No Immunity, Yet, for Rodriguez

Well, Crazy Pete Hoekstra hasn’t managed to slip a little immunity deal to Jose Rodriguez–at least not yet.

The former CIA official who destroyed videotapes showing harsh interrogation tactics has been granted a temporary reprieve by the House intelligence committee, officials said last night.

The committee had demanded that Jose Rodriguez Jr. testify before it on Wednesday, but after being told that he would not answer questions without a grant of legal immunity for his testimony, the panel withdrew its demand, according to officials familiar with the arrangement.

[snip]

Officials said that a subpoena for Rodriguez will remain in effect and that talks between lawmakers, Justice Department officials and Rodriguez’s attorney, Robert S. Bennett, will continue.

I’m not sure what to make of the description of on-going talks. Hopefully, HPSCI has agreed not to do anything to impede the criminal investigation. But I’d be a lot more comfortable if HPSCI said it would hold off entirely on Rodriguez testimony until DOJ gave the okay.

image_print
62 replies
  1. Jeff says:

    I don’t think it’s Hoekstra, or only Hoekstra, you should be worried about. Chair of HPSCI Silvestre Reyes appears to be a big fan of Rodriguez and could be interested in helping him out – what better way to do it than to give him immunity. So I’d focus on Reyes more than Hoekstra, or at least on the pair as a pair, not just Hoekstra.

    • bmaz says:

      I agree that it is the pair, one of whom is arguably literally a bit off kilter intellectually/mentally, and the other of whom is dumb as a stump, that needs to be worried about. What I don’t get is, why not go ahead and charge Rodriquez with crimes as a bit of leverage? There seems to be universal agreement that, at a minimum, he was involved in the order to destroy the tapes. Why not put the pressure of facing Federal criminal charges on his shoulders as a tactic rather than giving him a free pass?

        • JimWhite says:

          Who would do the charging?

          I agree. Surely we couldn’t expect Mukasey, whom I now think should be called “Mordac, Preventer of Justice”. (h/t Dilbert’s Mordac, Preventer of Information Services)

      • Jeff says:

        the other of whom is dumb as a stump

        Not only that. We were warned about Reyes. Frankly, Harman should have gotten the Chair of HPSCI, and it was a terrible mistake to oppose her.

  2. JohnForde says:

    I’m confused in my rooting interest. Will DOJ do a real investigation? Will the committee?
    Both have the ability to slow walk the investigation.
    Both have the ability to sabotage the investigation.
    How do we play them off against each other to expose the truth?

  3. JohnForde says:

    How has Rodriquez covered his ass with documentation authorizing torture? Addington must have been cautious. I doubt he would leave a paper or email trail.

    Might Rodriguez have a voice recording of Addington directing specific persons be waterboarded?

    Might Rodriguez have another audio recording of Addington demanding the tapes be destroyed?

  4. JohnForde says:

    A few days ago on Olbermann I saw Johnathon Turley say something like “You can’t construct a case that is better suited to requiring a special prosecutor.”

    Any disagreement?

    • JimWhite says:

      I agree. I think Turley also was referring to the underlying crime of torture itself. Neither the Congressional investigation or the DOJ investigation is headed that direction from anything I have seen so far, although I would love to be proven wrong on this.

      The other problem, of course, is that the special prosecutor law has been ratfu**ed.

      • JohnForde says:

        Isn’t that the ‘Independent prosecutor’? I think the SP law has remained unchanged.

        I believe Ken Starr was an IP & Fitz was an SP

        • JimWhite says:

          From Wiki:

          The term is sometimes used as a synonym for Independent Counsel, but under the former law authorizing the Independent Counsel, the appointment was made by a special panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Independent Counsels law expired in 1999, and was effectively replaced by Department of Justice regulation 28 CFR Part 600, under which Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to look into the Plame affair.

          Of course, Wiki isn’t always infallible, but this does match my recollection. The key difference here is that Special Counsel’s still have to answer, at some level, to DOJ. Fitzgerald is a strong enough person that he did not allow this to happen. A truly Independent Counsel would not face this difficulty.

          • emptywheel says:

            The key to Fitz’s appointment was the recusal of the AG. So the fact that Fitz was reporting, first, to Comey, and then to Margolis meant that the really political fucks running DOJ weren’t in his chain of command.

            Durham’s appoint is two steps less than Fitz’s, first, because he is technically the acting USA for ED VA–so he’ll be techncially operating form a place with close ties to the CIA. Secondly, he reports to DAG (whoever that is today–I know, I know, Morford) and through him to Mukasey. Not to mention, he’s solidly within the chain of command for DOJ, which means OLC and Wainstein, while not directly involved, may well be cognizant of the investigation.

      • bigbrother says:

        Rodriquez took credit for ordering the tapes to be destroyed:

        CIA destroyed videos of torture sessions | The AustralianAll the tapes were destroyed in November 2005 on the order of Jose A. Rodriguez, then the CIA’s director of clandestine operations, the officials said. …
        http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/…..84,00.html

        He gave the adniistration cover by claimimg he orered them destroyed in November 2005…having it both ways..I did but I really didnt parsing..now junior you know perjury is ollegal so go to your room (teirment with honors)
        Slam dunk he did it by his own admission. Maybe he has a cush job offer to run a very large security company…amazing how all the minions jump under the bus for the corporate cronys. I am so sick of these brazen thieves.

        • bmaz says:

          right. That was my point about Rodriquez. There is a clear cut basis to charge him, at a minimum. You can offer immunity at any time, why give up the hammer of prison as the opening gambit? The people in DC these days are fucking insane and stupid….

          • bigbrother says:

            Judge Kennedy’s decision not to require the government to ante up the evidence sent a policy signal to me. The Courts are not going up against the Asministration. It has to be Impeachment or you are blowing smoke.

            • bmaz says:

              Congress is a little busy trying to nail Roger Clemens to be bothered with impeachment. When that is done, they will need to tackle agreeing on the appropriate resolution to combat the “War on Easter”.

          • emptywheel says:

            It’s interesting that this article didn’t mention the CIA lawyers that gave Rodriguez some support for making the order to have the tapes destroyed. They said that Rodriguez hasn’t been given access to these documents (though I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a damn good idea of what they said, if not a copy). But it seems to me that opinion gets to the crux of the issue.

    • Jeff says:

      Regardless, don’t you think the DoJ investigation is going to unfold quite slowly? I mean, there’s no plausible way that Rodriguez would be charged quickly, is there? Which would gut your point about using a charge as a pressure tactic on Rodriguez.

      • JohnForde says:

        Jeff,

        Charging Rodriguez was someone else’s point.

        I do think DOJ will slow walk. But I’m wondering if public pressure could couldn’t speed up the process.

        If Rodriguez were to make a spectacular charge to the committee, particularly if he has evidence like audio recordings, I think Addington would be cornered. THEN what will Mukasey do?

  5. bmaz says:

    Jeff and John Forde – The guy we got, “Bull” Durham, is not even a true Special Prosecutor, he is merely an out of office member of the US Attorney’s office called to duty because of a conflict, so there is no independence whatsoever. As to Jeff’s point about the lugubrious speed of charging Rodriquez, I suppose you are right, but there is no earthly reason that needs to be the case. When you have one person smack dab in the middle of a conspiracy dead to rights, the usual process is to charge them up and make them decide if they want to take the bullet and go to prison or roll over. No reason not to start doing something along those lines; it has the added benefit of flushing out, and down the drain, the bullshit claims by the Administration that these tapes were not material records under various bogus theories that have been promulgated to date.

    • JohnJ says:

      I remember seeing the FBI’s take on “Queen for a day” tactic on mob guys. They say, yeah we’ll give you immunity and protection, but we want EVERYTHING you have ever done wrong on paper. If any single little fact is proved wrong, no immunity and no protection.

      Those were the days.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Remember Durham is a former baseball player at Cornell.
      There is no clock in baseball, so I’m (regretfully)thinking, it’ll
      be way past opening day before we hang these fuckers…

    • bigbrother says:

      Best yet view…this is exacrly why we need the impeachment power. Subpeonas will be enforced. iF you your legal strategy ie. the process roadmap torture tapes are all part of war crimes. You then have the pressure from the international community that refused to join in on the run up to the war.
      Just airing this dirty laundry out on cspan and MSM will indict the administration in the court of public opinion. There is plenty of law breaking to go around.
      Think about…this war was without a doubt the most egregious act that our country has ever done. We, you and me, murdered 600,000 Iraqis using our government as the contractor for our representative government. Bushco put our asses are on the line. If they walk America pays the price. I am not lying down for that. The German people paid dearly for Hitlers horrors and still are. Impeach.

  6. BillE says:

    Reyes is in because of Pelosi. Pelosi is one of them either in fact or through blackmail but still certainly one of them.

  7. MadDog says:

    Emptywheel, fyi on an OT topic of interest – from the Scotusblog, “Warrantless Spying Case Before High Court.

    Don’t get your hopes up too much ’cause the title of the post doesn’t reflect the fact that the issue on the table is a “technical” issue of standing.

  8. bmaz says:

    EW – Unlike MadDog’s report, this one should get your hopes up. ESPN just reported a conversation with Tom Brady in which he said he plans to play until he is 40, wouldn’t think of leaving the Pats and wants to see how many SuperBowls he can win.

  9. BayStateLibrul says:

    CITIZENS.
    Peace, let us hear Rodriguez

    J-ROD.
    The noble Bennett hath told me to silence my lips.
    But here I am to speak what I do know.
    What cause withholds me to tell all?
    O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason!–Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with my CIA comrades
    And I must pause till it comes back to me.

    With a little help from Bill

  10. Jeff says:

    Stepping back a bit, what’s the right way to proceed? Surely we have learned some lessons from the CIA leak investigation about how to maximize public accountability for our government – and the CIA leak investigation was definitely sub-optimal, for the simple reason that an investigation undertaken by a careful prosecutor with integrity and no mandate to produce a public report will not produce timely – or even any – public account of what was done wrong. Plus the crucial line for a prosecutor is that between legal and illegal conduct, which is certainly not the only or even the most significant standard for evaluating the conduct of those in power. Then add in the differences in the nature of this guy’s appointment from Fitzgerald that Marcy noted – which, to be fair, will not make as much of a difference as they would have were the completely corrupt old crew at DoJ still in power – and at the very least the contours of the dilemma here are more sharply in view.

    What to do about? No idea yet. But it may also be irrelevant, because it is far from clear that anyone aside from the public – that is, anyone in a position to do anything about it – have an actual interest in getting to the bottom of the torture and the destruction of the record of it. The Democrats in Congress? Entirely unclear, especially since they’ve already seen a bit, and they know very well, that they mess with the CIA at their own risk.

  11. oldtree says:

    So the head of the division in the CIA is admitting to crimes by taking the 5th prior to testifying under oath?
    and there is conversation about something else going on today? Britney’s hole perhaps?

    Congress hasn’t voted to do anything yet have they? nothing. no real investigation, no special prosecutors. No one has been forced to do anything except come down and lie under oath. Congress knows that dozens of them have lied under oath. They have done nothing about it. Lurita is still happy, George is still happy. Dick is real happy.

    we are still watching? waiting. it’s over. stop ignoring it. Kurt Vonnegut called it SEP. You can only see it when you aren’t looking for it. Perhaps the early philosophers were correct. Perhaps we only learned to speak to hide our thoughts and as a means to lie.

    It has been fun, but the game is over and we lost.

    • LabDancer says:

      This is in somewhat the same vein as Jeff’s “reply” to the rumi-tard comment, but with respect.

      There are any number of aphorisms, sayings, cliches and the like on how slowly is the rate at which many legal proceedings appear to unwind. IMO that effect is exaggerated by the MSM tendency first apparently appreciated for its profundity in the heavily-”production effects” oriented Reagan White House [and though a pretty natural realization given the gravitation of Ad Men to Rub politics & government from Nixon on, I think the Reaganuts might deserve some special Bizarro World credit not just for the conscious recognition of the broad body politic’s permanent state of ADD].

      Fitz’ “probe” [I hate that term in this context.], though very highly idiosyncratic in some details, serves as a reality check in hoving to the more typical timing in legal contests complicated by multiple agendas, particularly those of players beyond the control of the judicial referees.

      My sense is that the ease with which the public has had J-Rod fingered as technically central to the destruction story is a clue to how complicated the story is, perhaps even more so than the Plame leak, which seems to be the only one on this scale [IE a story which is at once humanly graspable but with implications which tend to make one shudder for the State of the Nation and its future].

      If that sense is fairly on target, then J-Rod is “central” to this story in somewhat the same way as say Armitage was to the Plame story; and I have yet to be see the “system” hold Armitage’s feet to the fire for his “centrality”. Indeed, I recall watching Charlie Rose pressing Valerie Wilson in a clearly non-independent way to concede Armitage’s general Big Guy With a Heart of Gold case in what struck me as a disturbing way – Rose of all people [one might think], on behalf of someone who is such a Good Guy he keeps showing up as a player in such scandals as Iran-contra [in which the back stories include the violent deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of to-us faceless Nicaruagan & other South American nationals – and the hundreds of thousands if not millions of to-us largely faceless victims of Ollie North’s little adventures in acting as Fedex to the early introduction of crack cocaine to North America. The same Armitage who according to the depictions of presumably reliable witnesses like Richard Clarke was right there on 9/12 to watch the Bush Cheney cabal jump all over the day for its promise in getting them to the PNACker posse plan, and did nothing more to stop that drift that leave behind whispered boys-in-the-back snarks to be reported by Clarke & Suskind & Woodward which somehow always manages to grease his escape.

      That Armitage. The one who has so successfully sold an air of obliviousness to his roles in the deaths of & devastation caused to several millions of humans that he makes Eichmann look like a fly teaser, still as a free as a Cheney and probably twice as invulnerable.

      I’m not going to suggest that I’m in any better situation than any of us in judging the accountability of J-Rod in the larger story of the US moving from a Global Security Guard willing to use millions of small brown-skinned Asian folks as pawns in a “ideological struggle”, then a Muscle Bound Manifest Destiny special ops freak willing to help some mostly brown-skinned Spanish speaking South Americans perform “ideological cleansing” on hundreds of thousands of other brown-skinned Spanish speaking South Americans, and throughout both act as a Law & Order Nation which fries & drugs to death mostly “black” Americans, to a Torture Parsing Empire prone to working out its world view while using brown-skinned Indo-European as targets for its constantly evolving nifty weapons experiments, while morphing from a Security State to a 24/7 100% Surveillance State –

      but my sense is that J-Rod is a far more likely pawn in this story, than Armitage was in almost 30 years of American experimentation on non-whites humans over the entire planet in pursuit of various Concept Wars.

      If it wasn’t for the Bush-Cheney Gang’s history IMO we would readily accept allowing room for a hard-nosed proven-successful career prosecutor to do his job in the context of regularly-constituted government-based law enforcement. But that history doesn’t mean he won’t do his job, and that job well done is entirely likely to take a number of months even if everyone involved suddenly decided to phone him up and ask for the earliest available opening for an appointment to tell the truth.

      Anyway the big problem isn’t getting to the bottom of this story so there’s time enough to start impeachment before these bastards leave the building, because Pelosi & Reid & a whole lot of Blue Dogs & not enough competent prosecutorial Dems, plus hordes of Bushi’ite & knee-jerk obstructionist Congress Rubs & embedded Bushie insurgents in the administration, have assured that boat has sailed.

      The issue now is electing a president who understands the need to dedicate some serious resources to holding the bastards accountable in her or his first term. Edwards clearly will do just that – can his continuing candidacy cause one of the two front runners to commit to that? Or at least to commit to letting Edwards take it on?

  12. rumi says:

    I think we have been overwhelmed with significant, well timed disclosures to the point that we tend to forget the seemingly insignificant developments as they happened.

    Anyone recall the prominent lawyer that is quietly well known for intel personnel defense that GWB hired and may have been representing him when Rove was called in for the 4th, or 5th time?…there was an office meeting that PFitzgerald seemed to make a point to get some press attention.

    This was about the same time that PF publicly requested the Italian dossiers on the rendition (22 American intel or contractors) warants were being issued. That entire mess spiderwebs out in so many directions…but some interesting insignificant elements at that time were ongoing trials, shuffling of AUSA(?)s, judges and other appts between the Eastern, Southern and Midwest districts…almost as a way to forego trials/investigations….weren’t these also breaking as JAbramoff and friends were cooperating?…The PMC interrogators have to come back into play here somewhere, with Titan, 3C and others being involved…how in the hell did 22 career intel professionals become sloppy enough to all get traced/caught in the renditions? There were also bribery type charges and/or convictions in that area, around the same time, that would be beneficial to many to try to sweep under the rug…Wilkes-Wade and all were tied to a few station chiefs, I think, and eventually plead out on those

    …just a few random thoughts and loose threads.

  13. Jeff says:

    Can I just observe that I have grown to despise this kind of ”random thoughts and loose threads.” It is mainly a way to appear to know more and understand more than the commenter really does. And if you start talking about Plame’s father and Ames, that’s it.

    Plus, you can’t even get your facts straight. When, pray tell, did

    PF publicly requested the Italian dossiers on the rendition (22 American intel or contractors) warants were being issued

    (leaving aside your poor grammar)? I defy you to document such a purported public request. As for the few scant facts here, the answer is: yes, a lot of things happen. So what? And yes, if you take the cosmic view, everything is connected. But for the earthbound amongst us, there’s this thing we call causality, and there’s this other thing we call evidence. I recommend becoming acquainted with them, a little.

    • rumi says:

      What is the problem?…besides my poor grammar…lol?

      You defy me?

      What the hell is that all about?

      PFitzgerald publicly…and I mean he made a point for it to appear in the press, that he requested the paperwork from the Italian courts and govt on the Niger forgeries, which also honeycombed into at least some of the rendition investigation. He also made a point to say that he requested these papers to be shared with McNulty who was prosecuting in a different district in an apparently unrelated case…thing is, none of this has been unrelated.

      Why would any prosecutor bring attention to a clerical or legal maneuver unless said counsel wished to have that attention drawn? It sends a message to all involved, regardless of their guilt or innocence.

      • Jeff says:

        Please share your source for this trio of claims:

        he made a point for it to appear in the press, that he requested the paperwork from the Italian courts and govt on the Niger forgeries, which also honeycombed into at least some of the rendition investigation. He also made a point to say that he requested these papers to be shared with McNulty who was prosecuting in a different district in an apparently unrelated case

        My problem is that 1)you get some of your facts wrong; 2)you assert without offering the slightest shred of evidence that “none of this has been unrelated”; 3)consequently, you seem more interested in appearing knowing than in actually improving our knowledge; and 4)even if that’s not true, you contribute to evidence-free conspiracy theorizing, never a good thing.

        But please, let’s start with your source for your claims about Fitzgerald, Italy, and sharing with McNulty. I would be frankly thrilled to gain some new information – and all of this is entirely new to me with the exception of the rumor that Fitzgerald had requested results of Italy’s investigation of the Niger forgeries.

        • rumi says:

          Walker’s World: Bush at bay

          Published: Oct. 24, 2005 at 8:57 AM


          The first is that Fitzgerald last year sought and obtained from the Justice Department permission to widen his investigation from the leak itself to the possibility of cover-ups, perjury and obstruction of justice by witnesses. This has renewed the old saying from the days of the Watergate scandal, that the cover-up can be more legally and politically dangerous than the crime.

          The second is that NATO sources have confirmed to United Press International that Fitzgerald’s team of investigators has sought and obtained documentation on the forgeries from the Italian government.

          Fitzgerald’s team has been given the full, and as yet unpublished report of the Italian parliamentary inquiry into the affair, which started when an Italian journalist obtained documents that appeared to show officials of the government of Niger helping to supply the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with Yellowcake uranium. This claim, which made its way into President Bush’s State of the Union address in January, 2003, was based on falsified documents from Niger and was later withdrawn by the White House.

          This opens the door to what has always been the most serious implication of the CIA leak case, that the Bush administration could face a brutally damaging and public inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or artificially exaggerated. This was the same charge that imperiled the government of Bush’s closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, after a BBC Radio program claimed Blair’s aides has “sexed up” the evidence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

          There can be few more serious charges against a government than going to war on false pretences, or having deliberately inflated or suppressed the evidence that justified the war…..

          …There is one line of inquiry with an American connection that Fitzgerald would have found it difficult to ignore. This is the claim that a mid-ranking Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, held talks with some Italian intelligence and defense officials in Rome in late 2001. Franklin has since been arrested on charges of passing classified information to staff of the pro-Israel lobby group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Franklin has reportedly reached a plea bargain with his prosecutor, Paul McNulty, and it would be odd if McNulty and Fitzgerald had not conferred to see if their inquiries connected…..

          I’ll return shortly with a link and reference to PF’s public request to share those documents with McNulty.

          …I’ve got time…ain’t nuthing to do but killin’ time…lol…for lack of a more justified victim.

          • LabDancer says:

            Do I have this right? You have nothing better to do that open up your Junior Jim Garrison Toy Conspiracy Theory Kits & train it on one of the few federal prosecutors who has proved able to do his job with integrity & survive the Rove-Cheney DOJ pogroms?

            The good news for folks like you is that you have a choice: either move our attention deficit disorder over to Tom Maguire’s blog Just One Minute to join the flock of bird brains over there [They just love to call for presumptive Nifonging.], or you can try to get some help. TheraP could give you a number to call.

            • rumi says:

              …wait a second.

              I never disparaged any US Attorney in any way. I’m not sure where you got that idea.

              You can insult me all you want, but don’t insult our heroes.

  14. Hugh says:

    As someone all of whose thoughts are random, I agree with bmaz about charging Rodriguez. I also think that there should be a detailed, solid, ironclad proffer before any grant of immunity is given. One way to do this is to negotiate the content of Rodriguez’s opening statement. Until he signs it, it’s all just talking points. Once he signs it, it’s evidence.

  15. Jeff says:

    Yeah, I thought that was about it. That Walker article is lame. 1)Note that the notion of cooperation between Fitzgerald and McNulty amounts to . . . nothing. ”It would be odd if it hadn’t happened.” I therefore eagerly await the link and reference to PF’s public request to share those documents with McNulty. 2)So far I see nothing to do with the renditions or the ”honeycomb” (whatever that is supposed to mean) between the Niger forgeries and the Italian renditions case. 3)The UPI report’s claim about Fitzgerald requesting the Italian parliamentary report is, in my view, thinly and suspiciously sourced.

    Now, none of that is to say that 1-3) didn’t happen. Maybe they did, and there is just no evidence of it in public. BUt even if they did happen, it doesn’t mean much, and in particular it doesn’t mean that the Franklin case is connected to the CIA leak investigation, that Franklin had anything to do with the forgeries etc. In fact, all the journalists who have actually covered the Niger forgeries have stated that there is no evidence that the Rome meeting had anything to do with it, and are deeply skeptical that it did.

  16. rumi says:

    This link is to a diary/article that has most of the documentation or links to the references that explain the convoluted relationships.

    At this point, after so many years of fighting to bring information so that others can discover for themselves, whatever truth and awareness there is to be found, I’m tired of this sort of condescension.

    Here it is, for anyone that might be interested…and hasn’t already seen it a hundred times. This might be controversial enough to be worthy of discussion, but it’s all been fairly well documented in a variety of reports.

    (FITZGERALD UPDATE): Niger Yellowcake and The Man Who Forged Too Much
    by Pen
    Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 11:55:56 AM PST
    {UPDATE} : Fitzgerald Investigation takes a startling turn! See bottom of diary after the fold. (Originally posted in July):

    • Jeff says:

      I don’t think I’m condescending to you; I’m outright criticizing your claims, but is that condescending?

      As for the substance of the dkos post you link to, the trouble is, as I indicated, that all the reporters who have actually done reporting on the Rome meeting have asserted that there is no evidence that it had anything to do with the Niger forgeries, and have in fact indicated that it is highly unlikely that Ledeen had anything to do with them. As tantalizing as the thought may be, there is just no reason to think there is any connection. (I still see nothing whatsoever on the renditions, by the way.)

      As for Fitzgerald and McNulty, it is not implausible that Fitzgerald may have shared the Italian parliamentary report with him, though frankly I still think the evidence for this is very very weak. But even if Fitzgerald did so, the more likely explanation is that the report had information on Franklin’s activities that Fitzgerald might have thought would be of interest to McNulty and his investigation of Franklin and others, not that Franklin was therefore somehow tied in with Fitzgerald’s investigation. In other words, even if the Fitzgerald-McNulty connection is true, it is no reason to think there is any nexus between the subjects of their investigation.

        • Jeff says:

          Here is one of the authors of Collusion, the book by the Italian journalists who have done the most and best reporting on the matter. And here is an article by Laura Rozen focused on the Rome meeting. She has been the main reporter to have worked on the story.

  17. Mary says:

    19 Not to mention, he’s solidly within the chain of command for DOJ, which means OLC and Wainstein, while not directly involved, may well be cognizant of the investigation.

    That, plus he’s bound by OLC determinations on things like whether or not waterboarding is torture; whether or not the activities which might have been on the tapes were legal and authorized; whether or not Bush can come and whisper explanations of the law in Bull’s ear; whether or not the destruction constituted violation of various statutes, etc.

    BTW, not only are the CIA lawyers not being mentioned, but after the original mention, just how super duper quiet has it been on the DOJ lawyers being advised front?

    BTW – I’m not that sure that, in the end, Fitzgerald’s investigations remained free from main justice constraints. Some of the Rove handling was a little on the “too bizarre” front, including the fact that Luskin never released the “all clear” letter he says he got and all the many shots testifying. And even without direct interference, his mandate was so narrow that it formed its own, pretty suffocating, constraint IMO. I think he did an excellent job with what he had and still can’t believe that he was able to get the info about Bush directly authorizing the NIE leaks into the public record, unsealed.

    45 – but my sense is that J-Rod is a far more likely pawn in this story, than Armitage That makes two centssenses.

    The issue now is electing a president who understands the need to dedicate some serious resources to holding the bastards accountable in her or his first term. If I thought there were any real possiblity of that happening, I’d be paying more attention. I’m very sure it won’t with Clinton. The threads are already there that too many of actions like extraordinary rendition and warrantless domestic surveillance will, if investigated aggressively, keep bringing Bill’s name out – the recent story that tied back to his warrantless domestic surveillance program for So. America, his ties to the extraordinary renditions of the Algerians sent to Egypt, etc.

    And Obama – well, I don’t get the feeling that this kind of thing is high on his radar. On the Republican front, well, there isn’t much to say there, is there? They will just put cement shoes on the bodies. It’s only in a world devoid of imagination that they aren’t all preceded by black wafts of smoke surrounded by muttered recitations of something wicked this way comes.

    38 – Rumi, I don’t think there’s a big tie on the Italian front, but James Sharp was the lawyer you were thinking of in 38 and I have wondered if Plame was a good excuse for Bush consulting with him, when there might have been some more direct issues at play. By June of 2004, Arar’s lawsuit was filed, Padilla’s case was up with the Supremes with the surprise that Scalia might not be on board, DOJ was doing its “review” for the Padilla presser, and you have to think that Bush’s role in torture has to have been somewhere on someone’s mind.

    • rumi says:

      The only thing that seems consistent with this current admin is that we don’t see the crucial issues. What we see is a reality created for our judicial study and conversation, with the true issues tucked neatly out of sight.

      …ok,..I’ll give y’all some much demanded silence from my part.

      later

  18. rumi says:

    re – to the rumi-tard comment,

    ha-ha-…that’s a good one.

    I never suggested any conduct by Fitz or McNulty to be anything less than professional and dedicated…it’s the Ledeens of the world that I don’t trust…so, if you’re here, let me say it straight up…I don’t trust you.

    My point was that a professional, such as Fitzgerald, would not disclose any info to the press that he didn’t want the press to spread. I consider that a compliment to his skillful technique. It’s the same as the late visit to the office of Rove’s attorney that could have been done unoticed…if we’re allowed to be aware…or if anyone is allowed to be aware, it happens for a good reason….and I trust them. I would assume it was a move to make some other folks nervous…trouble was, nobody had his back…*disclaimer* – meaning that no one could move within the GWB DoJ to do their job at full potential, due to the control of the GWB cabal.

    now…lol…thanks for the insults.

  19. JohnLopresti says:

    TPMM is reporting Conyers is interested in the tapes topic today, and a house judiciary subcommittee has a hearing with ‘witnesses’ tomorrow. TPMM also reports today that House intell committee’s previously scheduled appearance by Rodriguez set for tomorrow instead will be by surrogate Rizzo, while reserving the option to call Rodriguez on a subsequent day. Kiel also reports Mukasey is scheduled now to testify in Judiciary January 30.

    As for the side matter about Fitzgerald’s scope, ew had some interesting discussion of that prospective widening as the weeks after the initial news elapsed and some reporters were talking about the SP moving to new more capacious offices; the threads with those interchanges predated the election in which Prodi won; but it seemed fairly clear PF was keeping resources directed toward what could make it to trial timely. Yet, some of the initial factfinding may be of interest yet.

    As for the politics of the next few years, I cast my vote for Obama in our early primary, by mail, hoping the office will make the candidate as much as his insight and optimism promise a refreshing new way of managing the country’s affairs. He seems to skip the trivia and seeks to capture the ideals.

    • bmaz says:

      Good article. Interesting, it is chock full of damning information, but still manages to phrase it all in a manner that soft sells the whole matter and makes it sound acceptable. It is not. The tapes were material, and most enlightened experts would say exculpatory, evidence to the cases of the individuals being interrogated/tortured at a bare root minimum. Above and beyond that, however, the tapes were also direct evidence of the commission of national and international crimes and war crimes. The Post article really is juicy, but I will leave for now with this quote from Hayden:

      Hayden, who became CIA director last year, acknowledged that the questions raised about the tapes’ destruction, then and now, are legitimate. “One can ask if it was a good idea, or if there was a better way to do it,” he said. “We are very happy to let the facts take us where they will.”

      Good. Let it lead to the Cheney/Bush Torquemad torture brigade being placed in a dank prison cell for the rest of their miserable fucking lives. That is where it should lead.

  20. pdaly says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Jeff.

    One passage from the new WaPo Warrick/Pincus article immediately jumped out at me.

    “By December 2002, the taping was no longer needed, according to three former intelligence officials. “Zubaida’s health was better, and he was providing information that we could check out,” one said. ”

    (does this seeming non sequitur imply that previously when Zubaida’s health was worse, he needed to be tortured to speak? (for example, maybe they were stepping on or probing his gunshot wounds to make him speak?). Then when his wounds healed they couldn’t think alternative methods to squeeze out his terrorism know how except for untaped interviews that could be fact checked?)

  21. JodiDog says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, there is nothing to charge except your wishful thinking.

    The Chief of the Clandestine Service did his job.

    Kept the tapes Clandestine!!

  22. pdaly says:

    I also like this quote from Rodriguez’s attorney Bennett:

    “Since 2002, the CIA wanted to destroy the tapes to protect the identity and lives of its officers and for other counterintelligence reasons,” Bennett said in a written response to questions from The Washington Post.”

    I believe the first part (foreign threats and domestic (i.e., the US Constitution) threats, but other counterintelligence reasons?

  23. pdaly says:

    I guess I could reparse the quoted passage at my 58: the taping may have stopped by December 2002, now that it looked like Zubaida would live from his gunshot wounds, but the torture may or may not have continued.

    If the sentence structure were “and he was now providing information” then it would suggest he was not providing info when they were taping him.

    However, the anonymous quote does not say that–making this quote a non sequitur as far as I can tell. The source does not provide a logical explanation why the taping was no longer used.

Comments are closed.