9/11 Commission Decries Obstruction

Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton must have been waiting all holiday long to launch this grenade against the Administration just as Congress returns and the torture tape inquiry heats up.

MORE than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission.


The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

The op-ed goes on to lay out the key details included in Zelikow’s memo, the chronology of dates when the 9/11 Commission asked for interrogation records that would have included the torture tapes the CIA later went on to destroy. Of note, Kean and Hamilton clearly include the White House among those who obstructed the Commission’s work.

There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

I’ll be curious to see whether and how Kean and Hamilton can ratchet up attention on this issue. Unlike the several judges who were ignored in their requests regarding the tapes, Kean and Hamilton are in a position to really hammer this issue. And unlike Congress (who appears to have been lied to about matters depicted in the tapes), Kean and Hamilton seem willing to call obstruction obstruction. They do acknowledge that they aren’t the ones who will get to investigate the torture tape destruction.

As a legal matter, it is not up to us to examine the C.I.A.’s failure to disclose the existence of these tapes. That is for others. What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

But it’s probably worth noting that they’re launching this grenade from Mukasey’s home town.

47 replies
  1. BooRadley says:

    Thanks emptywheel.

    Maybe Kean and Hamilton can help Congress recover a sliver of institutional pride.

  2. radiofreewill says:

    The most basic common element to All of the BushCo extra-legal and illegal activity is the use, in Combination, of Pixie Dust and Compartmentalization.

    Here it is again with the 911 Commission.

    But, we’ve seen it everywhere that Bush’s desires conflict with the Constitution and the Rule of Law – with both Congress and the Judiciary.

    Pixie Dust and Compartmentalization are the Fabric and Shade of the Curtain hiding Oz, and all of his Henchpeople, above the Law.

  3. Loo Hoo. says:

    “As a legal matter, it is not up to us to examine the C.I.A.’s failure to disclose the existence of these tapes. That is for others.”

    Who are the others?

  4. TheraP says:

    Monday the Times Editorial that stopped just short of calling for indictments. Now this.

    Time for a Special Prosecutor.

    Excerpts from that editorial:

    too many moments
    we cannot recognize
    our country

    impossible to see the founding principles

    the contempt
    for the Constitution,
    the rule of law
    and human decency

    this horror
    this sorrowful sense of estrangement

    Excerpts from The Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg Address:

    declare the causes
    self-evident truths

    the Right of the People
    to alter or to abolish
    a long train of abuses

    it is their right, it is their duty,
    to throw off
    absolute Tyranny

    He has refused
    He has endeavoured to prevent
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice

    solemnly publish and declare
    Cruelty & Perfidy
    whose character
    marked every act which may define a Tyrant

    It is for us
    to be dedicated
    to the unfinished work
    dedicated to the great task remaining before us
    increased devotion to that cause
    that we here highly resolve
    that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom
    and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Now is the moment.

  5. CasualObserver says:

    The absolutely intolerable and extraordinary has become mundane. By this I mean it is entirely likely that the event will last a few news cycles, be ignored by the press, the public, and Congress, and simply go away.

    One of the most frustrating aspects of this Congress is their inability to act, even when their own hearings clearly show the unique lawlessness of this administration.

    • klynn says:

      Possibly…But We the People are perfectly able to launch a national movement through email, snail mail, faxing and visits to reps offices to demand more. We pay for it, we are aloud to demand it. Push the news cycle aside and make our own news cycle through the blogs. My biggest concern is that if we do nothing as a country, we have forever destroyed our democracy. At this point, I do not care to hear the perspective of, “If an investigation is started, it will not be completed until all are out of office; making an investigation a waist of time and resources. Why tear the country up over this?”

      At this point I have no tolerance for such an argument. If need be, protest the MSM for not pushing the investigative journalism on this further along with pressing our reps.

      And Neil, Hugh EW

      -Trepidation has been the “air” in D.C. even during the 9-11 Commission and with the Dems all along. One must ask, “Why?”

      The logical answer is not exactly assuring of a bright future…But I’ll still root for the rule of law to lead us to a state of “the truth will find you out” policy and praxis. Again, I allow myself to dream…

      I pray you are right about Rodriquez testimony. “That” possible reality keeps the hope of justice cogent…

      Kean and Hamilton better back up their op-ed with actions…

  6. BayStateLibrul says:

    The Commission can’t handle obstruction…
    It’s time to call in Sherlock Holmes like Mushie has…
    Lather up, scrub down, and clean under their fingernails.

  7. radiofreewill says:

    Pixie Dust is the Power to Disregard an Existing Executive Order, or to Create an Undisclosed (to Congress or the Judiciary) New Executive Order.

    Compartmentalization Hides the Activities taken in either Desregarding the Exiting EO, or Carrying Out the New Executive Order – in Secret and Out of Oversight by Congress or the Courts.

    So, for instance, Bush Disregarded (Pixie Dusted) EO12333 to Create “the Program” at NSA.

    Also, Bush Secretly created (Pixie Dusted) a Program of Systematic Torture.

    Both of which, and much, much more, were “hidden” from Congress and the Courts through Compartmentalization.

    Congress, in the form of the Gang of 4 or 8, was never given the opportunity to conduct “over-sight” of Bush and Cheney – they were merely “informed” by Bush, at his discretion and without access to legal resources, to make them “culpable” without being able to do anything about it.

    Bush and Cheney cleverly dipped key members of Congress in Tar, and put them on the shelf for a future Feathering.

    And Bush and Cheney out-right Lied to the Judiciary.

    All made Possible through Pixie Dust and Compartmentalization.

  8. Mary says:

    I would be very afraid of having this administration appoint a special prosecutor. I think we need one, but the Administration and DOJ make the biblical Sodom look like a haven of the just. With the wrong prosecutor, you’ll be left with nothing.

    TheraP – I left a couple of comments at Torture Palace and the end of the Bhutto thread. My comment in the Bhutto thread I had meant in reference to the speculation of “what if” people involved in the torture viewings were talking about sports and things, as if it were all mundane – and I reference the “in the record” testimony that, for the military sleeping bag abuse-killing, that is pretty much exactly how it was viewed. We’re going to torture that less than human thing for awhile? Sure – count me in, but let me grab some coffee first.

    I think Kean and Hamilton have a fired up Zelikow lighting their fuses. I’m not willing to go into the “principled Republican” camp for Ashcroft, Comey or Goldsmith, and I’ve been just as apoplectic when Steve Clemons has trotted out Bellinger as a “white hat” but Zelikow really has show that he is not in favor of torture, torturers, or covering up torture and I respect him.

    • TheraP says:

      Mary, thank you for your several posts. I have read your comments but not all the links. I completely agree with your characterization of the clinical nature of what they were doing. There is no way any research of that type could be approved by any ethics body anywhere! (not that you suspected any different) This is clearly not your clinical standard of care under Geneva.

      I hear your reluctance to let them appoint a special prosecutor.

      But something has got to be done!

      • JimWhite says:

        Actually, I think we should use this to put out a call for a new Special Prosecutor law. Wasn’t the old one gutted right after Starr hung it up? I think we all need to contact our Congresscritters and call for a new Special Prosecutor law with real teeth and totally independent of the Department of Justice. Rather than bipartisan, it absolutely has to be nonpartisan. Can anyone with more knowledge of the current excuse for a law flesh this out further?

    • bmaz says:

      I sincerely thank you for not grinding up the monkey of “principled conservative” here. I grow weary of fighting those memes once they gain a toehold. As you know, I agree completely with your position on the appointment of a special prosecutor; anybody Bush would allow to be appointed would be presumed to do more mischief than good. However, SOMETHING has to be done as far as delineating and exposing what has occurred and forcing some type of accountability, even if it is relatively minimal for the great harm done.

      For all our lives, we heard various warnings about a “slippery slope” on this or that issue; but it was basically viewed as code words or a code phrase used by one group or another that simply didn’t like something like pornography etc. Well, it turns out that there really is such a principal, and when the slippery slope is travelled by our highest leaders on the most critical and constitutional of issues, it is deadly. That is exactly why there MUST be an accountability process. The reason there is no accountability and useful oversight now is a direct result of there having been none before; none perpetuates more none. The GOP majority exercised no duty and honor in oversight and accountability, and intimidated and frightened the Democrats into not making a giant racket about it, and thus the Dems became a bunch of come along to get along dupes unworthy of their elected offices. When the country as a whole grew fed up with what was happening to, and in, their country; they turned to the Democrats not realizing that they were now a disheveled heap at the bottom of a slippery slope.

      As it stands now, we are left with the neutered, humiliated and feckless Democrats wildly flailing about, trying to serve the dual masters of escaping blame for what they allowed while maintaining their own individual grips on their power and actually stopping what has been going on. Problem is, that is wholly insufficient. Simply riding out the Bush Bullshit and electing more Democrats in 2008, which should be patently obvious to one and all is the ONLY plan the Democratic leadership and power center will contemplate, will leave in place, and in perception, the new baseline behavior and ethos that Bush and Cheney put in place. This is exactly why I have been screaming about impeachment since well before I stumbled into and hooked up with this marvelous community. There is no longer an independent counsel statute, a special prosecutor appointed by the Bush Administration would never be given the plenary investigative powers necessary to unravel the internecine policies of Cheney/Bush and would be a whitewash agent anyway. Impeachment is the only modality really available and it is absolutely mandatory if we are to be the country we believe we are and hold ourselves out to be. America heal thyself; impeach the evil malefactors. Now.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Your “slippery slope” analogy makes sense.
        I’ve been waiting for seven long years for the shit to hit the fan.
        Still waiting.
        A college English teacher once told me “one never knows.”
        How true.
        This administration refuted all claims to that statement.
        This administration KNEW, and we are paying a terrible price for their
        “The spirit of liberty,” Learned Hand writes, “is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.”
        The Bushie have made one fucking mockery of justice.
        Impeach those bastards.

      • bigbrother says:

        Both Mary and BMAZ I admire and respect as well as all of the legal crew that comments here. Because I have no training in law except for public lawsuits on behlf of my community I see several challenges:
        1.It shall be the high priority to address these violations in a timely manner.
        2. Jimwhite suggest some new laws…best case senario yes, but constrained by time, I think pressing forward now with tools available and new legislation with a new administration if it is progressive. The bushco strategy is to runout the clock.
        3.Impeachment will be televised making it harder to obfuscate bad behavior.
        4. If impeachment is not completed there is still the courts criminally and civilly and the Hague may be forced to take on some of the more heinous crimes.
        Without MSM and the Congress and WH it is tough act to complete. Having said that try we must and goog will come from it.
        The law should not play the victim but should defend them.

  9. oldtree says:

    Does anyone else find it humorous that the “commission” knew all these things but is only now saying something?
    For them to react to “new” information, and pretending it would have made a difference…. They know a hell of a lot more than this about “stonewalling” and evidence disappearing, yet this is what they complain about?
    my how transparent their complaint is. when will they let us know about their having the vapors, or how the dog ate the info?

    It always impresses americans when they trot out old fossils to put on a TV show about responsibility. what a joke. on us.

    • Evolute says:

      Among other things Perry seems to be saying the Clintons had more to do with enabling Bush 43 than Nader ever could have by sweeping the shit EW and you all talk about under the carpet.

  10. Hugh says:

    Here is my entry for the 9/11 Commission from my scandals list. Yes, the CIA withheld information and likely lied but it is also important to remember how Bush and company sought to compromise, limit, and manipulate the commission’s work as well. What the CIA did was not an isolated event but part of a pattern. I am glad to hear Kean and Hamilton call this obstruction but if they were being more open and honest about what happened, they would not be calling obstruction just on the CIA but on the Bush Administration in general.

    33. Attempts to torpedo the 911 Commission. Although now largely forgotten, the Bush Administration fought the 9/11 Commission every step of the way and it was only pressure from the American public and most especially from the families of the victims of 9/11 that the commission was formed and was able to come up with some kind of a report however flawed and incomplete.
    Bush and Cheney resisted calls for such a bipartisan commission for over a year arguing that the matter was best left to Republican controlled intelligence committees in the Congress. It was not until November 27, 2002 that Bush announced the commission’s formation. He did his best to see that it went nowhere. Members were to be chosen by both Congress and the White House raising questions about the commission’s independence. Democratic co-chair George Mitchell on December 11, 2002 and Republican chair Henry Kissinger (whom the White House had insisted on appointing) on December 13, 2007 resigned due to conflicts of interest. Kissinger did not want to make public the financial records (and connections) of his security consulting company Kissinger Associates. Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton were named to replace them. The specter of conflicts of interest remained. Through their careers in government and on corporate boards, essentially all of the commission members had such conflicts. Perhaps the most egregious of these was Philip Zelikow the commission’s executive staff director who had worked closely with Condoleezza Rice on the National Security Council in the first Bush Administration and co-written a book with her.
    Bush also tried to limit the commission’s activities by giving it a budget of only $3 million to investigate the biggest terrorist attack in the country’s history. The Challenger investigation cost $50 million by comparison. Later Kean and Hamilton asked for a further $11 million to be included in the $75 billion supplemental slated to fund the invasion of Iraq. The White House initially refused the funds before reversing itself.
    The White House also placed many roadblocks in the commission’s path slowing its work. The commission was originally given 18 months or to the end of May 2004 to make its report. When a 60 day extension was requested, this too was initially denied. The commission report was eventually released on July 22, 2004.
    The White House sought both to shape and limit testimony. Before former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke testified, then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales contacted two commission members Fred Fielding and James Thompson with information to discredit Clarke which they duly presented.
    On Presidential Daily Briefs, after dragging its heels for months, the White House allowed them to be viewed by only 4 of the 10 commissioners who were to report back to the others. However, the White House denied the full commission access to the notes made by the 4 approved commissioners. Moreover, of 360 PDBs requested, only 24 were made available by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. On March 14, 2004, the White House finally responded to the commission by releasing a 17 page summary of PDBs related to al Qaeda from the Bush and Clinton Administrations.
    The White House refused requests for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify. The rationale given was that historically National Security Advisers had not testified before Congress. This was completely untrue, and Rice finally testified on April 8, 2004. Rice’s testimony, however, came with the price that no other White House aides were to be called.
    Bush initially placed a one hour limit on his testimony before the commission. This was rejected. But his testimony was highly conditioned. On April 29, 2004, he and Dick Cheney together met with the commission in private with no oath or transcript and only one staffer to take notes which were not to be made public.
    Finally, it should be remembered the 9/11 Commission was bipartisan. This does not mean the same thing as non-partisan. In order to achieve consensus, there was a deliberate decision not to assign personal blame. This was a critical shortcoming. Because as the Bush Administration’s repeated obstruction of the investigation into its complacency and inaction before 9/11 showed, it had much to hide.

    • emptywheel says:


      I take this quote:

      There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

      As Kean and Hamilton solidly including the WH in the blame. That’s one reason I find this op-ed interesting. They’ve got more of an inside feel for this than we do (and I would bet that Zelikow remains close with Bellinger, who knows what happened in key meetings that included Gonzales and Addington). Recall, too, that some of the key meetings they list included Gonzales and Rummy. In other words, they’re pointing to the Bush Administration as a whole, not just CIA.

      • Hugh says:

        As Kean and Hamilton solidly including the WH in the blame. That’s one reason I find this op-ed interesting. They’ve got more of an inside feel for this than we do (and I would bet that Zelikow remains close with Bellinger, who knows what happened in key meetings that included Gonzales and Addington). Recall, too, that some of the key meetings they list included Gonzales and Rummy. In other words, they’re pointing to the Bush Administration as a whole, not just CIA.

        Yes, but my point is that the Bush Administration didn’t just stonewall or blow off the 9/11 Commission on this one point but across the board.

  11. merkwurdiglieber says:

    Repeal the National Security Act and the Defense Reorganization Act to
    restore the proper balance of power laid out in the Constitution. As Col.
    Wilkerson revealingly said, parsing here, the National Security Act codified informal working relationships between wartime enteties that have
    become the National Security State and was designed to prevent another
    Roosevelt. Interesting that Roosevelt’s shop produced a win in WWII, but
    I take the thrust of his statement as rationale that Bush II is somehow
    an anomaly, that if we investigate and put the apparatus back in line with
    the National Security Act the Constitutional balance would be restored.
    I disagree, the security establishment itself warps the balance, it has
    seldom worked. An investigation would only be a band-aid for public

  12. Mary says:

    A poster at dkos, Valtin, has had a slew of diaries over the last year+ about the use of physicians and psychologists and psychiatrists in the torture arena.

    He/she has this piece http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/1/2/21742/50337 up today, but if you do a search for pieces by Valtin you will find a lot of pieces covering different aspects.

    The piece today is a follow up to Pincus’ piece from last week on ‘Deprogramming’ Iraqi Detainees http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..01598.html

    … the Joint Contracting Command is seeking a team of professionals, including “teachers, religious and behavioral science counselors,” who will “execute a program that effectively reintegrates [into Iraqi society] detainees, particularly those disposed to violent, radical ideology through education and counseling,” according to the statement of work.

    Part of the program will involve small detainee groups, possibly led by an Iraqi cleric and a behavioral scientist, “undergoing enlightenment, deprogramming and de-radicalization sessions” for six weeks.

    At a news conference this month, [Marine Maj. Gen.]Stone said he was segregating extremists from more moderate Iraqis being brought in by U.S. troops as potential security threats.

    So you go out, round up 25,000 or so people, abuse them for years, stick about 80% or so of moderate innocents in with radical extremists but treat them all the same (badly) and include children and old men in your roundups and treatment (and oh yeah – let’s not forget the earlier program of kidnapping -or threatening to- wives and families and holding them hostage to get “insurgents” to turn themselves over). Then, when everyone hates you for what you’ve done, pull out some of them and “deprogram” them, via “counseling” to be happy with what you’ve done.

    Just never, ever, ever, ever, admit that you rounded up innocent civilian protected persons, disappearing huge chunks of them, and abused them for years in detentions without hearings or any mechanism to obtain their release. Never admit. Always stick with “WE are the patriots, This Is Not Our Fault”

    And oh yeah – that deprograming program? Apparently they are looking for a good “contractor” to handle it. And somehow, shockingly, they’ve decided that is might be possible that the answer to radicalization is not simply, “they all hate us for our freedoms.” So, a part of the ‘deprogramming’ team will be interviewing:

    …radicalized detainees to collect information about their motivations and pathways to radicalization” in order to “identify openings for change.”

    I’m just fascinated to hear what will happen if they discover their motivation and pathway involved the unwarranted, illegal invasion of their country, followed by destruction of cities like Fallujah, creation of the largest refugee disaster in the world, US supported ethnic cleansing by neighborhood, Generals stuck in sleeping bags and suffocated to death, and their own disappearance into detention with no notice to families and no one to care for an earn for women and children left behind and mistreatment and abuse for years in detention with no process for obtaining release.

    Maybe a big ol “opening for change” would be for the US to release people and withdraw from Iraq and begin following Geneva Conventions and handing out more than 60 day vacations to people who violate those Conventions?

    Notgonnahappen. The Dems in Congress have been as complicit in how we ended up here as the Republicans and no one will move beyond This Is Not Our Fault to I Take Responsiblity or even I Demand Accountability.

    • TheraP says:

      Thank you, Mary. I still think something has got to be done. I can’t stop thinking that thought. They will be unable to “re-educate” me – unless they do the clinical torture routine.

      Ok, this “deprogramming: This is nonsense. Pure nonsense. The only way people change is if they want to change. Or unless you use aversive techniques that “force” something and I would not call that real change. More like “reprogramming” which is just another name for “rebrainwashing.” Sounds like China. Didn’t work there either!

      So, we’re stuck huh? I keep waiting for a tipping point. I keep thinking we’re reaching it.

      I’m following everything you’re saying. And yes, I’ve known there was participation by mental health professionals and physicians. It’s deplorable – underscored about 15 times.

      I’ll check it out. But I need no convincing. A behavior therapy program hardly works when people want it for their own good. How will it work against their wishes? Cognitive therapy, same thing. Physical therapy, ditto.

      Even in good therapy, what I find is that it’s not that people can’t learn. It’s the “unlearning.” How easy is it to “unlearn”? Not easy! Once learning sets in… well there it is!

      Believe me, I’ve thought a lot about this. It’s very, very hard to help people. Even when they want the help.

      Abuse them…. and then try to get them to like the abuser? Stockholm Syndrome! That’s a problem in itself.

      In college I saw a play: Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. Every once in a while, in the middle of the action, a mime would cross the stage and yell: “Stop the world! I want to get off!” (yes, a mime… yelling… that must have part of the paradox!)

    • TheraP says:

      Thank you, Mary. It’s even worse than I could have anticipated. Ok, which circle of hell have we now reached?

      At the same time as we are leaving our own vets bereft of adequate psychological care for PTSD, we are trying a new method out in Iraq, using untrained hacks, with the idea of subjecting the traumatized Iraqi population, not to any kind of “treatment” but to “mistreatment.” Naturally, as in everything else under bush, it’s being privatized. No need for any professional skill – except as an interrogator with a security clearance. Add in the Islamic clerics and huge “guilt trips” of some type (???!!??) and make something up as your “clinical program” for bringing people to some type of “enlightenment experience” …. truly we are round the bend!!!

      So we can afford a gazillion dollars to change the minds of Iraqis. But a pittance to help the traumatized minds (and families) of vets.

      Why not just give the money away to the disenfranchised and disillusioned Iraqis? Buy their “enlightenment” instead of subjecting them to it!

  13. Neil says:

    The title should have read

    “9/11 Commission Stonewalled by White House and CIA”

    KEAN and HAMILTON don’t get there until the third paragraph but they got there… with some trepidation?

    They published a crappy report, the overwhelming concern of which was to allocate liability equally between Democrats and Republics. They miscontrued the findings as a political favor to BushCo. Now they feel abused. So long as they were in on it, no objection. As soon they were played, tepid accusations.

  14. radiofreewill says:

    I’m not pessimistic that BushCo will be brought to Justice – in fact, I’m certain they will be held accountable for their actions.

    However, it takes time to ‘clarify’ just exactly Who is/was actively involved on the BushCo side with the Planning and Executing of the extra- and illegal things they are doing.

    So, for instance, we’ve had to wade through Monica the Inquisitor, Alvin “I’ll call you every day for help reading the DoJ Handbook” Schlotzman, Sara “I’ll whip your Lying Asses” Taylor, and a whole host of Other Flunkies, Straphangers and Barnacles to get closer to the core of the Conspiracy to Evade the Rule of Law in Bush’s Unquestionable Name.

    But, I have no doubt that Bush, Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz and many others will be brought before the Bar of the Law and held accoutable to the People.

    Bush and His Ideological Henchpeople won’t be able to escape accountability for the Torture Program he Created, even though it was his Legion of Kool-Aid Drinkers that made it happen.

    Jose “I was a Compartmentalized Kool-Aid Drinker” Rodriquez is either going to admit to being the most Diabolical Criminal in American History on the 16th, or he’s going to pass that moniker on to someone else – in the White House, imvho.

    I believe Rodriguez’ testimony will be the equivalent of snapping-on a Flashlight in a cave full of bats hanging from the ceiling – we should get a petty clear view of The Conspirators.

  15. radiofreewill says:

    klynn – Rodriquez appears to have been Compartmentalized within CIA. Everyone else above him, all the way to Goss, has said they were against Destroying the Evidence of Torture Tapes.

    So, Curtained-off from his Nominal Chain of Command in CIA, Jose was fed a steady diet of Addington ghost-written Legal Opinions from Hermes and Eatinger that “Green-lighted” the Destruction of the Tapes.

    Still, Rodriguez did not have the Authority to Destroy the Tapes on his own – Truly, the only one who did was Bush, the Creator of the Program of Systematic Torture, for which Rodriquez was Bush’s “Over-seer.”

    So, on the 16th, imho, Jose either says that he was America’s Dark Lord of Torture, or he invokes the Nuremburg Defense and declares he was Only Following Orders.

    Rodriguez is no different than the Many BushCo Minions before him, except his situation doesn’t get the benefit – like the other Minions – of Bush hiding Jose’s Nuremburg Defence behind an Assertion of Executive Privilege. Because the Subject is Torture, Jose has to make a Public Choice to either Fall on His Sword for Bush and Cheney, or Point the Finger of Blame.

    • freepatriot says:

      Because the Subject is Torture

      because the subject is torture, it don’t fucking matter what this guy says

      let him fall on his sword

      george bush is still guilty of crimes against humanity

      don’t matter is george knows

      don’t matter if george doesn’t know

      george bush is a war criminal

      • radiofreewill says:

        I’m with you, fp! I don’t know how we can all talk about the downstream atrocities of Torture – and ignore the 800lb Gorilla in the room: Who Authorized this Hell on Earth and Hid it from the People?

        phred – Impeachment getting on the Table is Synonomous with the End of BushCo – there’s just too much Criminality lapping at the Top of the Dam. Once Congress began exercising its Impeachment Investigation Powers, the Book of Crimes would be ‘thick.’

        I predict there will be No Republicans standing with Bush after the 16th – Bush went Too Far when he Ordered Torture on Other Human Beings.

    • bmaz says:

      Actually, no he doesn’t. All Rodriquez has to do is invoke the 5th; which is what he damn well would be doing if he were my client.

      • phred says:

        Agreed, he didn’t hire Bennett for nothing. Rodriguez isn’t about to rat out his chums any more than Libby did. Without impeachment, there will be no due process.

        EW, speculated on another thread that Dodd might pull out after tomorrow. I find myself hoping that he will if only so that he can focus all of his attention on the Senate. We are in dire need of real leadership in Congress and Dodd has been the only one who has shown signs that he might succeed where others have not.

  16. klynn says:



    I wonder if he’ll try and parse politicalization of the agency in the mix? Moot as it may be…

    Did you ever read this piece from 2004 by Jason Vest? It’s pretty good considering what has happened since then.


  17. radiofreewill says:

    bmaz – Here’s my thinking: Rodriguez has already been tagged with the Destruction of the Tapes. Pleading the 5th, imho, would be the same as falling on his sword.

    klynn – Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

    • phred says:

      As long as impeachment remains off the table, that sword you imagine Rodriguez falling on will amount to little more than a thumb tack. Just as there was a commutation for Libby that, or a pardon, awaits Rod. You can bet he’s not popping for his own legal fees, so the big boys will take care of him as long as he remains a reliable firewall.

    • phred says:

      Thanks for the link. So do you think Bennett will really represent Rodriguez’ best interest rather than the interests of those he is in a position to protect? I know there are serious ethical issues raised by that question and that a lawyer is supposed to represent his client’s best interest. Given our prior discussions about who constitutes the client when there is a defense fund paying the bills, one still has to wonder… Perhaps the insurance policies will have the unintended consequence of ensuring the legal representation remains focused on those who bought the policies.

  18. bmaz says:

    I don’t know Bennett personally and, to the best of my knowledge, have not even ever seen him at NACDL meetings or anything; but from everything I have seen over many, many years, as well as what others I do know have said, Bennett is a stand up lawyer. So, I think he will do right by his client; however, that certainly doesn’t mean that he won’t do things that people on the outside, and not in his shoes, think are sellouts to “interests of those he is in a position to protect”. You and I may not like it, but that may be, indeed, the best course of action for his client.

  19. masaccio says:

    In an earlier response, I pointed out that my subpoenas contain a definition of the term “document”. Here it is:

    “Document” without otherwise limiting the generality of its meaning includes, but is not limited to, the following items: agreements; correspondence; telegrams; cables; memoranda; records; books; summaries of records or notes of personal conversations or interviews; diaries; calendars; forecasts; statistical statements; accountants’ work papers; journals, ledgers and other accounting papers; graphs; charts; maps; diagrams; blueprints; tables; indexes; pictures; recordings; tapes; microfilms; charges; accounts; analytical records; minutes or records of meetings or conferences; opinions or reports and/or summaries of investigations; opinions of reports of consultants; appraisals; reports and/or summaries of negotiations; brochures; pamphlets; circulars; trade letters; press releases; contracts; stenographic, handwritten or any other notes; projections; working papers; federal and state income tax records; checks, front and back; check stubs or receipts; invoice vouchers; deposit slips; check vouchers; tape date sheets or data processing or word processing cards, tapes, backup tapes, or discs or any other written, recorded, transcribed, punched, taped, filmed or graphic matter, however produced or reproduced; and any other document or writing of whatever description within the scope of Rule 34(a) of the … Rules of Civil Procedure, including without limitation any information contained in any computer or word processor, although not yet printed out, within the possession, custody or control of plaintiff or the possession, custody or control of any agent or employee of plaintiff (including without limitation attorneys, accountants, consultants and investment brokers or advisors) and other persons acting or purporting to act on plaintiff’s behalf.

    I just refuse to believe that the people sending out requests and subpoenas and getting court orders don’t use similar or better definitions, and it is ridiculous for anyone to assert that the Commission did not request the information, and it is absurd to think that these kinds of things aren’t covered by the Court’s order.

  20. Hmmm says:

    Great thread, but: Whoa there. Don’t let’s us lose our heads. Remember folks, seeing W lose his office is not necessarily the smart thing to want first — repeat after me: “Impeach Dick First.”

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