Torture Tape Investigation in HPSCI

Last week we learned that John Durham asked a computer forensics expert to contribute to a legal declaration pertaining to whether or not the CIA Inspector General had–or had ever had–evidence pertaining to the interrogations of two Gitmo detainees.

Today we learn that two of the people involved in the Torture Tape destruction are current high-raking Administration officials.

The [HPSCI] panel interviewed two “current, high-level government officials” in April, according to a congressional official, who declined to name the officials.

Both [Intelligence] panels have interviewed CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. 

It’s not clear whether this passage means that Hayden (who just resigned from the military) is one of the two "current, high-level government officials" or not–he’d certainly qualify.

But that leaves another "current, high-level government official." This is significant because several of the key players (like Jose Rodriguez, who remains under subpoena from HPSCI) are former officials. Two notable exceptions are John Rizzo, who works in CIA’s General Counsel office, and John Helgerson, CIA’s Inspector General. We also know that John Negroponte, currently at State, wrote a memo pertaining to the Torture Tapes when he was DNI. Finally, there’s always everyone’s favorite current high-level government official involved with the torture tapes, David Addington.

But I’m not holding my breath.

I’m just as intrigued by the news that Crazy Pete Hoekstra and Silvestre Reyes have gotten into a spat over this investigation.

The House investigation has been riven by partisan disputes. In January, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the panel’s ranking Republican, publicly took issue with Democrats over issuing a subpoena for Rodriguez, selecting witnesses and other aspects of the investigation. Democrats have maintained that they have been responsive to Republican input.

A spokesman for Hoekstra declined to comment Tuesday.

As I have said repeatedly, one of the people spinning hard to dissociate himself from the Torture Tape destruction is Porter Goss, who was head of the CIA when the Torture Tape was destroyed, and who received Negroponte’s warning not to destroy the Torture Tape. I’ve long worried that an HPSCI investigation, handled badly, would work the same way Lee Hamilton and Dick Cheney’s HPSCI investigation into Iran-Contra did–to immunize key players from prosecution. In particular, I’ve worried about Pete Hoekstra attempting to protect his former colleague, Porter Goss, from any incrimination.

So I consider it a good sign that Crazy Pete has his knickers in a twist about the investigation. 

32 replies
  1. FrankProbst says:

    A spokesman for Hoekstra declined to comment Tuesday.
    Whoa. They’re so stunned, they can’t even spin it yet. I’d say that’s a VERY good sign.

    And I don’t think anyone’s going to make the Iran/Contra mistake here. In all of the hearings thus far, everyone who’s gotten immunity has been low-level, and they STILL “can’t recall” most of what they did.

    • bmaz says:

      Eh, don’t get to far ahead of yourself there. Reyes is dumb as a stump and friends with Rodriquez; and on the Senate side, rockefeller is, well, you know, Jello Jay.

      • Bushie says:

        Additionally, the Dems don’t want to open a can of worms, so if they can be ineffective enough, they hope our ADDA citizens will forget about the egregious law breaking that’s continued on their watch, in anticipation of next seasons American Idol.

  2. Rayne says:

    OT — don’t watch MSNBC, McAuliffe is going on that HRC won Michigan and that Obama chose for political reasons to remove his name from the ballot.

    Even Mrs. Greenspan couldn’t swallow that swill and redirected him away from his little spittle-flecked lying ramble.

    • emptywheel says:

      At some point, someone NEEDS to respond to McAuliffe, “Mr. McAuliffe, is the best you can offer that Hillary won an election when her opponent wasn’t on the ballot? You don know that John McCain will be on the ballot in November?”

  3. Anna says:

    David Addington is in the number one position on John Dean’s the people I would most like to witness be impeached list.

  4. bmaz says:

    Heh, if it is Hayden, that would kind of fit with my earlier musing on him trying to lock his pension in as much as he could before the poo meets fan moment….

    • MadDog says:

      I wonder why Hayden has left the military? Any thoughts?

      Per the AP:

      Hayden, who holds the rank of four-star general, said he is taking the step because of “practical considerations related to military retirement.” He joined the CIA in 2006 but has continued to be paid by the Air Force. He will now be paid by the CIA but will also draw a military pension.

      At the very least, now Mikey can “double-dip”. He gets paid by both the CIA and his service pension. Or in other words:

      Shortery Mikey Hayden: “I just gave myself a raise. Doh! Why didn’t I think of that before?”

  5. radiofreewill says:

    Imho, Hoekstra never tried to ‘do the right thing’ when he was the Chair.

    Instead, his focus was on ‘controlling the information’ that came out of the Committee.

    He never tried to enforce meaningful Oversight, rather he was complicit in hiding the information Bushco wanted out of sight.

    Now, he’s Scared to Death because All the Evil that got done under his Umbrella of Non-action is about to come out.

    Say good-bye, Petey…you were Just Weak Enough to Deliver Excellent Bootlicking in the form of *Sins of Ommission* for your Wink-and-Nod Masters, but not good enough for Government Service, with Integrity, on behalf of the People.

  6. wavpeac says:

    “are current high-raking Administration officials.”

    Somehow “high raking” seems so much more fitting.

  7. bmaz says:

    RUH ROH! Speaking of tortuous tapes, the deal has been finally cut for Matt Walsh to fully cooperate with, and turn over any evidence he has to, the NFL regarding Bill Bell, the Pats and spygate.

    Former Patriots assistant Matt Walsh will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on May 13 about New England’s videotaping of opposing teams.

    The league reached an agreement with Walsh on Wednesday. The NFL had been negotiating for two months with Walsh, now an assistant golf pro in Hawaii, who has indicated he has further information regarding Spygate.

    Oh my….

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    Maybe permitting some progress in HJC’s investigation was part of an Ashcroft plea bargain in the investigation into the noncompetitive award to Ashcroft of the multimilion$USD dispute resolution case. I could imagine his having the prurient interest, and sufficient influence in the 2002 timeframe within the administration, to ask to see or maybe only oversee the person who saw, tape(s), given bills of goods were (getting) ’shoved’ onto his desk for noncompetitive signature, kindof like he was getting treated like Democrats in the later2005Senate. A little tanfoil, but plausibly, the theorem goes further, that he knew broadly what was occurring in the select president’s advisory compartments populated by DoJ employees, and, the lemma goes beyond, Bradbury is a kind of monitor to assure continuity of policy, like Mukasey’s subtle comic schtik allusion at Commonwealth March2008 reminding folks he was ‘part’ of some larger whole, namely, the administration, tacit: so lots of luck getting a candid A during Q+A or any but a stringently vetted formal speech. The timelines are too early to characterize Ashcroft’s then somewhat mysterious reasons for resigning after his complicated recovery from fairly routine surgery, though he is elderly, as discretion being the better part of valor or brazen action segued by remorse as the barrister might depict and impute his silent recriminations, history already is not judging him the administration kindly in the tortcha matter. Bashman was saying when the story first emerged about the tapes destruction that Rizzo was where the buck stopped, but that is maybe as much tanfoil as my view. The misgivings regarding his record concerning personal liberty in Ashcroft’s confirmation hearing still haunt my sense of what his service subsequently was to the administration. The UC SB y2k Presidency Project postelection, postScotusAward of the presidency to Bush, press conferences transcripts have made interesting reading recently: to reconstruct again who were Bush’s closest advisers very early in his planning, given it all was blind to the conflicts that would erupt after the PlanebombInNYincident. Bush seemed pretty opaque immediately after the award of the victory and his opponent’s conciliatory congratulations speech. I suppose my view is Ashcroft seems to know more, but be protecting people, his partisans; yet, I see his values as rejecting some of what happened in 2002 with respect to, or disrespect toward, basic human rights. OT even farther, an early involved academic in the problems for human health and safety patently foreseeable in the administrations early primitive policies in 2002 was a prof who continues to work collaboratively on these issues at U of MD; the link on that page requires a click on the ‘publications’ choice to see some downloadable materials.

  9. AZ Matt says:

    OT – from Think Progess. The lil’ chickensh*t!

    In a letter to Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), Yoo’s lawyer said his client was “not authorized” by the DOJ to discuss internal deliberations:

    We have been expressly advised by the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice that Professor Yoo is not authorized to discuss before your Committee any specific deliberative communications, including the substance of comments on opinions or policy questions, or the confidential predecisional advice, recommendations or other positions taken by individuals or entities of the Executive Branch.

  10. Rayne says:

    Oh, btw, off-topic…but I’m interested in assistance from anybody with a background in genealogical research.

    Would like to know if these families are related:
    – Hoekstra
    Dyker (may be “Dijker”)
    – Prince (may be “Prins”)

    Families would have emigrated to Holland MI. Email me at rayne_today AT yahoo. Thanks!

    • bmaz says:

      Rayne – No clue, but i have heard from people that used it, that the best database going is run by the Mormons. I don’t know if that is in Salt lake City or at BYU.

    • PJEvans says:

      Rayne, you might start with this database:
      This is the index page with ‘Hoekstra’, of which it has 244.
      (I’ll do some more checking when I get home.)
      You can also try FamilySearch, which is the online access to the Mormon database. It doesn’t include people after 1900, except for the Social Security death index.)

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks, PJ, that’s a very interesting site, helped a lot with variations of spellings. Tough part will be that our Crazy Pete was born in Groningen, Netherlands and not in the U.S. — but there’s a strong chance that he came to Holland because other family members were already here.

        The significance of the Prince name might not be obvious at first:

        Yeah. Smallish world here.

  11. PetePierce says:

    Why the hell should we be guessing who these pricks are? What the frig is sheilding their identity? This government is completely disconnected from the people who pay for it–so much for that fairy tale fed to children–”of the people, by the people and for the people.”


    t is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Nope Abe. They diunnnnt and they don’t.

  12. Mary says:

    So Hayden has decided to end his nonstop disgracing of the uniform? At least there’s that.

    If the committee has talked to those two highe ranking officials, that means those officials didn’t raise privilege, fourth branchiness, etc. to refuse to talk to them. Which to me smacks of someone who wants to help control the message while being able to distance themselves a bit from the actual conduct.

    I’d kind of wonder about Bellinger (who tried so hard for so long to spin out what a white hat, anti-torture, kinda guy and had Clemmons IIRC spinning the ‘Bellinger is a good guy’ meme up until a couple of days before Bellinger refused to say it would be a bad thing to waterboard US soldiers) as one of the sources. He was in the loop both via NSC and later stepping (badly) into Taft’s shoes at State and he so desperately wants to spin out the theme that he is something better and purer than Cheney and Addington. Plus he’s a Rice firewall/message framer. Plus, while I don’t know this for a fact, just from the way that so many seem to try so hard to make nicey nice about him (Clemmons, Lederman, the writers of the Cheney series, etc.) he likely has a lot of friends he can call upon on the Intel committee staff. That would mean they could get the warm fuzzies that he was a good guy and voluntarily cooperated and spoke with them (their pal John) while he could use the friendships and connections to help shafpe the message – plus to non-threateningly threaten on the ‘do you really want people talking about what Jay Rockefeller and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman knew about torture?) hint hing front – plus give his earnest dudley doright look while talking about how afraid everyone was and that making Bush ‘look good’ had nada to do with anything.

    No real insights or reasons to think Bellinger more than anyone else, but just my reaction.

    • emptywheel says:


      You’ll be interested (and no doubt skeptical) that Mueller denied knowing any details of the Padilla interrogation in his testimony before HJC today.

    • PetePierce says:

      I must say Mary, I thought I followed government a little bit, and every few days from you and Marcy I learn the names of people I should have known about but didn’t. There are levels and I haven’t been drilling deep enough.

  13. Mary says:

    I am and I am. There is a dirty bomb plot afoot to blow up NYC, but the dir of the FBI doesn’t concern himself with any details of the interrogation of the guy whose information could cause the death of who knows how many. And his FBI agents swear out the arrest warrants for Padilla with what – I guess “no knowledge” of the interrogations of Zubaydah who is their source in their affidavits.

    It once again becomes the typical Bush situation – the Safavian defense: do I look really dumb and incompetent or do I look really criminal.

    Did they ask him specifically about the Pentagon report on the violations of the Geneva Conventions for Padilla and al-Mari that was issued a month before Comey’s presser? Seems odd that he wouldn’t take an interest in the conditions imposed on a man his FBI agents were routinely questioning.

    To give Yoo credit – at least he doesn’t run and hide behind some trumped up, “golly, I didn’t know they were going to take my memo saying they could do bad things and actually do bad things” For that, he’s much less of a coward than most of them have been. He’s evil and twit, but not so cowardly as to try to duck, dodge and hide so much.

  14. jimhicks3 says:

    Re; Immunization & Iran/Contra
    I’ve always thought that the fix was in when old Ollie got immuned. Great show trial like most of what goes on in the hearings now.

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