a violation of the law. They went into the oval office and got Bush to do it. That’s one of the reasons that we’re seeing such stonewalling of the investigation in congress right now – because the trail goes right into the oval office.

    my rough transcript and my bold.

    am i the only one how hasn’t already heard about this?

    • bmaz says:

      I am not sure what Horton means by “we discovered”, but it has been my conclusion, and I think quite a few others including EW, for quite a long time that it was indeed Bush ordering this one. It has been known for quite a while that Bush personally took a call from Dominici on sacking Iglesias.

      • selise says:

        my impression (could very well be wrong) from tone, etc was that there was new hard evidence, not just the previous circumstantial evidence.

        oh well, will have to wait for the article i guess.

        carry on. my apologies for interrupting.

        • bmaz says:

          Maybe; I’ll hazard a guess nothing earth shattering is new though. Horton does get good stuff from time to time I have to admit, so it is possible.

        • watercarrier4diogenes says:

          I’m with you, Selise, after listening to the interview. There aren’t many outside the 24%’ers who haven’t seen the circumstantial link, given the Domenici call, and especially not a Scott Horton. For Horton to say what he did, there has to be more to his story than rehashing the conjecture.

          • bmaz says:

            I haven’t listened to the interview, am working on other things going on here, but perhaps I should rephrase my thought. How much more compelling is it to get more evidence on something that was pretty clearly established to start with? Then tag onto that the fact that despite the hokiness of the line, USAs really do serve at the pleasure of the President; technically, he is the only one who can fire them (even though it must be for legal reasons). Maybe I am missing something, but there has to be more than this to get me excited on this one…

            • watercarrier4diogenes says:

              Agreed that despite its hokiness, that line’s true. But the actions of Dumbya and the actual content of the Domenici call have been conjectured more than proven. There just might be something here that proves he was involved. Whether that involvement was legal or not might even be established. If it _was_ legal, why the stonewalling ever since it came out?

              • bmaz says:

                I think it has been established Bush was involved. Although perhaps not established to a point of certainty, I think it has long been crystal clear that the purpose was political and completely improper. Both absolutely established to a sufficient degree that action could have been taken if anyone were so inclined. Nobody is so inclined and that is the problem. Horton better have something pretty damn earthshattering to overcome the present inertia; that is what i am having a hard time envisioning. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

                • watercarrier4diogenes says:

                  So do I, believe me. I’m just not convinced that there’s proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ there. Unless there’s a recording of the Domenici call, I doubt either he or Dumbya could ever be forced to admit anything, so where else would the ‘established’ fact come from? I share your disgust with the spineless nature of the key players on the Dem side, but in this case, I don’t think they’ve had the evidence to be able to proceed. Fitzpatrick obviously doesn’t have any cold, hard evidence, or he’d surely have proceeded on the Plame leak. I think Congress is in the same bind. Something that would be a death-knell to his Presidency even if they tried to block hearings on it just hasn’t been there. Yet.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Right; but you don’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to investigate further, nor to open an impeachment investigation. On the Dominici bit, there is clearly enough evidence; but they keep deferring to the namby pamby OSC “investigation”. I sure hope Scott Horton has the goods to kick it into a higher gear, but I am having a hard time seeing it. Like I said above, I respect Horton a lot, and he does pop big ones every now and then, so lets keep our fingers crossed. Hey, if you saw my totally sorry predictions in my football post this weekend, me betting against this may be the good luck it needs to be the real deal….

                    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

                      Indeed, I did, and sadly, since I had the same picks for the most part, I share your gloom. I guess my depression is shallow enough that I think the Dem ‘leadership’, faced with something concrete, will finally fear the reaction to their hiding their heads in the sand more than they fear the Rethugs or whoever/whatever they currently fear (my bet is that they’ve each got something hidden that Cheney has now found out about thru all that email he’s collected).

                    • PetePierce says:

                      I think the world of Brett Favre and what he’s accomplished, but I did notice after the Bears game today that he made the cover of Sports Illustrated as Player of the Year.

                      There has long been a legend that started years and years ago about the SI cover jinx. I used to collect SI covers and then get the cover person to autograph them, and I collected about 400. The rules were not to buy them, but to get them live which meant keeping a lot of them in your trunk and sometimes finding the right SI was harder than finding the person on the cover.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, I posted on it a long time ago, pointing to McClatchy reporting. I keep pointing to that detail, in fact. But no one seems to believe that McClatchy reporting, which was based on sources in Domenici’s own office.

      • selise says:

        sorry – must have missed or forgotten it.

        warning: incoming lame excuse…. i guess i just haven’t been following that scandal very closely.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      Count on you to fine something we all missed. With all this head-spinning stuff, so it is good to see something come down the pike that is comprehensible to the average citizen…
      For a second I thought I had received a festivius present. Now I realize that
      it will be chalked up to “at pleasure of the president.”
      In any case, happy holiday of your choosing to you.

  12. Jeff says:

    One other thing on the timing of all of this. Let’s assume reports that the tapes were destroyed in November 2005 are accurate. Something I have not seen (or do not recall seeing) noted about that period, which I realized looking through Charlie Savage’s book today, is that November 2005 was the height of the debate over what became the Detainee Treatment Act, and more particularly of the very public and seemingly bitter negotiations between McCain and Cheney over this. Otcober 5 the White House issued a veto threat; hours later, the Senate voted overwhelmingly for McCain’s amendment. Cheney and Goss met with McCain on October 20 in the context of reconciliation of the Senate and House bills to try to get exemption for CIA interrogators abroad. November 1 Cheney goes to the weekly Republican senatorial luncheon about it. (I could be wrong, but I think this is the one where, according to Hayes’ Cheney book, they said a prayer for Scooter Libby.) Of course the next day Dana Priest publishes her big article on the secret prisons.

    This seems like a significant part of the context, most likely.

    • emptywheel says:

      Jeebus, Jeff, don’t you read timelines? I based my original torture tape timeline on the whole leadup to the McCain Amendment, which we already know had an underlying debate about photographing detainees because, when ACLU got a document noting all the changes in that policy, the Administration went all Pentagon Papers on them, and worse.

      If you recall, when the WH declassified the document to avoid an adverse court ruling, the govt asked ACLU if they got another doct with the one in question. So I’m guessing they flipped out bc there’s a doct relating to the torture tapes they were worried the ACLU had gotten.

      Which of course means that doct is out there.

      • Jeff says:

        Jeebus, Jeff, don’t you read timelines?

        What can I say – I’m a bad reader and I’ve got a bad memory. I recalled the Dana Priest thing looming large, and the question of the Brinkema order, but not the McCain-Cheney debate. And I noted that I didn’t recall seeing it!

        Are you referring to the government’s request/demand that the ACLU give back documents that the government had apparently given to ACLU through error?

        • emptywheel says:

          It’s not clear the document came from the govt–I have been under the impression the ACLU got it from a whistleblower, intentionally. One of the questions they asked in the negotiations over the document was whether ACLU got any other documents. I’ve asked ACLU, and they have no way of knowing whether the govt might have been asking about a torture tape document.

          • Jeff says:

            Got it. So it’s not like ACLU does have such a document, it’s just that the government was anxious the ACLU had something and it remains unclear what it might have been, a torture tape document being one possibility.

            • emptywheel says:

              Correct. What we know is the document ACLU HAD was fairly innocuous, except insofar as it proves they didn’t regulate military photography of detainees until after Abu Ghraib. But it seems the govt believed they got a bunch of documents, and that may be why they went all Pentagon Papers.

              Here are some posts on the flap.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Does anyone know when the full Senate will vote on Leahy’s contempt
        citation to force Rove & Meirs, to testify?

  13. Jeff says:

    Plus Reyes has seemed “intellectually-challenged” as the Chair since Nancy Pelosi appointed him to replace Jane Harmon.

    Absolutely. And I’m not a Harmon fan at all either.

    Harman totally should have been intel chair. She would have been so much better than Reyes. And it was apparent and knowable at the time.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      Oh, yeah… move-a, move-a. I remember when it was first run stuff on MTV. At the time, 1985, there wasn’t a graphics game out that looked any better. I actually taped it along with a few other music videos of that era and then copied them onto a single tape and played it until it wore out. YouTube? Who KNEW!!!???

  14. FrankProbst says:

    Immunity? No way, Jose. You’re pretty much caught red-handed. If you want a plea deal, fine. But immunity? You’re guilty, and we all know it. No “get out of jail free” card for you.

  15. LabDancer says:

    MadDog – I’ve been horney-helmeted & gold-Rapunzel’d since the Norsemen shucked off Van Brocklin’s training chestplate & gave it up for the Grey Ghost! Over that [not insubstantial] time I’ve got used to Sunday’s obvious opportunity starkly juxtaposed with next weeks long odds as pretty much what peeing purple is all about. Remember the sh**kicking we gave the Warfield Browns with a broken down CFL q-back who couldn’t hold onto the ball in the NFL championship – just to get taken out at the ankles by Hank Stram’s Midgets On Parade? Aside – why is that one’s affection for such hopeless causes seems to last longer than connubial bliss?

    MadDog – Bmaz: I want to leave aside for the moment this real world – the one which looks as if Cheney & Addington & Gillespie have set up Reyes to give his compadre J Rod the Barrio Break & complete the footnotes to yet another couple of pages on Bush list of pardons [I don’t pay much attention to those who whine that you can’t get on the list unless you’ve been convicted, because I haven’t seen any sign Bush pays any attention to such technicalities. He’s like Bugs Bunny in Fearless Freep: “I know this seems to defy the Law of Gravity – but you see, I never studied the law!”]

    I admit I haven’t been entrusted with a Congressional investigation, but I’ve been on my share of amorphorous “inquiries”, & the way I’ve typically approached the J Rob Dilemma – one which is far from unusual to prosecutors in grand jury settings – is to put up the person in J Rod’s position without any immunity & let him wiggle. Yes he’s entitled to pre-hearing counsel and even refreshers during the hearing, but my experience is that if the inquisitor thinks through the process in advance far more often than not one finds the witness talking about things he actually did – the sort of thing on which it can be hard to sustain the 5th [depending on the inclinations of the supervising judge] including who he met with & when – from which one of two scenarios results:

    either the witness finds himself having blown his protection [or thinking he has – tho I doubt the latter would happen with a hard case like J Rod]

    or you can work up a pretty reasonable plan of attack for Round 2, during which the goal could be as little as getting as many i.d.’s as possible of those J Rod dealt with – at that point even hard cases tend to have their counsellors grovelling with profers; which is the goal here, no?

    Not that I’m holding my breath on any of this, given what we’ve seen of Reyes in particular & the typical inclination of committee members on both sides to put the priority on grandstanding towards the next campaign; but my proposition is that the J Rod scenario is pretty much grist for the mill outside the Beltway & off C-Span, & those add to the witness’ anxiety level so long as the inquisitor isn’t running for office.

    So assuming the HIC has or can acquire a Sam Dash or Richard Ben Veniste type, I should think that whether or not Reyes is acting bona fides here would come down to watching for something as simple as whether he gives in to grand-standing or uses the Dems’ time to build a case.

    Am I wrong in seeing it this way?

    [Or am I just like Peter Cook’s cult leader on the mountain awaiting Armageddon, just very old fashioned?]

    [Caveat: I admit that in my prosecution days I drew heat from more than one defending attorney suspicious of the results of such an approach, and was invited on a few unplanned trips to the capital for chats with the professional conduct committee – but that ceased once it was figured out that in every such case the tape was the best witness & where that was not available then the trial was the real proof – & last I heard it’s still allowed in prosecution to use one’s brain.]

  16. BayStateLibrul says:

    What a great thread. I went to bed early and missed the discussion.
    Three drive-bys…


    “if rodriquez rolls on addington, as
    jeralyn merritt at talkleft is predicting,
    then addington will [almost certainly] give
    up cheney — addington is no scooter.

    i’d predict that all fo this may happen
    pretty quickly — as in mid to late january.”

    Explains the fire; and the black smoke, Non Habemas Cheney!
    Has anyone checked the logs to see if Addington was
    in the house?

    Pete Pierce:
    “There has long been a legend that started years and years ago about the SI cover jinx.”

    Hmmmm, Brady came up second fiddle?

    Letter to the Globule

    DURING MY last year in Vietnam, I was in charge of US Air Force interrogation of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army prisoners. None of what President Bush labels as legal was legal under the Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is still a signatory. US Army, Marine, and Army of Republic of Vietnam personnel were constantly amazed at the interrogation results produced by the Air Force, and we were never allowed to touch prisoners, let alone head-slap them. Every human being has needs, and we learned those needs and exploited them. Neither Bush’s bullying approach in the Mideast nor his unlawful interrogation program has worked. (Oct. 12)


  17. Jeff says:

    Two other things about that Novak column. Novak shows he (and/or the Republicans) really have no idea what he’s talking about with his comments about the NIE, but I still wonder if there is something to this comment by Novak:

    There is no partisan divide on congressional outrage over the CIA’s destruction of tapes showing interrogation of detainees suspected of terrorism. Hoekstra agrees with Reyes that the Bush administration has made a big mistake refusing to let officials testify in the impending investigation.

    What, exactly, is that last line a reference to? Do we know that the Bush administration has refused to let officials testify? Am I just forgetting something obvious, or might that be Novak’s tidbit of news dropped into the story?

    The other thing is that it is notable how careful Novak is not to reveal classified information about the Israeli bombing in Syria. Presumably he’s learned his lesson.

  18. Jeff says:

    I could be wrong, but I think this is the one where, according to Hayes’ Cheney book, they said a prayer for Scooter Libby.)

    I was in fact wrong. The meeting that opened with a prayer for Libby took place on the day Libby was convicted in March 2006, not when he was indicted in October 2005.

  19. radiofreewill says:

    How ironic, All those Republican Presidential Candidates are on Tape boasting about “doubling the size of Gitmo.”

    You are witnessing the End of the Republican Party…

  20. Mary says:

    a witch hunt

    Luckily, there’s a DOJ opinion, and an Attorney General in office, who believe that it is humane treatment to affix a suspect to a stool, tie them down, and submerge them in water, repeatedly, until they tell “the” truth (i.e., what the questioner wants to hear).

    So I fail to see why Mr. Bennett is so concerned. ?

    Besides, in the parsing we’ve all come to know and love and satanic torture rituals aside, isn’t a warlock hunt a very different thing from witch hunt?

Comments are closed.