Exclusive!! Pro-Torture Spooks Continue to Play Journalists for Chumps!!

This chump journalist thing seems to be more virulent than swine flu.

The Moonie Times has an !!!EXCLUSIVE!!! reporting that Silvestre Reyes (who of course joined the Gang of Four after the torture program and the illegal wiretap program became public) thinks Congress is partly responsible for the "interrogation controversy."

In a rare gesture, House intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes sent a letter this week to all CIA employees suggesting that Congress shared some blame for the CIA interrogation controversy and should play a more robust role in the intelligence policymaking process.

The letter, which was sent Wednesday and made available to The Washington Times on Thursday, appeared to undercut remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that there was little Congress could do about harsh interrogations, including waterboarding. [my emphasis]

Only, that’s not what the letter says.

One important lesson to me from the CIA’s interrogation operations involves congressional oversight. I’m going to examine closely ways in which we can change the law to make our own oversight of CIA more meaningful;  I want to move from mere notification to real discussion. Good oversight can lead to a partnership, and that’s what I am looking to bring about. 

The tip-off to Moonie’s chumps should be "mere notification," which (as Pelosi has said) is not the same as approval.

But don’t take my word on basic English–check out what Reyes said to the Hill about his letter.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes said he agrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that members of Congress have been too limited in how they can respond to briefings about intelligence policies they oppose.

"The system we have now is a one-way discussion," Reyes (D-Texas) said in an interview with The Hill on Friday. "In the final analysis, they’re going to do what they’re going to do."


The Washington Times reported the letter exclusively Friday, and said the letter "appeared to undercut remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that there was little Congress could do about harsh interrogations, including waterboarding."

Reyes said that was not the case.

"It’s pure and simple conservative spin," Reyes said. "And it’s a disservice to our intelligence personnel all over the world."

Misreading Reyes’ letter is not the only thing the chumps from the Moonie Times did. They exhibited either willful blindness to the public record or plain old ignorance. For example, they let Crazy Pete Hoekstra claim,"members of Congress knew all about these programs."

A former chairman of the House intelligence panel and its current ranking member, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, called the Reyes letter "unprecedented."

"I’ve got to believe the feedback they are getting from the community prompted this," Mr. Hoekstra told The Times. "Here members of Congress knew all about these programs, and here fellow CIA employees are getting thrown under the bus. From my standpoint, I think it is unprecedented for the CIA to receive a letter like this from a chairman."

But the public record, including Porter Goss’ own statements, show that when Nancy Pelosi got her the one briefing she got before 2006, those members of Congress weren’t told the most important fact: that the CIA had already waterboarded Abu Zubaydah. 

And when Moonie’s chumps say, 

The budgeting process for the intelligence community gives members of the oversight committees authority to withhold funding for activities without disclosing classified programs.

I guess they were so busy attacking Nancy Pelosi that they couldn’t read this basic English from her, either. 

And that’s why I, when I became Speaker, established this joint committee between the Appropriations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, because the fact is they really were not fully briefing the Intelligence Committee. And they have to answer to the Appropriations Committee because that’s where their funding comes from.

It is a long story, it’s an evolution. It used to be the Intelligence Committee – you couldn’t appropriate unless the Intelligence Committee authorized. It was almost effectively an appropriation. Over time the Intelligence in the Bush years became part of supplementals so there was absolutely no sharing of information. They would just stick the request in the supplementals. We said, "Okay, if they are going right to appropriations, we will have members of the Intelligence Committee serve in this hybrid committee, part Intelligence, part Appropriations." [my emphasis]

Once again, I don’t want to let Pelosi totally off the hook and I absolutely support Reyes’ and Pelosi’s efforts to force CIA to do more than provide (as Reyes said) "mere notification." After the fact. Six months after the fact. Mere notification.

But Moonie’s chumps would have you believe that Nancy Pelosi, through some super-human powers, can undo 83 uses of waterboarding after they have already occurred. 

68 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    You are absolutely right here, but keep in mind that, left to his own devices, Reyes is lame enough to say something like that.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, that sounds even snootier than a Beamish. Turning into a freaking blue blood right in front o me. How Offal.

        • emptywheel says:

          It’s just one bumfuck east of Lansing. How can that be snooty?

          In fact, one of the best breweries in MI, New Holland Brewery, is in fecking Crazy Pete Hoekstra’s home town, a veritable goldmine of Dutch Reform wingnuts.

          We just like good beer up here in the far north.

          • bmaz says:

            Damn, and all I got is this crappy Corona in my hand. Okay on the product of Holland (New or otherwise). Heck, when I first read that (you know I need glasses still), I thought it read “IPO”. I was duly impressed you were taking a brewery public on an exchange. Kind of miffed I wasn’t in on the deal.

          • Rayne says:

            Jeebus. They only knocked down a Sunday blue law this last year in Holland; must have improved their beer brewing sales volume a bit.

            Definitely not snooty, more like lucky to choke out a beer given the county of origin.

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    It is a long story, it’s an evolution. It used to be the Intelligence Committee – you couldn’t appropriate unless the Intelligence Committee authorized. It was almost effectively an appropriation. Over time the Intelligence in the Bush years became part of supplementals so there was absolutely no sharing of information.

    Even I know that Cheney headed that Intel Committee back in the 80s during Iran-Contra.

    Anyone honestly think that he hadn’t mastered the budget process, staff appointments (with his personal, dug in aides), the lines of command, the lines of reporting, and every other feature he needed to master in order to subvert open government?

    Please. (!)

    If the Moonie had simply said, “Hmm… who are the previous people heading this committee over the past 20 years? What have they done since? Where else in government have they held positions?” then they’d stop paying all that attention to Pelosi and think:
    — Cheney: former White House staffer under Ford, back post-Watergate and flipped out about the Pres having to operate openly? Check.
    — Cheney: head of Intell Committee during Iran-Contra? Check.
    — Cheney: Sec of Defense under Bush I? Check.
    — Cheney: side trip through neocon Think Tanks during Clinton years? Check.
    — Cheney: side trip to make millions as head of a company that lays pipelines for oil corporations, based in Texas and Dubai? Check.

    Cheney is the one person who has served just about everywhere that you’d need to have experience if you wanted to completely, utterly believe that US government should be a tool for oil companies, because oil = security + power.

    That’s what Pelosi’s up against.
    So clearly, she should get the far larger share of the blame.

  3. MadDog says:

    And the official Repug propaganda machine is in full spin. Per Fox News:

    Do Lawmakers Share Some of Blame for CIA Interrogations?

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes thinks Congress needs to do more when it comes to CIA interrogations. The Washington Times reports the Texas Democrat sent a letter to CIA employees that says: “One important lesson to me from the CIA’s interrogation operations involves congressional oversight. I’m going to examine closely ways in which we can change the law to make our oversight of CIA more meaningful.”

    The letter undercuts remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that there is little Congress can do about harsh interrogations. Michigan Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra says “members of Congress knew all about these programs, and here fellow CIA employees are getting thrown under the bus… I think it is unprecedented for the CIA to receive a letter like this from a chairman.”

      • MadDog says:

        Nope, no credit. That says to me it was supplied to the official wingnut propaganda outlets.

        And as we all know, wingnuts never deviate from the official message machine.

        Hmmm…wingnuts and deviate in the same sentence. So very apropo!

        • bmaz says:

          Hmmm…wingnuts and deviate in the same sentence. So very apropo!

          That’s what it said in a bathroom stall I was in at the airport the other day!!

          • MadDog says:


            Paging Jeff Gannon! Jeff Gannon to the white courtesy phone stall. Paging Senator Larry Craig! There’s room in the white courtesy stall.

  4. MadDog says:

    Did Nancy misspeak here by using the past tense?

    …“You’re really a hostage if you’re notified that something has happened. They’re not asking for your thoughts,” Pelosi said in a CNN interview this week…

    (My Bold)

  5. MadDog says:

    And while I was skimming over at The Hill, I came across this from Senator Robert Byrd:

    Our Obligation to Investigate (Sen. Robert Byrd)

    …Whether it is through an independent investigation, a “Truth Commission,” a Congressional investigation, or a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, action must be taken. As long as those who condoned and approved these despicable acts are permitted to escape the consequences, we allow our moral standing in the world to be severely compromised. September 11 did not suddenly legalize torture, nor did it exonerate those who authorized such a heinous deviation from the rule of law. How we address these abuses will shape the image of the United States for decades. In order to truly clear our good name and put the past behind us, the United States must strive to be sure that this dark period of sick and secretive torture schemes receives the scrutiny it deserves.

  6. eyesonthestreet says:

    O/T torture timeline:

    Mitchell and Jesson opened up their alleged torture for hire shop “Mitchell’s entry into private contracting began less than three months before September 11 with a scientific consulting company called Knowledge Works, L.L.C. ” -http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/07/torture200707?currentPage=2

    Seems to me, after reading this story:

    where the alleged terrorist are about to be given to the US in Dec 2001, but the British decide to wait for a number of reasons one of them being that the US just might try to allegedly torture them.

    that the torture timeline should start on January 20, 2001, when Bush took office.

  7. randiego says:

    Thank you. And I just opened a Michigan Brewing Company High Seas IPA, thank you.

    Yeah, that sounds even snootier than a Beamish. Turning into a freaking blue blood right in front o me. How Offal.

    I didn’t see it as snotty… I’m picturing some Michigan salty dogs raising a draft of High Seas IPA and singing along to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”…

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, in Ann Arbor, the inebriated sing “Hail To The Victors”.

      Not pretty. Picture Bo Schembechler with pom pons.

      • emptywheel says:

        Actually, except for the “champions of the west” bit, Victors beats the hell out of my other alma mater fight song, which basically glorifies genocide (Lord Jeff sold smallpox infested blankets to the Native Americans):

        “Lord Jeffery Amherst”

        Oh, Lord Jeffery Amherst was a soldier of the king
        And he came from across the sea,
        To the Frenchmen and the Indians he didn’t do a thing
        In the wilds of this wild country,
        In the wilds of this wild country.
        And for his royal majesty he fought with all his might,
        For he was a soldier loyal and true,
        And he conquered all the enemies that came within his sight
        And he looked around for more when he was through.

        Oh, Amherst, brave Amherst
        ‘Twas a name known to fame in days of yore,
        May it ever be glorious
        ‘Til the sun shall climb the heavens no more.

        Oh, Lord Jeffery Amherst was the man who gave his name
        To our College upon the Hill
        And the story of his loyalty and bravery and fame
        Abides here among us still
        Abides here among us still
        You may talk about your Johnnies and your Elis and the rest
        For they are names that time will never dim
        But give us our only Jeffery, he’s the noblest and the best
        ‘Til the end we will stand fast for him.

          • emptywheel says:

            And the mascot really is someone dressed up as an old Brit. Yes indeedy.

            Amherst is a feeder school for Wall Street, you know. It’s thing like that song which might best explain the crash.

            • phred says:

              Germ warfare would be considered child’s play compared to global economic havoc, EW. C’mon, Lord jeff is quaint to those guys ; )

              • bmaz says:

                Yeah, Champions of the West my ass. When they come out to Sun Devil Stadium and whup ASU maybe. But Sparky the Sun Devil sez “We whip those pansies in the Big 10 11″, bring on the Jeffs!

            • prostratedragon says:

              I really must get this time thing in phase some day …

              Who Owns New York

              Oh, who owns New York?
              Oh, who owns New York?
              Oh, who owns New York the people say.
              Why, we own New York!
              Why, we own New York!

              Proof in the form of one jpeg image from the Harlem River page at the Bridge and Tunnel Club website; a little story about it here.

              No one ever played that “Roar Lion, Roar” thing when I was there. We have one of those beefeater guys too, who marches in academic processions. (The last one passed away not long ago.)

              Got to agree about “The Victors” though.

              • cinnamonape says:

                There are some funny fight songs: Albion College – Fyte Onne!
                Appalachian State University – Hi Hi Yikas
                Barry University – Go Barry Go
                University of Chicago – Scholarly Yells
                University of Denver – Fairest of Colleges
                Earlham College – “Fight Fight Inner Light”; “Battle Hymn of the Quakers”; “Theme of the Quaker Army”; “How Can We Keep from Scoring”; “Rah–Rah–Rio–Rem”; “Etc.”
                The Evergreen State College – The Geoduck Fight Song
                Gustavus Adolphus College – Gustie Rouser
                Guadalajara Autonomous University (UAG) Himnos Tecos!
                University of Hawai’i – Co-Ed Fight Song
                College of the Holy Cross – Chu-Chu Rah-Rah
                Jesus College, Oxford – Exeter Wank Wank Wank
                Kalamazoo College – All Hail to Kazoo
                Massachusetts Institute of Technology – The Engineer’s Drinking Song
                University of Oxford – Shoo The Tabs or Shoe The Tabs
                University of Pennsylvania – Drink a Highball, The Battle Cry of Penn (Hang Jeff Davis)
                University of Puget Sound – Fight for UPS
                Purdue University – Hail Purdue!
                Queen’s University – Queen’s College Colours, also called the Oil Thigh
                University of Richmond – Spider Born
                St. Olaf College – Um Ya Ya
                Syracuse University – The Saltine Warrior
                Whittier College – Go Poets!
                Wichita State University – Shocker Fight Song
                William Jewell College – Fight William Jewell

        • phred says:

          “Champions of the West”? Really? Growing up in the shadow of Bucky Badger I always heard that sung as “Cesspool of the West” ; ) The rest of the words aren’t fit for a family blog, which is saying something given the language I am perfectly content to use on a family blog ; )

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    Aupa, Estimado Representante SilvestreR, que se adelante cuanto antes. Ya sé, han de acarearse a lo humano moderno, Siga.

  9. bmaz says:

    Well now, that is a bit, um, civilized. Notice the simpleton brief, easy to remember drunk, uncultured ASU lyrics:

    Arizona State Sun Devils

    “Maroon and Gold”

    Fight, Devils down the field
    Fight with your might and don’t ever yield
    Long may our colors outshine all others
    Echo from the buttes,
    Give ‘em hell Devils!
    Cheer, cheer for ASU
    Fight for the Old Maroon
    For it’s hail, hail, the gang’s all here
    And it’s onward to victory!

  10. bobschacht says:

    Well, it must be Friday, News Dump time with nothing to report, so everyone’s trading school fight songs instead of Seriously Discussing the latest Blizzard of EW’s panoply of diaries.

    I had hopes that Rachel Maddow would maintain the practice of doing her show live after 5 PM on Fridays, just so she could catch some of the goodies various folks were saving up for the time when MSNBC would switch all of its programing over to inane programs about, well, you know, Nancy Grace material about jails and street crimes (but never white collar crimes by Washington bureaucrats) and other junk that they run all weekend. Whatever happened to that great idea? Now, at the end of the Rachel Maddow show, its turn autoplay machines on, and the lights out for the weekend. What is it with MSNBC, anyway?

    Bob in HI

  11. rosalind says:

    stanford’s official unofficial song:

    I said “Slow, don’t go so fast, don’t you think that love can last?”
    She said, “Love, Lord above,
    Now you’re tryin’ to trick me in love.”
    All right now, baby, it’s a-all right now.
    All right now, baby, it’s a-all right now.

    it, uh, works better as an instrumental.

  12. Loo Hoo. says:

    Well, now you folks have me checking on Chico State, which I’ve never heard nor read before right this minute, but find incredibly embarrassing:

    Hail to Chico State
    She’s our dear old alma mater
    Where our teams so great
    lead us on to victory
    Rah Rah Rah
    Where our men are square
    and our fair coeds are fairer
    Come let us give a cheer
    for dear old Chico State

    And they wonder why I don’t send money.

  13. Loo Hoo. says:

    I like the song my dad taught me the best:

    Hip Su, Ba Zu,
    Teddy Bu, Ra Zu,
    Ice kitty, Ice kitty
    Teddy Ru, Teddy Ra
    Teddy Rubby Dubby Flubby Dubby,
    Sisss Boom Bah!
    Blackduck High School,
    Rah, Rah, Rah!

  14. bobschacht says:

    As long as we’re doing fight songs, I remember this from high school days in Madison, WI:

    We never stagger,
    We never fall,
    We sober up on
    Wood alchohol
    While our loyal faculty
    lies drunk on the ballroom floor!
    Da da da da da da da, (repeat)

    Then there’s the Tom Lehrer version of the Hahvahd fight song:

    Fight fiercely, Harvard!
    Demonstrate to them our skill.
    Albeit they may have the might,
    Nonetheless we have the will!

    I disremember the rest.

    Bob in HI

    • LabDancer says:

      Lehrer’s ode to the Crimson now gets capped off with The Red Rally Cheer:

      Repel them
      Repel them
      Make them relinquish the ball.

      [G. Plimpton]

      • matutinal says:

        Speaking of Harvard, reminds me of (Brooklyn-born) Prof. William Alfred’s example of high, medium and low diction:

        “The agony has abated.”

        “The pain has stopped.”

        “It don’t hoit any more.”

  15. JohnLopresti says:

    Translat of @20: ‘Way to to, Rep. Forrest Kingsley, please continue this initiative as soon as possible. We realize those folks have to face what it is to be part of modern humanity. Forward.’

  16. JohnLopresti says:

    There is no dusk to be,
    There is no dawn that was,
    Only there’s now, and now,
    And the wind in the grass.

    Days I remember of
    Now in my heart, are now;
    Days that I dream will bloom
    White the peach bough.

    Dying shall never be
    Now in the windy grass;
    Now under shooken leaves
    Death never was.

    Macleish n

  17. FrankProbst says:

    I took a few liberties with the Charles Krauthammer column from this morning. See if you can spot the edits.

    Blowing goats is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. An innocent’s life is at stake. The bad guy you have captured possesses information that could save this life. He refuses to divulge, unless Charles Krauthammer blows a goat. In such a case, the choice is easy. Even John McCain, the most admirable and estimable goat-blowing opponent, says openly that in such circumstances, “You do what you have to do.” And then take the responsibility.

    The second exception to the no-goat-blowing rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives. This case lacks the black-and-white clarity of the ticking time bomb scenario. We know less about the length of the fuse or the nature of the next attack. But we do know the danger is great. We know we must act but have no idea where or how–and we can’t know that until we have information. Catch-22.

    Under those circumstances, you do what you have to do. And that includes goat-blowing.

  18. FrankProbst says:

    Does anyone know why it’s okay to use torture to save lives, but it’s not okay to use stem cells?

    • pdaly says:

      good point. If stem cells are found on the battlefield, however, I suppose anything goes.
      And isn’t the world a battlefield these days (paraphrasing Obama’s friend Elena Kagan)?

  19. pdaly says:

    not a fight song, but quite possibly a great drinking song, thanks to John Cleese October 2008.
    (I found the text first on TheLiberalOC.com)

    Ode to Sean Hannity
    by John Cleese

    Aping urbanity
    Oozing with vanity
    Plump as a manatee
    Faking humanity
    Journalistic calamity
    Intellectual inanity
    Fox Noise insanity
    You’re a profanity

  20. randiego says:

    Here’s the only fight song I know, and it’s easily the best… everybody knows the tune…

    We’re coming your way,
    We’re gonna dazzle you with our super play.
    The time has come,
    You know we’re shooting for number one.
    With thunderbolts and lightning
    We’ll light up the sky,
    We’ll give it all we’ve got, and more
    With the Super Charger try!

    San Diego Super Chargers,
    San Diego Chargers!
    San Diego Super Chargers,
    San Diego Chargers!

  21. randiego says:

    I’m enjoying a post-surf Miller Lite (I know, but I’m on the pre-wedding diet) and waiting for bmaz to flame my Lightning Bolts.

    We’re expecting a little rain in SoCal tonight.

  22. Hmmm says:

    OT/EPU’d on “What Did BushCo Hide…” thread:

    In addition, the EPIC letter explains that law enforcement has recently been using “hybrid” orders to pinpoint cell phone (and therefore, your) location.

    Um. One can’t help wondering whether the USG at some point figured out that if they got that data for all the accounts, they had the potential to start tracking the locations of all cellphone owners — essentially all American adults. That could work either by data-mining in retrospect (to determine where any particular person had been at any given time of interest, or to trace their movements over time), or else with enough computing, you could tell where anyone currently is, in real time. If they had ever actually implemented that, then that might explain both the Ashcroft revulsion and the Bush administration failure to file those reports.

  23. SparklestheIguana says:

    Good Bill Moyers Journal tonight, with Bruce Fein and Mark Danner on torture, then a Boston community organizer who stops foreclosures/evictions.

  24. tanbark says:

    OT, but certainly of a piece with knowing which questions not to ask about the torture issue, is this, where it looks like Obama caved on dropping the charges against the two AIPAC honchos:


  25. Leen says:

    passing the buck seems to be as contagious as the swine flu

    We have witnessed this administration get off for lying about intelligence, starting a completely unnecessary war, outing an undercover agent (well I guess Libby losing his license was something), undermining the DOJ, illegal wiretapping. Now we have alleged spies not even going to trial why Larry Franklin was left holding the goods.

    Will we ever witness anyone held accountable for this torture?
    Never a time like now to say “when pigs fly” or “when pigs have wings” Especially with the swine flu filling the air waves

    Can the swine flu be carried by birds?

  26. Bluetoe2 says:

    98% of the “journalists” in the corporate media are chumps. Everyone knows it but the chumps themselves.

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