Breaking News!! CIA Manipulating Briefing Process!!

No. Not really breaking. We knew that CIA was playing around with its obligation to inform the intelligence committees before it starts any big new projects–like opening torture factories around the world.

But that’s the real story of this briefing list–aside from what a bunch right wingers are claiming it says, the actual details of the briefing list notwithstanding. The real story is that the CIA was playing a bunch of games to be able to claim it had informed Congress, even while only informing some of Congress some things.

First, CIA has officially confirmed what I have been saying for weeks. The CIA first briefed Congress on torture on September 4, 2002, 35 days after CIA purportedly began waterboarding and much longer after we know CIA started torturing Abu Zubaydah. Moreover, we have on the record statements from Pelosi and Goss (and I’ve had even stronger assurances elsewhere) that CIA did not tell Congress they were already in the business of torture. Their discussions of torture were all prospective, and they may even have stated clearly that they had not used these techniques yet, which (if true) would be a clear and direct lie to Congress. 

Second, look at when–according to the CIA’s specific assertions–they first talked about waterboarding to members of Congress:

February 4, 2003: Pat Roberts and a Republican and a Democratic staffer (but not Jello Jay); according to the CIA there was no specific mention of waterboarding in the February 5, 2003 briefing for Porter Goss and Jane Harman

July 13, 2004:  Porter Goss and Jane Harman

July 15, 2004:  Pat Roberts and Jello Jay

Now, it’s possible that the people trying to smear Pelosi with this are correct and CIA mentioned waterboarding in September 2002. But that’s not what the CIA says. Once you account for the fact that Jello Jay did not attend the February 4 briefing, the CIA says it first informed Democrats about waterboarding in July 2004, only after the CIA’s own Inspector General had declared the program cruel and inhuman (and note, the Senate intelligence leaders, at least, got a copy of that document in June 2004, so the CIA couldn’t very well pretend that they hadn’t been waterboarding).  

Note, too, that the CIA claims to have discussed legal issues in the July briefing with Harman and Goss, but not in the July briefing with Jello Jay and Roberts. We know this to be false

In July 2004, the CIA briefed the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee on the facts and conclusions of the Inspector General special review. The CIA indicated at that time that it was seeking OLC’s legal analysis on whether the program was consistent with the substantive provisions of Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture.

Given the way the SSCI narrative focuses on the constitutional amendments named under CAT (the 5th, 8th, and 14th), I suspect CIA was informed in no uncertain terms they would have to account for these in the briefing. If they did not record the fact, it suggests they were trying to claim deniability for that key issue (though that is speculative on my part).

 The CIA seems to have no memory of the details of the 2005 briefings (and, as WO has pointed out, seems to have been unsure who was HPSCI Chair and who was DCIA, since it claims that Porter Goss, then head of CIA, attended a March 8, 2004 2005 [ed–fixed late, sorry] hearing as HPSCI Chair). That’s rather curious as Mary McCarthy has alleged that the CIA briefers in two hearings in 2005 lied to Congress.  At least one of these briefings would have also featured the Senators asking why they fuck OLC ignored the 8th Amendment (and the CAT generally) in its December 2004 opinion. It includes briefings when Jello Jay was beginning to ask for more details on the torture program, to no avail. And, finally, it includes briefings when Congress should have been briefed about the destroyed torture tapes, but wasn’t. All of that? The CIA seems to have little memory of it. 

Then there’s the slew of Republican-only briefings in 2005, just after the Senate approved the McCain Amendment limiting torture use. As I’ve explained the most suspicious of those is the briefing of the two pro-torture Republicans holding DOD’s purse strings. 

Until, finally, in 2006, it finally gets around to briefing the full intelligence committees but not yet the full Gang of Eight, leaving off the House leadership, including Nancy Pelosi. Anyone wonder why Jane Harman got her very own briefing on September 6, 2006, the day Bush finally came clean as a tortuer? I do.

In short, in spite of what Republicans tell you (and therefore ABC prints), this is actually an utter damning chronology of CIA contempt for their obligations to inform Congress (particularly Democrats in Congress).

184 replies
  1. billinturkey says:

    February 4, 2003: Pat Roberts and a Republican and a Democratic staffer (but not Jello Jay);

    Was this during the period when a/c Rockefeller he couldn’t discuss briefings with staffers?

    • Leen says:

      Roberts sure did everything in his power to protect those in the Office of Special Plans that created and dessiminated false pre-war intelligence. That thug had his fingers in lots of cover ups for corrupt behaviour.

  2. Mary says:

    Yes there is – and it’s clear that the WH and OVP were directing that failure to fulfill briefing obligations.

    It’s also clear that Pelosi as she moved to the ranking minority position and Sheehy moved on staff with her KNEW that the WH was keeping leadership out of the loop. And she knew as Abu Ghraib came out that the WH had DOJ memos legalizing stress positions and forced nakedness etc. and did nada.

    And knowing the things she did know, SHE took impeachment off the table. I guess you find the failure of CIA to bombard her with more info that she would not do anything about is telling in a way that both implicates CIA more AND exonerates Pelosi more. I see it just as implicating the CIA more but not exonerating Pelosi.

    When did she ask for a follow up briefing on whether the techniques were used? When did she demand briefing for leadership as she moved into that slot? When Abu Grhaib broke – who did she light up – where were the demands for info and briefings, etc.? While the DTA and MCA were being passed, while Powell was making his presentations based on info from sources, etc. – she knew torture was authorized and wasn’t asking questions? And then took impeachment off the table.

    You can call it a smear to say that she “was too” briefed on the actual use of waterboarding when the record is pretty iffy on that, but I guess imo you have to have a reputation that can be smeared first, and her own actions based on what she has FINALLY, belatedly, been forced to admit do way more to smear her than anything the CIA and Republicans have cooked up.

  3. Leen says:

    On Morning Joe they were spinning Nancy knew that they considered waterboarding legal but did not say they were going to use it. Make a claim, leave it vague, up to their interpretation, the media states the claims as facts.

    Hell I keep better notes on what I do everyday than the CIA on their alleged torture briefings. Best of our “recollections”. What did that other report say about those who rewrote the torture laws “lapse of memory”…”lapse of judgement”

    If I ever end up in court for alleged crimes I will be using their lines. Trickle down

    What th

  4. klynn says:

    As I’ve explained the most suspicious of those is the briefing of the two pro-torture Republicans holding DOD’s purse strings.

    Let’s see ABC scream that point.

    Off to look at the Appropriations “emergency fundings” for the Iraq War and see if any tie to blanket purchase agreements…and two specific Republicans.

  5. klynn says:

    That Feb date seems to jive with this aspect of Appropriations… since we are in timeline mode…

    The annual appropriations cycle traditionally begins in the first week of February, when the President submits his budget request to Congress.

    (my emphasis)

    • klynn says:

      And to add to that timeline and Appropriations…The other two dates, July 13 and 15th, seem to fit into this aspect of Appropriations timeline:

      The Appropriations Subcommittees draft and introduce appropriations bills. Each bill is amended or ‘marked up’ by the Subcommittee Members, usually during May and June, and finally approved and referred to the full Appropriations Committees in June or July.

      (my emphasis)

    • klynn says:

      And a date we all know fits in between:

      On March 19, 2003, the United States and our coalition partners launched Operation Iraqi Freedom and within one month removed Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime from power.

      Here’s some interesting budget dialog.

      • klynn says:

        I agree. Just working on finding the emergency appropriations…

        So far, I have come across this general budget statement for emergency funds written by Rumsfeld and delivered on March 27th 2003.

        “It is also important that Congress approve the general provisions the President has requested in the supplemental—especially the request for increased general transfer authority (GTA). The President has requested a General Transfer Authority ceiling of 2.5% of the FY 2003 DoD budget. That figure is reasonable. Increased flexibility is needed.

        The President has requested a war supplemental of $74.7 billion. That figure is not the cost of the war; that figure is the best estimate of the money that the State Department, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense need to carry us from October 1, 2002 through the end of this fiscal year.

        The request for DoD includes, among other things:

        · $7.1 billion for the round-trip costs of transporting our forces and equipment to and from the theater of operations;

        · $13.1 billion to provide war fighters in theater with the fuel, supplies, repair parts, maintenance, and other operational support they need to prevail;

        · $15.6 billion for incremental personnel costs, such as for special pay and compensation for mobilized reservists;

        · $7.2 billion to start reconstituting our forces by replacing the cruise missiles, smart bombs, and other key munitions being expended in the course of the conflict.

        · $12 billion for stability operations, military operations to root out terrorist networks and deal with any remaining pockets of resistance, humanitarian assistance, and operations to search for and destroy Iraqi WMD.

        · $1.5 billion for coalition support in the global war on terror—including $1.3 billion for reimbursement to Pakistan and other key cooperating nations assisting the effort in Afghanistan, and $165 million for training of the Afghan National Army.

        · And $6.1 billion for other requirements outlined in the request to support military operations in Iraq and the global war on terror.”

        There is much more to dig through…

  6. Mary says:

    OT but related

    In response to some conversation in comments in earlier threads with skdadl re: the obdurate positions on Arar, I had linked to a legal times story that included a reference to holder getting hit by Alexander and Shelby with questions about Clinton renditions and his role. Huffpo has a piece up on that too, with some footage of Alexander questioning Holder that was on Olberman.

    Also, Fox’s legal analyst, Judge Napolitano, comes out on Fox forum with the analysis that the memos authorized torture and ends with this:

    The memos place Attorney General Holder, who argued for their release, in an untenable situation. He has stated under oath, at his confirmation hearings, that waterboarding is torture and torture is prohibited by numerous federal laws. He has also taken an oath to uphold all federal laws, not just those that are politically expedient from time to time. He is correct and he must do his moral and legal duty to reject any Nuremberg defense. This is not rocket science and it is not art. Everyone knows torture when they see it; and no amount of twisted logic can detract from its illegal horror, its moral antipathy, and its attack at core American values.

    emph added

    It’s too bad that the Democrats in Congress don’t have the insight and integrity of a FREAKIN FOX NEWS ANALYST, but what the hay.

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with self interest.

    • skdadl says:

      Sheesh. Isn’t Alexander walking on the edge of some law there? I am NAL, but that sure sounds like blackmail to me.

      • Mary says:

        Politics is all about the blackmail, though. Pelosi takes impeachment off the table to avoid investigations that would be uncomfy for her; Alexander and Shelby make it clear that if there are going to be rendition investigations, they will make sure the investigations are also uncomfy for the Dems. If Alexander was a prosecutor (like, oh, say, Holder is) and he came out with a public statement that Holder didn’t have to worry about investigations even if he broke the law, as long as moving forward he’s a tame pup (kind of like Holder did with the CIA) then you might have a problem.

        It’s really just a public acknowledgement of where the ball has been for the last several years. This is all stuff everyone who thought about it casually has known for a long time and it gives the context to Dems being craptastic the last 6 years and Obama being craptastic ever since he showed up with “change” and put the wife of the man who started up the extraordinary renditions to torture and execution into the top slot at State. That kind of tipped the hand that there weren’t going to be real investigations under The Changeling.

        • pmorlan says:

          After Alexander made his comments about rendition and investigating Congress he said something about where is this investigation going to end and if we investigate the lawyers wouldn’t we have to investigate those who asked for the memos, etc. He then said that he agreed with Obama that it was better to look forward not backward. In response Holder made this comment.

          “I would note that The OPR inquiry was begun in the prior administration and also note, I’m a prosecutor and I’ve been a career prosecutor and I hope a good one. A good prosecutor uses the discretion that he or she has in an appropriate way and has the ability to know how far an inquiry needs to go to satisfy the obligation that that prosecutor has without needlessly dragging into an investigation, at great expense both personal and professional, people who should not be there and that would be the kind of judgment that I hope I would bring to making the determinations that you expressed concern about.”

          It sounded to me like he was trying to reassure Alexander not to worry that he could finesse the calls for investigation by using “prosecutorial discretion.”

          • Mary says:

            And he can. Not only that, he’s got Obama pretty much tellling him to do that very thing, by Obama also coming out and saying who it is we won’t be prosecuting. It’s a horrible abuse of their offices IMO and if Obama wants to let a torturer walk, he needs to give them a pardon and have that on his legacy, not just conspire with Holder to block prosecutions.

            If Holder had any middling desire to do the right thing, he’d be in a perfect slot to appoint an outside special counsel and maybe even put new regs into place for that counsel giving more power. He could point to the fact that there have been lots of allegations of misconduct and the fact that Kyle (R-Coverup) took the ability of the DOJ IG to investigate out of last year’s legislation and that Alexander (R-Morecoverup)and Shelby (R-Moremorecoverup) have raise the conflict of interest that he might have given the possiblity that investigations of renditions might go back to the Clinton admin where he was DAG, so really those actions and allegations leave no avenue but to have an outside Special Prosecutor.

            He’d be able to get someone in and leave it in the Republicans lap – that they prevented legislation giving the IG the investigation right and they raised the issue of Holder not being able to handle the investigations without conflict – so here ya go.

            • pmorlan says:

              Yeah, he could do that but it sure doesn’t look like he’s going to do that. I guess we will know for sure when he comments about the OPR report that has had practically every Bush official in town’s fingerprints on it before it was even released. If he accepts that watered down report as a legitimate report then we know that he will do everything in his power to impede a real investigation.

        • DWBartoo says:

          Isn’t it interesting that the only folks who actually can do much of anything, to ‘change’ things under our ’system’ or ‘form’ of governance, choose, (loud noise and hyperbolic hoopla to the contrary) almost invariably, to do nothing?

          One might come to suspect that essentially ‘doing nothing’ is always in the best interest of Congress, especially when such ‘action’ is premised on working very hard at ‘knowing nothing’.

          Hmm… out of sheer perversity, let us consider who is ‘in charge’ of such (mundane) things as campaign ‘finance reform’, of getting ‘big money’ and its ‘influence’ out of politics? Of, possibly, changing some of the very accurate scenario you have so well-laid out for us, Mary?

          Why, bless all exploding frogs!!!, it is these same, scrupulously informed, hard-working, courageous, honest and responsible folkses … you know, the earnest souls who want to become politicians so they can help others and do good in the world, rather than selfishly seeking to set up lifetime sinecures for themselves and their spouses or lobbying for brass rings and posturing to enrich themselves most fabulously on the other side of the ‘revolving door’.

          ‘Change’ you can deceive with.

          Well, it works for ‘them’ and looks to be our ‘future’.

        • acquarius74 says:

          Mary, sorta O/T but definitely bearing on all this mess: Here’s a link to an article which references a 2003 executive order which governs all (every smidgin!!) of material of any type about GITMO. The article gives link to a federal court order /s/ 11/08/2004 by Judge Joyce Hens Green, US District Court (DC). On 09/15/2004 she was appointed coordinating judge for all GITMO cases. The disturbing thing in that court order is that all stored GITMO material of whatever kind (lists every thing under the sun) is to be destroyed upon completion of the cases.

          IANAL, so please interpret this court order for us, Mary. Why would a court order such a thing? Looks like Bush/Cheney are trying to eventually erase GITMO from history, therefore allowing their Legacy of Lies to stand.

          • Nell says:

            bmaz commented on this in another thread. Short answer: the process contains the opportunity for appeal from defense attorneys, who will object to any destruction of records.

            • acquarius74 says:

              Thanks, Nell. I didn’t catch bmaz’ comment. I read several versions of the article at different sites and studied up on Judge Green (appointed 1979 to fed bench by pres. Carter). Her other rulings seem very fair and just; I just don’t make any sense of this one. The defense attorneys are trying to get that executive order repealed.

              Was bmaz statement in a diary or a comment? How far back in time was that? I’d like to read it.

                • acquarius74 says:

                  Thanks, Nell and fatster. Going there now. This has really been a burr under my saddle; hope bmaz “fixes” it for me.

                • acquarius74 says:

                  Read bmaz’s answer….I still want that EO repealed and those ridiculous restrictions binding defense attorneys from more reasonable access to any and all evidence that would have bearing on their client’s case.

                  Obama hasn’t (per articles) taken any action on this as of yet.

          • fatster says:

            See Comments # 64 and 65 on bmaz’ article “Interrogation and Response” of May 7–just a couple of pages back.

            • acquarius74 says:

              Thanks for your search, fatster, and for asking my question back on that thread. It still does not sit right with me. (see my 89).

  7. Mary says:

    Also OT, but related – whether is an official record or not, I have a hard time believing that someone like Lewis didn’t have any idea of what was going on.

  8. DWBartoo says:

    The CIA is one of America’s most sacred cows.

    It is allowed to wander, unhindered, where it will, munching at whatever catches its fancy, and any droppings are either ignored or regarded as holy relics …

    All the bovinity need do is wrinkle its noble brow and “National Security” and utter (or udder, if you prefer) secrecy is invoked.

    Any who would dare question such a state of affairs are immediately suspect and accused of treasonable intent.

    Oddly, this results in everybody looking the other way, very studiously, whenever they think a certain sacred entity might be about.

    Fortunately, because we live in a democracy, none of this matters.

    Unless we want reason and rational behavior to be the norm.

    Which leads us all to the need of a discussion about whether we wish to have a mature and civil society … or not.

    Without such a discussion, and ‘torture’ could well-serve as a ‘good’ reason to engage in such discussion, the answer will present itself.

  9. radiofreewill says:

    If Our Dems can say they weren’t briefed that Waterboarding had happened, or was going to happen, until the CIA IG Report, then this CIA Briefings Report might just miss the Pelosi Quail and hit the Goopers.

    • DWBartoo says:

      “I know nothing. And I can prove it!”

      (Sergeant Schultz, now a member of the Reichstag, on showing why he should not be held accountable. For anything. Proving that doing nothing, combined with knowing nothing, is always a winning strategy, and the more one does not know, or care to know, the more ‘winning’ the strategy.)

      One could be in power for a thousand years.

      Ain’t that the right thing to say?

    • pmorlan says:

      From the letter sent by Dennis Blair to Hoekstra:

      The result of this effort is enclosed. It provides
      a straightforward account of the extent of interaction with the Congress on this issue.

  10. WilliamOckham says:

    I hate to keep harping on this, but you have a typo:

    attended a March 8, 2004 hearing as HPSCI Chair

    Should be:

    attended a March 8, 2005 hearing as HPSCI Chair

  11. fatster says:

    Torture details may be forthcoming from the UK:

    Lawyers welcome torture details disclosure
    2:17pm Friday 8th May 2009

    “Lawyers for former terror detainee Binyam Mohamed today welcomed a decision by two High Court judges to reopen their judgment on his case with a view to disclosing details of his alleged torture at the hands of US and Pakistani intelligence services with the collusion of British agents.”…..isclosure/

    I feel certain these Horton & Greenwald articles have already been linked, but didn’t see them during a bleary-eyed cursory review here this am. Apologies if dupes.

    Pelosi and the Torture Briefings
    By Scott Horton
    May 8…..c-90004933

    Glenn Greenwald
    FRIDAY MAY 8, 2009 09:48 EDT
    The NYT’s definition of blinding American exceptionalism

    “But what’s the point of all of this?  Secretly telling Nancy Pelosi that you’re committing crimes doesn’t mean that you have the right to do so.”…..8/torture/

  12. perris says:

    The real story is that the CIA was playing a bunch of games to be able to claim it had informed Congress, even while only informing some of Congress some things.

    which is what we all knew, what pelosi claims and I believe her

  13. milly says:

    It has been several years since pictures from Abu Ghrab came out. Remember when Sy Hersch was reporting that congress saw the pictures?

    Many of them just could not look at them ..they were so horrific? So the US and congress has known for years. The picture of the hooded man being electrocuted was on a billboard in Cuba…Fascanistas was written in large black letters.

    Investigations have been stalled and stoppped repeatedly . No one wants to admit we have been under a fascist dictatorship for 8 years. Cleansing of Iraquis and the aftermath of Katrina was genocide. Remember the trucks being stopped on the highway with food and water? Armed military turning the poor people back INTO New Orleans.

    • TarheelDem says:

      Exactly, for any dates after the pictures were shown to members of Congress, any briefing memos matter only if they told Congress they had not stopped using “enhanced interrogation techniques” when they were in fact continuing to torture.

  14. Mary says:

    Not that it’s important to anyone but me, but I’m going to link back to my comment in the earlier thread bc I really do think if you want to look at how we are being played by the CIA (and we are) and the Republicans (and we are) you need to also look at how we are being played by Pelosi.

    She’s using overobsession with the bright shiney of something that might not have been on her plate to distract away from any real discussion and examination of the things that are unquestionably on her plate.

    Which follow up questions on her about her conduct on a plethora of issues change if she was *only* told that the President had the legal right to torture (including things like slamming heads into walls, hypothermia, palestinian hangings with forced nudity, confinement coffins with insects, and waterboarding etc.) vs being told that he had actually waterboarded Zubaydah?

    No one is asking all the follow up and hard questions to her bc they are all focused on the issue of whether there is an argument over who is fibbing about being told that the waterboarding just could legally occur anytime to anyone vs. being told that it had already occured to Zubaydah.

    • pmorlan says:

      Yup. The Village is once again trying to play divide and conquer by setting this up as a “political issue” to distract us from the real issue.

    • phred says:

      Mary, I agree with you entirely on the matter of Dem complicity in all manner of BushCo illegal behavior. That said, I am thoroughly enjoying the finger-pointing panic that seems to be underway here. One doesn’t need to absolve Pelosi (or Harman) of anything, by pointing out the b.s. coming from the CIA (and Goss).

      It seems to me the more each faction tries to blame another faction the more it underscores the need for an independent Special Prosecutor. In fact, if implicating Dems (even retired ones like Bill) would help bring Republicans on board with the whole process, then I am all for it. The more the merrier.

      The last thing we need is some superficial attempt to pin-the-tail on the lawyers. We need to thoroughly investigate everyone involved, from Bush all the way down to the S.O.B.s who inflicted this on prisoners. I have a smidgeon of sympathy for the enlisted grunts in the military who might not have had much if any choice in the matter, but when it comes to CIA and contractors — those folks have the latitude to quit. If my boss asked me to commit a crime or lose my job, that’s a no brainer. So if I have enough sense to know when to quit, then why didn’t the folks at CIA or their dirty little contract shops? Yet another in a long line of rhetorical questions, but this horseshit of not prosecuting those within the “4 corners” of the memos is an insult to our intelligence.

      • TheraP says:

        As I understand it, one of the things from the Nazi war crimes trials, that was not allowed as exculpatory was the allegation: “Others (in the past) did it too.” This, from someone who witnessed Nuremberg:

        The Rule of Law should be all encompassing. The rules need to be
        enforced by international tribunals with no exceptions, as was the case at
        Nuremberg. This was, indeed, what made Nuremberg so historically
        important because this approach had never been followed before. It is why
        Nuremberg remains inspirational today, in spite of gaps in prosecuting
        crimes against humanity.

        Nuremberg marked, indeed, the birth of the concept that all
        individuals have certain inalienable human rights which transcend the
        boundaries of nation-states.

        In the war crimes area, Nuremberg punished those surviving top Nazi
        leaders whose policies and actions were responsible for the commission of
        war crimes against civilians and prisoners of war.

        The Nuremberg
        principles have been firmly enshrined in our military field manuals and the
        Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). However, by violating the
        Geneva Convention in its treatment of captured combatants through
        torture and indefinite detention without trial, the United States is
        committing the same crimes as the rogue nations we oppose.

        Nuremberg marked a
        revolution, stripping officials of their absolute impunity and holding them
        individually accountable for their policies and acts.

        The Nuremberg judgment laid the groundwork for
        the concept that some crimes, particularly crimes against humanity, were
        so egregious that the accused could be tried anywhere without any
        jurisdictional connection between the trial court and the situs of the crime,
        because they were crimes against all humanity.
        Nuremburg was an American invention, and Supreme Court Justice
        Robert Jackson, who created the vision of Nuremberg, has stated: “To pass
        these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.”

        What he meant was that the United States and the other allies who sought
        justice at Nuremberg were going to have to abide by the Nuremberg
        principles in the years that followed.”

        The problem, basically, is that the government of the United States
        does not want to submit itself to the same rules that are applied to other
        countries, and it has convinced the American people that this is the only
        way to keep them secure.

        For the remarkably low price of making our leaders live up to
        American values and commit to the international standards we helped
        create, the U.S. could lead the world in agreeing to new playing rules,
        which could effectively counter genocide, terrorism, and the threat of
        rogue states.

        In addressing you here today, I have spoken to you as an institutional
        memory of Nuremberg and as a citizen of the world.
        I believe profoundly
        that Robert Jackson’s vision at Nuremberg is as timely today as it was
        then. We need to move forward with a deep sense of urgency in bringing
        Jackson’s vision to reality in today’s world—not only for ourselves, but
        for future generations. I am confident that we can do so if we will it into
        our future.

        I can’t find an exact quote re “others did it too, so you can’t blame bushco” but this speech is so clear, I though it would be a good resource for rebuttals.

        I am counting on international pressure here – in addition to the efforts of so many within the US.

        • klynn says:

          You might be interested in reading this book review as well as the book. There are a few narratives we keep hearing over and and over. EW’s timeline is putting the pressure on one of these narratives. One of the other narratives, Condi promoted again with the students at Stanford was the, “You do not know what it was like after 911,” narrative.

          I have a concern that legal squeezing will be attempted with the “ticking time bomb,” defense to oppose Nuremberg. The irony.

          Cheney replays that narrative quite a bit too.

          • TheraP says:

            Thank you for that! What a title! Exporting Torture. They might have called it – Becoming what destroyed you!

          • DWBartoo says:

            The “ticking time bomb” and “your kidnapped child … whom the kidnappers have said they will kill” scenario (which appeared among letters in the Grey lady, today), will be repeated, ad nauseum, (and probably successfully) unless there is genuine, concerted effort, nationally and internationally, to show these fundamentally fallacious excuses for what they are; pathetic appeals to unthinking, jingoistic emotionalism and our collective, lesser angels.

            America can, still yet, pull back from going in a direction which will yield only greater violence and a further perversion of our already shaky sense of humanity.

            The people of Germany were afforded a similar opportunity of self-assessment after WWI. The majority chose not to avail themselves of the opportunity.

            It is a virtual certainty, should we, as a society, not take advantage of OUR ‘opportunity’, that we shall come to regret it.

            We shall soon learn if our social psychology is healthy or pathological.

            This is a biggie. By our choices in the near term, we shall be known for all time. “Exceptionalism” be damned, we are not different from any other society which has ever existed, as regards consequence, in spite of what we claim we ‘believe’ …

        • tjbs says:

          Treason is never a mistake but it’s always a mistake not to call it torture treason.

          Call for an International War Crimes Tribunal to each and every congress critter every day.

          bush and mansion cell/soul mates .

          If it was good enough for the Nazis it’s more than a full and fair procedure enough for these cretins and their quislings.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, first of all you’re assuming they gave her all those details–the CIA has not claimed they did, so I don’t know why you’d assume it.

      Yes, they told her they had legal authority to torture. Yes, she had the ability under speech and debate to go to the floor of the House and reveal this. Yes, she should have kept impeachment on the table–particularly this last, I agree with. (Though I’m also sympathetic to the argument that 1) the people who would have needed to make this happen were unable to do it, and 2) if you try to impeach for torture and don’t you’re in much worse shape).

      But your stance, frankly, pretty much plays inot the hands of hte Republicans trying to use precisely your attitude to make it less likely they’ll investigate torture.

      • Mary says:

        No – I am not assuming she was or wasn’t told about waterboarding and I never say that. That’s the whole point of the post I linked – that it is kind of a silly point to dwell on that aspect. I’m saying the whole discussion as gone to that narrow item – did Pelosi know about application of waterboarding – and that distracts from all the broader discussion that we should be having.

        The things I have said are all the things that you admit are correct – she was told the President claimed he could legally torture and with that knowledge she was presented over and over with situations where she should have or could have put that knowledge to some kind of use. So did others. And the discussion should be about all those situations and the Failure to put that knowledge to use.

        So you take something I never have said (that I’m assuming she was told about waterboarding being applied to someone – which I’m not) and then the things that I actually have said (”Yes, they told her they had legal authority to torture. Yes, she had the ability under speech and debate to go to the floor of the House and reveal this”) to conclude:

        But your stance, frankly, pretty much plays inot the hands of hte Republicans trying to use precisely your attitude to make it less likely they’ll investigate torture.

        I call bull on that. Spending a load of time, energy, effort etc. on the issue of whether or not Pelosi got briefed in Sept 2002 on the President being able to legally torture v. the President actually engaging in torture does not somehow make it “more likely” that all the other questions that aren’t being asked will get asked. And my saying that all those other questions should start being asked, with less obsession over “protecting” Nancy, does not make it “less likely” that torture will be investigated.

  15. Mary says:

    From a different approach – Pelosi’s “I did not get briefed on the actual application of waterboarding to Zubaydah” is IMO a lot like this approach by the military to the recent Afghan bombings and death.

    “We didn’t kill 147 civilians” gets the discussion and argument over the exact number and ends up diverting the discussion from the WTH were you doing bombing civilians and it makes something like 30 or 40 become a small, reasonable number bc of the “exaggerated” versions of 147, as opposed to 30 or 40 being a shocking revelation. Pelosi has diverted the shock of her having been briefed on the Presidential claim of right to torture and torture techniques just like those that appeared in the Abu Ghraib pics and doing nothing and taking impeachment off the table with that knowledge and replaced it with arguments over how it makes her a Madonna if she didn’t get the specific briefing on the specific waterboarding of Zubaydah.

    IMO – it’s like my lack of Comey love, I’m just going to have to learn I see the world in a different way and figure out when to quit beating dead horses.

    • acquarius74 says:

      You can’t physically see us, Mary, but there’s a pack of hounds behind you that like your different way of seeing the world. Don’t give an inch!

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Mary, you’ve won me over. Pelosi’s position that she was never actually TOLD that waterboarding had occurred, but sat on her hands while told the EIT were not “torture” is insufficient to clear her of some culpability over the torture. Malfeasance of office. Of course, the sacred cow aspect of the CIA, as noted in another comment, and perhaps fear, or even a numbing of responsiveness to the evils done in the name of the red, white and blue, all contributed to her inaction. Now she is trying to point us in the right direction (follow the money, the appropriations trail, as EW is tracking), but it’s too little, too late.

      Pelosi didn’t KNOW that the torture would actually occur. That’s not too different from Bush saying “we don’t torture,” and that was his good faith opinion, because his attorneys told him so.

      But Bush is far, far dirtier than Pelosi, because unlike her, he was one of the plotters, had set up the game and was being totally disingenuous.

      The CIA gave just enough of a briefing to paralyze their subjects (who would go public, really, without clear evidence of what was done?), but by the time of Abu Ghraib, the jig was up, and Pelosi, Harman, Rockefeller etc. were ensnared in their own culpability, partly engineered by the CIA, partly their own weakness, partly the circumstance of a bankrupt political system that allowed torture to occur under other administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and when caught out, nothing happened. (The Phoenix Program was begun under Lyndon Johnson. MKULTRA operated under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.)

      It’s time for a national reckoning. The genie is out of the bottle. The Republicans and the Democrats, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI (yes, top FBI officials rubbed shoulders and sat on the boards of companies with the partners of Mitchell and Jessen, and STILL DO), the Intel establishment, the press, Special Forces, and on and on. Because torture is like a universal acid, destroying the body politic, and eating away at everything that is normal and good. It was not, in the end, and even if the torture was used to get info for the war, it was not the illegal drive for the Iraq War that brought the torture, it was a generation or two of uncontrolled and unaccountable torture that helped produce the men and women who would drive mass murder and war, institute new torture programs, and also produced a mass of supine and morally insensitive enabling politicians, who are even now struggling to hold onto their power and position.

      The Republicans are licking their chops over the demise of Pelosi, but the backfire they are setting will shift back upon them with a vengeance. My position is, take care of Pelosi and Democratic complicity in good time. Make it clear they are part of the investigation, and then set up an extraordinary commission, with prosecutorial powers, something like the Nuremburg, but not military. This crisis is a challenge to the entire society, and it will take great effort to extirpate the corruption that has taken place.

      In essence, we are facing a recrudescence of the rot of the Cold War that was never cleaned out. The next step is societal gangrene.

      • klynn says:

        The CIA gave just enough of a briefing to paralyze their subjects (who would go public, really, without clear evidence of what was done?), but by the time of Abu Ghraib, the jig was up, and Pelosi, Harman, Rockefeller etc. were ensnared in their own culpability, partly engineered by the CIA, partly their own weakness, partly the circumstance of a bankrupt political system that allowed torture to occur under other administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and when caught out, nothing happened. (The Phoenix Program was begun under Lyndon Johnson. MKULTRA operated under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.)

        Operation 40 comes to mind, especially with Porter Goss in charge.

        • Jeff Kaye says:

          Goss certainly knows how this kind of operation is run. He is so deep in the Agency, I wouldn’t believe anything said by or about him. To have him briefed on CIA doings is like having Jeffrey Dahmer briefed on the evils of cannibalism.

          • TheraP says:

            And Jeffrey Dahmer knew there was something terribly wrong with his behavior. He was relieved to get caught!

      • TheraP says:

        Here’s an example of Mary’s reasoning that would apply to me in my profession:

        I am obliged to report child abuse. Even if someone is just telling me methods they could use to abuse their children. I don’t need them to say they are doing it. But if they’re thinking about it (to the point of actually having a series of steps in mind), I would phone Social Services and tell them what I’ve learned. And then, it’s up to them to investigate. But it’s not my job to sit on such information!

        My, god! How could you have people thinking out a process of abusing/torturing and not report it?

        • Loo Hoo. says:

          But how much could she say and to whom? Was she under some super oath not to breathe a word of it or there would be some horrible consequence? Was she threatened?

          We need a complete investigation.

          • TheraP says:

            I totally agree. To what degree did spying on everyone lead to blackmailing or many?

            We need to provide avenues for whistle-blowing. International ones, if necessary.

            I’d like to repeat again: Emptywheel deserves a MacArthur Fellowship! That would both endorse and allow her important role.

      • emptywheel says:


        Great comment, thanks. I think that really sums it up really well.

        One thing to remember is that whatever one thinks about Pelosi, Steny is worse and so is anyone even remotely close to being able to win a top leadership position.

        So what’s the end game here? Is it better to play precisely into the game the Republicans are playing–to buy off on the bigger Pelosi lie? or is better to use the least worst person to investigate this (which is, of course, what the Republicans are trying to stop with their lies).

    • skdadl says:

      Mary, if I can just join the chorus … I really appreciate your keeping me honest. At least a year ago, your posts drove me one day to lecture self about who I was standing with and for — in my case, Arar and so many like him in one way or another — in spite of sentimental temptations to take it easy on some of the semi-good guys.

      That was such a good jolt for me, and has become the way I stay grounded. The choice turned out to be much easier than I’d expected. Thanks always.

  16. pmorlan says:

    I actually believe that their move to go after Pelosi will in fact help us get an investigation. If the Republican rank and file think that the Dems are at risk they might just be persuaded to start calling for an investigation too, much to the chagrin of the beltway Republicans. I agree with Mary that because the Clinton administration’s rendition cases have been brought up that Holder needs to be pressed to appoint a Special Counsel to eliminate even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Let’s get it out of his hands so that he can’t use prosecutorial discretion to help Obama bury this investigation.

    • perris says:

      actually believe that their move to go after Pelosi will in fact help us get an investigation

      that would be brilliant and if pelosi really feels innocent and really wants investigations opened that would be quite the move on her part if she would welcome the investigation

      *crosses fingers*

  17. radiofreewill says:

    Mary, I agree with everything you’re saying, and hope that We can follow-up with proper investigations to sort it all out.

    But first, I think the ripple rolling over the amber waves of grain towards Washington is what EW said – the revelation that Bush Waterboarded – on his own – without telling Congress or the Courts.

    In fact, Bush Waterboarded on the strength of Bybee One (secretly re-interpreting the GCs so Bush could ’say’ he was in compliance with Geneva) and Bybee Two (Torture by the Statutory Definitions of Torture).

    He Tortured on his own, with the complicity of Cheney/Addington/Gonzales/Bybee/Yoo/Rumsfeld/Haynes/Rizzo and others – who kept it Secret from Congress, and Un-Tested in Court.

    So, in a way, the kerfuffle over Pelosi is a BSO distracting away from the 800lb Gorilla holding the Member Briefings Report – Bush Waterboarded on his own.

    After he Waterboarded is when Bush wanted to ‘dirty-in’ the Congress – by hook or by crook – and Avoid the Courts – because he was Already Guilty of War Crimes. Everything Bush and Cheney say on the Matter of Torture now, imvho, is Tainted.

    So, I do hope that We get back to the ethics of all this, but I agree with EW – Bush was Waterboarding on his own, and with what we know about the Deception of the OLC Memos, that makes this Member Briefings Report practically a smoking gun.

    I think the Torture Dam might break on Bush and Cheney over the implications of this Report.

  18. Sand says:

    So, by piling on Pelosi is the aim to get Hoyer to be speaker? Do you think he has any more of a conscience? Grief — Pelosi is just the tip of the iceberg — you think she was working alone?

    • bobschacht says:

      This unfortunately is true. However, accountability is not just for Republicans. It must also apply to Democrats.

      Actually, your Steny Hoyer nightmare has one blessing: At least its not Rahm Emmanuel that he’s fighting for the job.

      Bob in HI

  19. Citizen92 says:

    Coming to this conversation late, and probably OT. Appropriations, hmm. Committee Chair Jerry Lewis was ensnared in a considerable amount irregularities with lobbyists (Bill Lowrey, Letita White, Alcalde-Fay) from 2001 to 2006, but the investigations went nowhere.

    Lewis also had an active duty Lt. Col. from the USMC on his personal staff, Carl Kime, on his personal staff who handled all appropriations. Trouble is, that was against the rules.

    Did Lewis or his staff have any key role in this mess?

    • Citizen92 says:

      Col. Kime apparently now works for DARPA.

      And both Kime and Lewis did something that DARPA appreciated, because they were both awarded “Challenge Coins” (#659 and #660) by the agency in 2006.

    • Nell says:

      further OT, but we’re never going to have accountability of Congress to constituents until the secrecy ends:

      Lewis also had an active duty Lt. Col. from the USMC on his personal staff, Carl Kime, on his personal staff who handled all appropriations. Trouble is, that was against the rules.

      Did Lewis or his staff have any key role in this mess?

      There are mostly crickets every time I raise this subject, even where it’s less OT. But I’m not going to let it go. There is no good reason why members of Congress are not required to post the names of their staff and their positions on their websites, and double ditto for the committees.

      A third of them go on to work for lobbies. Some of them are “ex-CIA”. Some are active-duty military, in defiance of the rules. Some are the children of major donors. Some are informers for AIPAC. Quite a few later run for office. Some are admirably down-to-earth, open to grassroots organizations, and helpful to constituents focused on a particular issue.

      This has to be part of the program of progressive reform that goes beyond electing “better Democrats”. Long-term Hill staffers have as much or more influence as lobbyists.

  20. fatster says:


    Docs Show Rockefeller Was Briefed In 2003 On “How The Water Board Was Used”
    By Zachary Roth – May 8, 2009, 12:31PM

    “The hot story of the morning is the release of CIA documents appearing to show that Nancy Pelosi was briefed on “enhanced interrogation techniques” in September 2002. Things have already descended into a he-said she-said debate — literally — over exactly what Pelosi was told, and whether the new information contradicts what she’d said in the past.”


    More up at the main page at tpm

    • phred says:

      Yeah, but if you look at the 2003 briefing that explicitly mentions “how the water board was used” you will also see that there is an * by Rockefeller’s name. The * goes on to say “Later individual briefing to Rockefeller”. The document never mentions when that later briefing took place or what was briefed. Pretty handy bit of sleight of hand there, eh?

        • phred says:

          Thanks fatster, that’s awfully nice of you to say : ) Just trying to do my bit to help out while EW is off hobnobbing with family…

    • phred says:

      fatster do you have an account at TPM? If so, would you please point Roth to EW’s posts this morning? It appears that Roth is being spun like an MSM hack. It is painful to witness. By July 2004 Rockefeller was pressing for an opinion on how the torture memos comported with the 5th, 8th, and 14th amendments as EW wrote about last week. There are so many holes in this pitiful briefings list (that the CIA won’t say is actually accurate) that to treat it seriously is a joke. This is simply another round being fired off by the CIA in the direction of Congressional Dems in a desperate hope they won’t be prosecuted. No one should be taking anything seriously that is coming from the CIA, BushCo, or for that matter the complicit Dems. But this briefings list says a lot more about what the CIA was doing, and what they were telling key Republicans, than what they told Dems.

      • fatster says:

        I don’t think I have an account over there, but I sort of bumble around on the internet (as I’m sure you’ve noticed), so I’ll go see if I have managed to have an account over there. If so, I’ll post what you asked.

        • phred says:

          Thanks! I don’t want to set up an account myself, I spend too much time chattering away on-line as it is, best if I keep my comments confined ; )

          By the way, you may be many things, but bumbling isn’t one ; )

          • fatster says:

            I’m sure a fool for flattery, though! Thnx.

            I tried to get in there and copy your remarks to Roth, but apparently haven’t an account over there. I did find something interesting on my way back over here, though. See below.

    • emptywheel says:

      Right. And apparently, they haven’t read the SSCI narrative-the one that Pat Roberts doesn’t seem to be objecting to, and the one that CIA agreed to declassify.

  21. fatster says:


    A secret e-mail argument among psychologists about torture

    Private messages reveal a dispute at the highest levels about the proper role of psychologists in interrogation, and whether cooperating with the Bush administration was unethical.

    By Sheri Fink

    “In response, the Department of Defense changed its guidance to state that psychologists, but no longer psychiatrists, should participate in so-called Behavioral Science Consultation Teams or “BSCTs” (pronounced “biscuits”), which assist interrogators in prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”….._listserv/

    • TheraP says:

      This is breaking wide open! I don’t think this is stoppable now. It’s got a life of its own. Instead of all roads leading to Rome … we’ve got a situation where no matter where you start from Rome, you find all roads leading to crime!

    • klynn says:

      Those emails come with a warning to readers from me: do not read on a full stomach.

      Thanks for the link fatster. It seems when the APA reaffirmed their professional conduct statement on torture, it was cya time.

      • fatster says:

        Thanks for the warning. I could barely read the article. Haven’t mustered up the courage/stomach to read the emails yet. Enormous admiration to those who slog on (EW, Mary, bmaz and the many others of you, klynn and TheraP) to get at the truth so that we may someday be free of such hideous, depraved assaults on our very nature.

    • perris says:

      wow, this story keeps growing, cheney’s torture tour is going to have to go into overdrive

    • maryo2 says:

      Just for timeline reference,

      February 2005 – the American Psychological Association (APA) questioned the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) about the ethics code.

      “The Task Force addressed the argument that when psychologists act in certain roles outside traditional health-service provider relationships, for example as consultants to interrogations, they are not acting in a professional capacity as psychologists and are therefore not bound by the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (hereinafter the Ethics Code).”

      June 2005 – APA Report in response to this bullshit

  22. fatster says:

    O/T, or back to the banks and that “stress test” I’ve been most skeptical about.
    Note that some banks “managed to wrest concessions”. Boy howdy, am I surprised!

    Major Banks Negotiate, Spin, Chafe at Stress-Test Results

    By David Cho, Tomoeh Murakami Tse and Brady Dennis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, May 8, 2009

    “Some major banks managed to wrest concessions from the government in closed-door negotiations over their “stress tests” that helped them put the best face on their results, financial analysts, industry officials and sources said.”…

  23. freepatriot says:

    this is linda topically related, and it ties into the post bmaz did a few days back about the death of newspapers

    herE’s why newspapers are DYING


    why does the NY Times think we’re stupid ???

    do they not know that we can see a double standard when we see it

    Eugene Robinson is a decent man and an honest journalist

    but as long as this shit continues, a million Eugene Robinson’s ain’t gonna save the newspaper industry


    so we got some CIA guys who ADMIT they briefed Congresscrittes about torture ???

    congresscritters got constitutional imunity for acts of congress

    CIA guy, on the other hand, AIN’T GOT ANY IMMUNITY

    so we got some CIA guys who admit to conspiring to violate the Laws of The United States ???

    that’s the story here

    an open admission by the CIA that the CIA was involved in a conspiricy to commit TORTURE

    so let’s get the notes from those briefings

    and the NAMES OF THE BRIEFERS too

    they are the ones who just confessed to crimes against humanity

    • bobschacht says:

      This morning I was noticing again that the New York Times has an hour on MSNBC. That is a great move for them. It’s about time that the NYT re-frame itself not as a newspaper, but as a multi-media news resource. It doesn’t need to finance its own news channel– although it could– but it can develop partnerships in other media organizations that do not depend on dead trees. WaPo, Boston Globe, LA Times, take note (they’re probably moving in that direction, too).

      Bob in HI

      • freepatriot says:

        New York Times has an hour on MSNBC

        saw that (well,saw some of it, heard all of it)

        not really impressed with the content though

        I was waiting for the guy to report the NY Times hypocrisy about the use of the word “torture”, then I realized it was a NY Times hack speaking

        I don’t watch msnbc an chicken noodle network in the morning to learn anything. I just want to see what shit they use to avoid talking about the real news

  24. klynn says:

    This is a biggie. By our choices in the near term, we shall be known for all time. “Exceptionalism” be damned, we are not different from any other society which has ever existed, as regards consequence, in spite of what we claim we ‘believe’ …

    Yes. And, well written.

    (You might appreciate the link at 40.)

    • DWBartoo says:

      Link appreciated, klynn, (as well as as all of your other ‘inputs’ as a charter member of the Wheelhouse Gang).

      The work being done by all, here at EW’s place, puts to shame the media AND the investigative ‘efforts’ (at least those so far “publicized”) made by the well-financed departments of the government itself.

      That others have finally recognized this reality and have begun to value such work as a fundamental ’source’ is fitting and proper (and about time!).


  25. radiofreewill says:

    It may take all weekend, but, imvho, the only way the Bush Statue can go is down.

    • freepatriot says:

      It may take all weekend,

      it might take all month

      I don’t think the debate about george is gonna last much after May 28, 2009

      June of 2009 is gonna be SOME FUN though

      it’s gonna be like an old timey, feel good song

      If ya tortured an ya know it tell a lie

      If ya tortured an ya know it tell a lie

      If ya tortured an ya know then your lies will surely show it

      If ya tortured an ya know it tell a lie

      and I WILL be callin people shirley …

  26. ThingsComeUndone says:

    The real story is that the CIA was playing a bunch of games to be able to claim it had informed Congress, even while only informing some of Congress some things.

    For a bunch of Spies the CIA sure tell some Obviously Bad lies. They act like nobody will call them on Whatever they say.
    Sure Judy Miller and the MSM won’t but EW will and thats why people read blogs to get the News the MSM won’t cover.
    Score 1 for EW, 0 CIA, plus if there were any Justice in the world the CIA would get a penalty for being Stupid!
    Amateurs like this embarrass real crooks! I remember back in the Day when people looked to politics for examples of successful criminals not anymore.
    I wonder how much the President House and Senate were worth personally in inflation adjusted Dollars before Bush got in and now after the banking Crisis?
    Stupid Crooks lose money

  27. klynn says:


    My five-year-old just saw a picture of Lady Liberty and asked, “Who is she?”

    I answered. He then asked, “Is she dead or just pretend?”

    “I don’t know. I thought she was alive, but I guess we will find out soon if she is dead, alive or pretend.”

    (Five year old scrunches face in curiosity and confusion.)

    His question was quite timely.

  28. MattYellingAtTheMoon says:

    Anyone, I don’t care who, who had a hand in this MUST be prosecuted.

    I wrote an open letter to America yesterday–America, in doing this you have not only broken the Laws of Man, you have given up your prerogative of raised moral standing. The brave and noble Revolutionaries who bled the ground red at Brandywine and left footsteps traced with blood in the snow at Valley Forge did not do so for this, your great sin.

    Check it out:…..erica.aspx

  29. Lizinbklyn says:

    Republicans love to obfuscate . .

    If Pelosi knew about the torture, she goes down with the Bubble, the Dick, Rummy, Condi, Bybee, Yoo, et al.

    It is well established waterboarding is torture and that the U.S. executed Japanese soldiers responsible for waterboarding!

    SO let the hearing begin, keeping in mind that George W. Bush said: “The UNITED STATES DOES NOT TORTURE!!

    • newtonusr says:

      Teh Goopers love their history, until it rises up and bites them on the ass. Sing it, Barry!
      “I would remind you that extremism torture in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice hegemony is no virtue.”

      edits welcomed

  30. Mary says:

    More ABC – different topic.

    Sup Ct picks…..e-for.html

    Saying that the list is narrowed to 6, lists three women as the front runners. Outright nastiness about Sotomayor, gliddy gloop gloopi-ness over Kagan. *sigh*

    • phred says:

      Mary, what do you think about Diane Wood? Glenn Greenwald seems to think she is good. Also, did you see the other 3 names in that article? All I saw were Sotomayer, Kagan, and Wood. Kinda makes me wonder who the stealth candidates are and whether it will be one of them, while the chattering classes are distracted with the 3 named already…

  31. maryo2 says:

    Since reading that some of the torturers (Mitchell and Jessen) have an office in Spokane, WA, with a SCIF safe for reading/watching classified information, I have wondered if Cheney watched videos there. So I am trying to place his visits to WA state into the torture timeline.
    So far I have these four:

    December 22, 2003 – Bellevue intervening in a contested 2004 Republican Senate primary to anoint Rep. George Nethercutt as the White House choice

    January 13, 2004 – Seattle to raise money to raise money for GOP

    April 17, 2006 – Vice President Dick Cheney raised money for two Republican candidates in Washington state

    November 2, 2006 – Vice President Cheney campaigns for Republicans at the Coeur d’Alene Airport

  32. Leen says:

    I know very little about transcribing, documenting and filing…think they might have a job for me at the C.I.A.?

  33. cinnamonape says:

    Might consider the aides who attended the meetings as an indicator of whether the meeting concerned an “appropriations” emphasis through the DoD or whether it was Intelligence. The Senators and House members might wear two hats, but the aides usually only wear one. They are specialists on the nuts-and-bolts of the issues.

  34. fatster says:

    O/T, or let’s take a little trip back in time.
    Science agency to review FBI’s anthrax inquiry
    By DAVID DISHNEAU, Associated Press Writer – Fri May 8, 2:05 pm ET

    ” – The National Academy of Sciences said Friday it will review the lab work behind the FBI’s conclusion that Army scientist Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax mailings that killed five people in 2001.

    “The FBI will pay the Washington-based society nearly $880,000 for the independent, 15-month committee review of the genetic and chemical studies investigators used to link Ivins to the attacks, academy spokeswoman Jennifer Walsh said.”…..estigation

  35. cinnamonape says:

    Ooh! This is interesting! An aide to another member of Congress who was briefed “around the same time” as Pelosi was in October 2002, states that Pelosi was not briefed about waterboarding.

    So how would this aide know this unless the briefing was at the same time, or if the other Congressman was told not to tell Pelosi about it?

    My guess is that this aide was Porter Goss’ Intelligence Committee aide, Tim Sample. Of course, it could be an aide from the Senate side. But they were briefed several weeks later.

    Could it be that the fish are jumping from the barrel!

    • emptywheel says:

      The aide is most likely Bob Graham’s aide, if not Shelby’s (who has, of course, been absolutely silent in this debate).

      Here’s what it said:

      A senior aide to another member of Congress briefed by the CIA around the same time as Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells the Huffington Post that the use of waterboarding was never mentioned at those briefings.

      Briefing around the same time as the briefing Nancy had would have been the OTHER briefing to Congress, to the Senators. And he said the use of waterboarding “was never mentioned at those briefings,” meaning the one he had and the one Pelosi had. It’s possible the staffers spoke among themselves.

  36. nadezhda says:

    For those keeping score over the weekend, Rockefeller’s office has emailed this PM a response to Zach at TPM — see my comment on earlier EW post here.

    • phred says:

      Now that I’ve done a little trolling in the comment section over at TPMM, I see you (and drational) were all over this earlier… Well, done!
      cinnamonape @ 112 — great catch! Do we know anything about Tim Sample? If he is the source, then he clearly would not be one of the Gosslings. I wonder why he was the aide in attendance rather that one of Goss’ favorites?

  37. Mary says:

    Well the report indicates that Tim Sample and Mike Sheehy were present at the briefing. Sheehy went on to work for Pelosi directly from 2003 through Feb of this year. He’s now at McBee Strategic Consulting – seems like someone would have at least asked him one way or the other, for a no comment even.

    Ditto on Tim Sample, who has some interesting credentials:

    At CQ, Starks (not Stein) has used Sample as a source before, e.g.,…..94614.html

    story on the “business world” and it “balking” at the cases in front of Walker.

    others in the private sector agree that without the secrecy claim, businesses facing legal actions would not be able to mount full-throated defenses that rely on references to classified materials. “What it potentially does is have a chilling effect on any company against working with the government to protect our national security,” says Timothy R. Sample, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, which represents executives from all the nation’s top intelligence contractors.

    Sample — who was staff director of the House Intelligence Committee when it was chaired by Porter J. Goss, the Florida Republican who went on to head the CIA — contends that Walker’s ruling presents another big legal roadblock: a passage suggesting that the defendants “might disclose, either deliberately or accidentally, other pertinent information about the communication records program as this litigation proceeds.” That could serve “as a dangerous precedent of presuming future leaks,” Sample says.

    Still, both guys were listed as being there at the briefings – you’d think someone would try to get them on the record one way or another.

    Re the article linked at 112 – Pelosi was briefed in early sept of 02 from the chart, if it is correct:…..efings.pdf

    Three+ weeks later, Graham and Shelby and their guys (Cumming and Duhnke) were briefed. That was my point in the earlier thread about lots of different sources and opportunities. If the aid in that link isn’t Sheehy, it would likely be Cumming and they both have alliance issues. It if were an aide from ‘the dark side’ like Duhnke or Sample, that would be a bit different. But it’s not like the list isn’t out there now – to try for a cloak of anonymity instead of just getting the staffers on record seems silly.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Mary…wouldn’t Sheehy be Pelosi’s “aide”. Or was he the minorities Aide to the Vice Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. If he was then he might be “the aide to another Congressman” at the time.

      The phrasing in the report isn’t clear if it was the aide who was briefed, the “other Congressman”, or both.

      But it sure seems that the specialists in these areas would likely have better recollections and fewer other issues on their agenda. But the fact that the CIA is relying on “memory” to reconstruct what was told seems a bit odd. Wouldn’t all that be in briefing books…or are these…”Tell them only if they ask” or “Here’s how to phrase what we are doing in the most opaque manner”?

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        Maybe it’s all a plan for congressional investigations. Pelosi insisting she clear her name…

      • Mary says:

        Sheehy was staff minority leader or minority counsel or something like that at the time of the briefing – he was the Dem staffer that was briefed, Sample would have been the Rep maj staffer. My point on the two of them is that they were ACTUALLY there according to the chart -whether they were or not may still be up in the air, given the questions on the chart. So as people who are listed as being there – good journalism would seem to dictate that someone collect their responses (even if it is no comment) on the record. If so, Sample might be the other staffer, but how someone who was briefed at “around the same time” instead of in the same briefing can say one way or another is a big ??????????

        If it is not Sample, from the actual briefing, that leaves Cumming and Duhnke from the three weeks later Senate briefing, with Cumming being the likely source (since he’s the “dem” staffer and is supposedly going to support Graham on his statement that he wasn’t briefed on torture). Again, Cumming and Duhnke have their own agendas, but someone should at least collect their responses it seems. And Shelby has been very silent, other than to ominously threaten Holder with going into his role as DAG in Clinton era extraordinary renditions to torture.

        Anyway – once upon a time we were sold the fiction that the Congress critters who were briefed had “no” staff to turn to – now we have a list that seems to indicate that the CIA is saying something to the contrary. So it would seem like the next step would be to ask those guys – were you there, were your Congress critters briefed on the applications of the torture techniques — if that is the question that people want to concentrate on.

        It’s not anywhere near the top of a list of questions I would much rather see ansered, but if it is on the MSM’s list, it would seem like they’d go to the trouble of at least asking for comments from staffers who were briefed.

        • bobschacht says:

          Mary, you are much too logical.
          Any instructions other than “read GOPasaur talking points” is apparently beyond the comprehension level of what passes for today’s practicing journalists.

          Bob in HI

    • bobschacht says:

      Vyin has a recommended post up over at the Great Orange Satan on the need for a Classified Crimes Act. It might be tough to write it well enough to get passed and signed, and still mean something, but it is definitely needed.

      Bob in HI

  38. Leen says:

    EW tonight on the Ed Show (Lawrence O’Donnell filling in for Ed) Frank Gaffney is a guest. When discussing how often KSM and AZ were waterboarded Gaffney said “it’s hard to keep the numbers straight” It seems difficult for Gaffney to keep any facts straight

    Those “lapse of memory” excuses are just to tough to swallow.

  39. Citizen92 says:

    This whole “Pelosi knew” narrative and uproar baffles me. We have known that “Pelosi knew” since 2007, when the Washington Post front paged the story “Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002.” The story describes two

    The Post attributed its 2007 reporting to “two officials present.” The reporting makes it seem that 4 Members of Congress were being briefed together, in a single meeting but the CIA’s briefing chart shows two distinct briefings, on 9/4 and 9/27 for House and Senate, respectively.

    The Post story goes on to describe other briefings that may have occurred:

    The CIA provided another briefing the following month, and then about 28 additional briefings over five years, said three U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge of the meetings. During these sessions, the agency provided information about the techniques it was using as well as the information it collected.

    So, presumably, that would make 30 briefings total “over five years” according to those “three US officials with firsthand knowledge of the meetings.”

    But back to that September 2002 briefing (according to the Post) or briefings (according to the CIA log)… Was that 2002 briefing the Post references done not by the CIA, but by someone else? Is that why it was (apparently) a single meeting with 4 Members whereas the CIA has two meetings with two Members on its books?

    Did the Post get the reporting wrong?
    Did the CIA get its list of participants wrong? Did the CIA forget a meeting?

    I’d also like to know who talked to the Post for the 2007 article. The Post differentiates between the Members, the “two officials present” and the briefers. Were they Tim Sample and Bill Dunkhe, the GOP Committee staff heads? Were they Michael Sheehy and Alfred Cumming, the Dem staff heads?

    And what of this quote of that September 2002 meeting –

    Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

    “The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

    Questions questions questions.

    So, again, was it ONE meeting or TWO in September 2002? Or were there three? Two with the CIA and one with someone else?

    • Citizen92 says:

      The CIA chart shows 34 CIA-led briefings by the time of the Post’s story which reported 30 briefings.

    • Citizen92 says:

      Surely the Post wouldn’t reference “two lawmakers in the room” if there were only two lawmakers in the room…

      So who ran that September 2002 briefing for four Members if it wasn’t the CIA, since their briefing was for two Members on 9/4 and two Member on 9/27.

    • emptywheel says:

      One thing ot be cautious of is the assumption among even superb reporters that Gang of Eight means Gang of Eight. I had to insist that the wiretap briefings went to just four for years before some really smart keyed in reporters got that.

  40. nadezhda says:

    Surprise, surprise, Hoekstra’s claim that he’s seen documents that show Pelosi was briefed on waterboarding is, shall we say, somewhat less than a “slam dunk”?

    Greg Sargent gets the straight dope from the CIA:

    None of the notes and memos that the CIA is aware of about the briefing Nancy Pelosi got on torture specified that she’d been briefed on the use of waterboarding, a CIA spokesperson confirms to me.

    In the newly-released documents detailing the torture briefings given to members of Congress, the portion describing Pelosi’s single briefing says she was told about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques in general, but doesn’t specify whether she was told about the use of waterboarding. That was specified about some briefings given to others.

    I asked CIA spokesperson Paul Gimigliano why. His answer: Because the notes and memos on the Pelosi meeting that form the basis for the docs didn’t allow them to go that far, meaning that they didn’t specify that she’d been briefed on waterboarding in particular.

    In a statement to me, he explained that that “the language in the chart” is “faithful to the language in the records.”

    “Nothing is being hidden or hyped,” he continued. “CIA is simply being true to the records. That’s all there is to it.”

    Here’s what this appears to mean: All the records on this meeting the CIA is familiar with stop short of specifying that she was briefed on waterboarding. Instead, they only state that she’d been briefed on EITs — enhanced interrogation techniques — in general.

    To be clear, this doesn’t prove conclusively that Pelosi, who says she was only told of the legality of techniques, wasn’t briefed on the use of waterboarding. But if she was, no one made a specific note of it in any of the records the CIA is aware of. GOP Rep Pete Hoekstra is claiming that he’s seen documents that prove she was told. But the CIA doesn’t seem to have a record specifying this.

    And here’s Greg’s link to the statement he received from the CIA rep.

    • TheraP says:

      Maybe it was a “slam dunk” into the low end of the pool! I’m picturing a headlong dive into the concrete!

    • Rayne says:

      There’s one other little tiny stinky fly in the ointment, which we should keep in the back of our minds any time a GOP member of the House Committees dealing with intelligence matters talks about records or documentation.

      Nothing we need to deal with at the moment since it’s been there for years, but we would do well to remember that Mike Connell and GovTech Solutions had documented access to the website as well as other infrastructure for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

      I would absolutely not put it past persons with access and motivation to modify records in a way which could not be recovered, a la missing emails archived in a non-standard fashion.

      Whenever a GOPer brings up the record, ask them to show proof, and then check the provenance behind it all the way through the record’s entire chain of custody. (Hello, Crazy Pete…)

    • cinnamonape says:

      In a statement to me, he explained that that “the language in the chart” is “faithful to the language in the records.”

      “Nothing is being hidden or hyped,” he continued. “CIA is simply being true to the records. That’s all there is to it.”

      Here’s what this appears to mean: All the records on this meeting the CIA is familiar with stop short of specifying that she was briefed on waterboarding. Instead, they only state that she’d been briefed on EITs — enhanced interrogation techniques — in general.

      Maybe that’s why there are two references to what was said about the EITs in the “description section” of the October 2002 briefings. There’s an odd bit of redundancy in them…repeating about a briefing in EIT’s…but using the past tense in one sentence and an present/future tense in the other. When these fall in the same paragraph it makes it sound as if those briefed would have heard about past applications of EITs (it doesn’t say on whom) and then the planned future applications on Abu Zubaydah.

      But this makes no sense. Abu Zubaydah had already been given all the most extreme EITs by the time of the briefing.

      If Pelosi and Goss were separately briefed the CIA briefers could have told them two different things. One briefing could have been more specific, noting Abu Zubaydah and “prospective use of EITs. The other more general but about past use of EITs (by whom?, on whom?…this could be a discussion of North Korean or North Vietnamese methods…or CIA or military use of sleep deprivation…or SERE training?).

      These two briefing descriptions are then subsumed into one description of the briefings. But each briefing had different information, perhaps. That would explain the odd redundancy. And one of the Congressmen may have gotten information on the rationalizations of Yoo and Bybee, they other may not have.

      But neither briefing apparently are “established” by CIA records to have included water boarding as a topic. It’s odd that Hoekstra claims he has more evidence of this that he can’t release when the CIA is stating they don’t.

  41. JasonLeopold says:

    Hey folks, perhaps you discussed this already. But what do you all make of this comment from Dianne Feinstein to Newsweek in March after the ICRC report was released:

    “I now know we were not fully and completely briefed on the CIA program.”

    • bmaz says:

      That Feinstein felt compelled to make a non-specific CYA statement while further putting her finger in the prevailing wind to see how little she can get away with doing and saying.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        It did read like a CYA statement, which I suppose should not be a surprise coming from Feinstein.

      • Leen says:

        Wish someone would support an investigation into her families war profiteering. She does seem to hold her finger in the wind a great deal. Voted for the war resolution, Mukcasey, Kyl Liebermann. Wears far too much bling during hearings.

        Tone it down Diane we do not want to see your blood diamonds or other fancy bling

  42. JasonLeopold says:

    This is from Jane Mayer’s book “The Dark Side.” Granted it’s about a later briefing but it calls into question the integrity of previous briefings:

    In May 2005, just a few months after the CIA briefed Congress on interrogation methods, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, requested “to see over a hundred documents referred to in [Helgerson’s] report on detention inside the black prison sites. Among the items Rockefeller specifically sought was a legal analysis of the CIA’s interrogation videotapes.

    “Rockefeller wanted to know if the intelligence agency’s top lawyer believed that the waterboarding of [alleged al-Qaeda operative Abu] Zubaydah and [alleged 9/11 mastermind] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as captured on the secret videotapes, was entirely legal. The CIA refused to provide the requested documents to Rockefeller.

    “But the Democratic senator’s mention of the videotapes undoubtedly sent a shiver through the Agency, as did a second request he made for these documents to [former CIA Director Porter] Goss in September 2005.”

  43. bmaz says:

    Hey Jonathan Landay of McCaltchy is on Olbermann saying Pelosi had no avenue for expressing her concerns about the torture, whether it be EITs and/or H20boarding. Is Landay not familiar with the Speech and Debate Clause of Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution? I have never understood this cluck clucking over nothing they could do. All she had to do is make a record in the well. Would it have created a freaking firestorm? Oh yeah; but, really, that is the guaranteed and protected method designed by the founding fathers and it was her duty and obligation under the Constitution and her oath to office.

    • Rayne says:

      When would Pelosi have used the Speech and Debate Clause to the appropriate effect?

      At what point did she know she’d been snookered by CIA about the EIT program?

      And as a minority member prior to 2006, would she have been cut off by majority members prior to making any effort to read into the record her objections?

      • Sand says:

        Or being made a fool of by her own side even?

        This Speech and Debate clause could this also have been used by Durban when he knew that the WH was lying through their teeth about the intelligence that enabled them to go to war?

        What’s Durban’s excuse?

    • Sand says:

      however, everyone still wants to pile on her. also holder seems to have a history with torture too… how deep are we going to go?

      Holder says he approved Clinton-era renditions
      By Stephen C. Webster – May 7, 2009…..enditions/

    • bobschacht says:

      The Speech and Debate clause seems directly counter to specific language in legislation that someone else was citing recently that makes it a serious crime to disclose secrets (sorry, I can’t remember who posted the specific language.) I suppose you are saying that the Constitution trumps any such legislation, but has that conflict been tested in the Courts?

      Of course, it would fit with our presently AWOL Congressional leadership to discount the Constitution as an irrelevant memory, and to instead grant highest rank to a piece of legislation, but ISTM this is territory untested in the courts, and who wants to go first? Dennis Kucinich probably would, but then no one in the CIA is going to even give him a straight answer on the time of day.

      Has anyone ever tested the Speech and Debate clause by using it to mention or discuss a State Secret? (IANAL, so please excuse if I haven’t used the terms properly).

      Bob in HI

      • Sand says:

        “…Has anyone ever tested the Speech and Debate clause by using it to mention or discuss a State Secret?..”

        Excellent point — has anyone here researched that before piling on Pelosi?

        • bmaz says:

          Um, yes, there is a rich history on the point. Listen, would she have been drummed out of Congress? They would have tried and, quite arguably, succeeded in that. Could she have been turned into a pariah? Sure, and they would have tried that. But would she have had absolute immunity from criminal prosecution? As far as I know, yes, she would. It would have required a real “Profile in Courage” out of Pelosi or any other Congress member so doing; but that is what they are supposed to be about, no?

          • Sand says:

            “…Um, yes, there is a rich history on the point…”

            I think there’s enough of us here that would be interested on being educated on that point?

            Also, you said “…could she have been drummed out of Congress? They would have tried and, quite arguably, succeeded in that…” Exactly, what ‘physical evidence’ could she have brought in front of Congress, in front of the public — hey even in front of our MIC media? Who would have had her back, or more to the point — was ready to stab her in the back?

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, I’ll think about that. I do want to really emphasize that it would have taken giant cojones to do this, and anybody who did would probably have been done in Congress as of the next election. But it was available.

              • emptywheel says:

                I’m mostly thinking about what Nancy could have said (as opposed to someone briefed on the CIA IG report in 2004). If she HONESTLY didn’t know they had used these, and possibly may not have had waterboarding mentioned (not sure about that last one).

                Does she go up and say, “OLC has authorized stuff like sleep deprivation and stress positions”? But would that have accomplised the objective, shutting it down?

              • Mary says:

                I agree that walking out of the meeting and to the floor might not only have taken cojones but also would have been a mistake. There was a lot of follow up that she could have done, including written, classified requests for additional briefings, ability to access input from aides or to have DOJ rep participate and answer questions, etc.

                But there are point in time where I don’t think it would have taken that make more limited reveals. Once she moved to leadership, and in particular in the lead up to the Iraq war when there were a lot of quesions being raised on intel anyway, she could have said on the floor that she received briefings as ranking member on Intel that she realizes are not being given to the full Gang of 8 or full intel committees and that she believes they should be — that would have put the WH in the posture of either making it look like they were hiding something or having to spread out the briefings. It also wouldn’t have “revealed” the torture program and might have opened the door in closed briefings to questions about the use of torture on sources for the war run up.

                During Abu Ghraib she could have made a similar statement – that intel heads got briefing on troubling Presidential assertions that might have an impact on what was done by soldiers at Abu Ghraib and she thinks that info should be made available to the full committees and possibly declassified in full – she could even say that if soldiers were facing criminal charges she believes the content of the briefings might be necessary for their defense — again, without actually going into the specifics of the briefing she could have made it very difficult for the admin not to make info available and made it look very complicit if it didn’t and there’s every chance that instead of a backlash, she would have had broad support. Then there was when the torture memo came out… lots of different points in time and circumstances and lots of “how much, how little” options on what she might say on the floor.

                • Leen says:

                  the argument there was nothing I could do , no one I could tell is almost as bad as “I was just following orders” I had thought from the beginning that there might be some missing dates of briefings not yet released.

          • Mary says:

            CQ had a piece up yesterday about the look-sees at changes to the process, which are needed.
            But in it, they have Nancy playing helpless: “‘If you want to take it to another place, who do you call, the chief justice?’ Pelosi, D-Calif., asked rhetorically “ and I left for them:
            And yet the Constitution provides a pretty unrhetorical answer, doesn’t it? ” They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” At any time she could, on the floor, have said that she had been given a briefing that troubled her and she was not being allowed to have access to legal or other assistance or to ask follow up questions and she was publically asking the WH to adjust their briefing procedures so that the full intel committee and later in some form all of Congress be given access to what she had been briefed about.

            Republican disinformation about whether or not she actually knew about waterboarding being done at the time (fall 2002) or only that the President was claiming the legal right to is a bad thing. So is Democratic disinformation about the Constitution.

            • bmaz says:

              And see that is my point. The remedy IS provided. If Pelosi, or any others that had an inkling (Rockefeller, Graham and Harman come to mind eh?) wanted to make a mark they could have simply made a stink about not getting the briefings and the limited hangout Gang of Four versus the required Gang of Eight. That type of advisory in the well could have really laid down a marker all by itself and would not even have cause the furor that would come from a more detailed statement.

              • bmaz says:

                Yeah, okay, I see you had already locked in on what I am saying. I smelled biscuits and bacon in the kitchen and that diverted my attention for a few minutes.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Sadly, Jonathan Landay, who is one of our ten best reporters, probably doesn’t realize the Speech and Debate clause overrides the Executive Order on classification. And he doesn’t realize it because there’s absolutely no one who would dare use it. Not Feingold, not Sanders, not Kucinich, nobody.

      • emptywheel says:

        Kucinich might. But he’d never be in a positoin to be briefed on it. Feingold is pretty damn good at getting details out without breaking classification guidelines (for example, it was crystal clear from his testimony on FISA last year that we’d see Risen and Lichtblau reporting more wiretapping of Americans). But even Feingold people in DC tend to ignore.

      • fatster says:

        Please explain this, or else provide a link to an appropriate source (which, hopefully, us non-lawyer types can understand). Thnx.

  44. bobschacht says:

    I think Pelosi was making a strictly political assessment that if she were to have protested what the CIA was doing, the Republicans would jump all over her for being a sniveling weak-kneed wimp, and they would raise their old battle cry about Democrats being Weak on Defense. Among the things Democrats are afraid of (and these seem to be legion), the one which strikes terror into their hearts more than anything else is to be called weak on defense.

    Nancy was looking at the prospect of Democrats gaining ground in the House in 2006, and she thought that if she protested about the CIA, they would lose that chance. She would be branded as “not tough enough” to be Speaker, a few heartbeats away from the presidency. In other words, winning elections was more important to her than the Constitution. IOWIOW, she was willing to kick the Constitution to the curb in order to win a few seats in the House.

    Bob in HI

    • Nell says:

      she was willing to kick the Constitution to the curb in order to win a few seats in the House.

      Which she has demonstrated repeatedly, in a variety of ways.

      I honestly do not see how Mary’s analysis plays into the hands of Republicans who want to avoid any investigations; to me it strengthens the case for an independent counsel.

  45. bmaz says:

    Reasonable question, and I agree to some extent with that thought. To some extent. But not a ton. I am probably a little closer to Mary, both above and here. How much did she have to really say? I don’t know, but it darn sure wasn’t nothing. There are two categories of information that apply to this scenario – that which she knew, and that which she had reason to know or believe. And I guess, honestly, I also view this in terms of the illegal wiretapping/surveillance issues to, not just torture. Hell, at a minimum, it was crystal clear that Congress was not getting appropriate briefings. She could have made a record of that in the well with regards to that without even broaching National Security. Buthere wasn’t even the sound of crickets.

    • Rayne says:

      The truth is ugly. There’s no way around it. Every single bite of this shit taco is ugly.

      But I have to concur with bobschacht at (163) with regards to a political decision. Let’s assume Pelosi found out the entire truth before the 2006 mid-term races began. I’ve already heard from a highly credible source with strong ties to at least one member of the House Judiciary Committee that the key reason impeachment was not an option was that it did not poll well.

      The American public, via polls, told members of Congress they did not want impeachment. WE might want it, but a majority of Americans indicated they didn’t.

      I’ll extrapolate here that because they couldn’t successfully impeach Bush without serious political repercussions, they did not dare attempt it at the risk of the 2006 mid-terms and the 2008 presidential elections.

      If impeachment wasn’t going to fly, would a Congressional investigation into torture have even gotten off the ground?

      Just look at what happened to Kucinich’s attempts to use Speech and Debate to further impeachment, in spite of the numerous reasons he supplied to justify impeachment. These attempts were marginalized — literally marginalia in history.

      It’s ugly. All of it. Ugly that so many trade-offs had to be made to get to this point, ugly that we played our own roles in this mess. Really, were we prepared with another electable Democratic candidate in either Pelosi’s or Harman’s districts? Or any other district should a rep show a spine, use Speech and Debate effectively and get drummed out of office? We weren’t there. We weren’t even talking about it to make it an option on the table.

      • Nell says:

        I’ve already heard from a highly credible source with strong ties to at least one member of the House Judiciary Committee that the key reason impeachment was not an option was that it did not poll well. The American public, via polls, told members of Congress they did not want impeachment. WE might want it, but a majority of Americans indicated they didn’t.

        Sorry, not buying unless the polls and their internals are made public. There were almost no public polls on impeachment before 2007; the press refused to ask the question (in sharp contrast to the Clinton mess, where they began polling on it at the first hint of dirt).

        And the frequent, public polling of the question itself changes the political climate, as your highly credible source must know. So unless s/he can produce the numbers, that’s just more squid ink.

        Pelosi watched the Abu Ghraib grunts get blamed for something she knew full well was a policy from the top, and didn’t make a peep. No complaints about the lack of a presidential finding, or the inadequate and separate briefings, nothing.

        • Rayne says:

          Let’s say for a moment you’re a Democratic leader in Congress.

          Why would you publish that polling if there’s any chance at all something could change public opinion inside an 18-month window?

  46. radiofreewill says:

    Bush Waterboarded without informing Congress or the Courts.

    Bush committed Acts of Torture – on his own Authority – in Secrecy and Bad Faith.

    Later on – like 83 Waterboardings Later On – Bush might have begun telling Select Members of Congress that he was Waterboarding, or he might not have.

    But, Bush did Waterboard Zubaydah – on his own Authority – in Secrecy and Bad Faith – without informing Congress or the Courts.

    The Waterboarding is on Bush.

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