Pincus and CIA Panic

On Saturday, I wrote this about Leon Panetta’s statement to the CIA.

This is a statement reflecting not just the worries at CIA that they’ve been sold out again, asked to break the law, but then hung out to dry after the fact. This is a statement given at a time when the very people being investigated (probably)–Rodriguez and Goss–are two of the three key players in the briefing at the time.And this is a statement that narrowly affirms the accuracy of the briefing (given the briefing notes), while admitting that Congress should determine the full story. Yes, Panetta gives that narrow defense of CIA’s statement. But the bulk of Panetta’s statement implores the rest of CIA not to get hung up on the circus happening around them. 

Panetta is doing two things. First, affirming that CIA has not misrepresented what got recorded in the briefing notes and that the language of the briefing notes is accurate–as far as that goes. And, at the same time, casting doubt on the full meaning of the statement while imploring the rest of CIA not to get distracted by yet another challenge to CIA’s credibility.

This morning, Walter Pincus makes precisely the same point.

Battered by recriminations over waterboarding and other harsh techniques sanctioned by the Bush administration, the CIA is girding itself for more public scrutiny and is questioning whether agency personnel can conduct interrogations effectively under rules set out for the U.S. military, according to senior intelligence officials.

[snip]

The agency’s defensiveness in part reflects a conviction that it is being forced to take the blame for actions approved by elected officials that have since fallen into disfavor. Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said in an interview that CIA managers and operations officers have again been put "in a horrible position." Hayden recalled an officer asking, "Will I be in trouble five years from now for what I agree to do today?"

 [snip]

Although President Obama has said no CIA officers will be prosecuted for their roles in harsh interrogations if they remained within Justice Department guidelines in effect at the time, agency personnel still face subpoenas and testimony under oath before criminal, civil and congressional bodies.

As part of an ongoing criminal inquiry into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting waterboarding, CIA personnel will appear before a grand jury this week, according to two sources familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is continuing. The Senate intelligence committee is pursuing its investigation into whether harsh interrogations, including waterboarding, brought forward worthwhile intelligence, as agency and Bush administration officials have maintained.

Officially, the agency says there is no distraction.

Only, of course, Panetta’s sending memos out trying to tamp down the distractions. 

Also note (as Peterr pointed out to me) the reference to two CIA personnel (neither of whom could be Jose Rodriguez or Porter Goss, since those torture tape suspects are no longer employees) preparing to testify before the grand jury this week. I  guess we can assume from that the inquiry is ongoing…

I’m sympathetic with the sentiment that the CIA is being screwed by Dick Cheney and others who pushed them to torture (though less sympathetic with the framing of this article, which argues the CIA should get its old torture techniques back). 

But at some point, they need to go further than saying they didn’t use torture to dig up proof for Dick Cheney’s war. If Dick Cheney sold you out or tried to convince you to torture people who qualified (even under the Administration’s bogus rules) for the Geneva Conventions, then tell us that. If, instead, some of your own (or more likely, contractors) went beyond even the expansive techniques authorized by John Yoo, then tell us that. If CTC briefers were less than forthcoming to Congress in 2002 (either because they knew Congress would object, because they didn’t want Iraq War claims to be doubted, or because Dick Cheney told them to be less than forthcoming), tell us that too. 

There’s a legitimate gripe, I think, for the CIA to feel it got sold out by Bush and Cheney. But that’s not a good excuse to protect those who broke even the law Bush and Cheney sustained. And it’s a really bad reason to protect Cheney, going forward. 

Want to avoid getting screwed over by elected officials? Be willing to reveal what they ordered that went beyond all acceptable guidelines and laws. 

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60 replies
  1. marksb says:

    Understandable that CIA would circle the wagons and try to let this firestorm blow over. The idea of bright sunshine shining into the Agency tends to counter the idea of the secretiveness of the Agency, and possibly ending a few careers. This would certainly include honest assessments of who commanded what directive and who did the actual torture, even if names of the operatives or contractors are protected in the accounting.
    But your point is excellent and probably the key to allow the CIA to move on and actually have better and firmer–and more protective–guidelines for their work. And honest management.

    • Leen says:

      The false pre-war intelligence stove pipers have been more than willing to divert the focus of just who and where all of the false intelligence came from. More than willing to leave the CIA holding the bag.

      The MSM goes right along

      The stovepipe

      Since midsummer, the Senate Intelligence Committee has been attempting to solve the biggest mystery of the Iraq war: the disparity between the Bush Administration’s prewar assessment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and what has actually been discovered.

      The committee is concentrating on the last ten years’ worth of reports by the C.I.A. Preliminary findings, one intelligence official told me, are disquieting. “The intelligence community made all kinds of errors and handled things sloppily,” he said. The problems range from a lack of quality control to different agencies’ reporting contradictory assessments at the same time. One finding, the official went on, was that the intelligence reports about Iraq provided by the United Nations inspection teams and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitored Iraq’s nuclear-weapons programs, were far more accurate than the C.I.A. estimates. “Some of the old-timers in the community are appalled by how bad the analysis was,” the official said. “If you look at them side by side, C.I.A. versus United Nations, the U.N. agencies come out ahead across the board.”
      http://www.newyorker.com/archi…..027fa_fact

      ——————————————————–
      the Lie Factory
      http://www.motherjones.com/pol…..ie-factory
      Until now, the story of how the Bush administration produced its wildly exaggerated estimates of the threat posed by Iraq has never been revealed in full. But, for the first time, a detailed investigation by Mother Jones, based on dozens of interviews‚ — some on the record, some with officials who insisted on anonymity‚ — exposes the workings of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department’s war-planning task force, the Office of Special Plans. It’s the story of a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion.

      • Cheryl says:

        I love that Mother Jones article. I’m glad you put up a link to it. I didn’t see the flow chart from the original magazine article (I still have a hard copy) in the link. Have you seen it? It’s a great flow chart that makes it so easy to see the Intelligence Flow right to Cheney. I would really like to do a flow chart for the Torture Intelligence Chain. If you would like, I could send you a copy from the Mother Jones article for your research.

      • perris says:

        the Lie Factory
        http://www.motherjones.com/pol…..ie-factory
        Until now, the story of how the Bush administration produced its wildly exaggerated estimates of the threat posed by Iraq has never been revealed in full. But, for the first time, a detailed investigation by Mother Jones, based on dozens of interviews‚ — some on the record, some with officials who insisted on anonymity‚ — exposes the workings of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department’s war-planning task force, the Office of Special Plans. It’s the story of a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion.

        or, “team b”

        I’ve been pointing to them for years

        first put together by none other then rumsfeld/cheney (cheney was the underling) back to undermine nixon’s treaty of detante

        they are war profiteers who cannot survive without unrest

  2. Peterr says:

    If people at the CIA feel sold out by Bush and Cheney, there’s an easy answer to that: return the favor.

    Prosecutors have been known to be very generous to those lower on the organizational food chain who provide information that leads to the charges against those higher up.

  3. Leen says:

    “be willing to reveal what they ordered that went beyond all acceptable guidelines and laws”

    And accept responsibility for “just following orders”

    I am sure all of the lawyer folks here can explain just who ordered torture laws to be re-written/re-interpreted, those who then re-wrote those torture laws, who ordered those re-written torture laws to be used is a far cry than those who “just followed orders” Especially since we have read reports that torture contractors did much of the torturing.

    Degrees of Severity here right?

    Just as the what, when Pelosi knew issue has been used to distract even though she obviously did not do what she could have to push back.

    ——————————————————————–
    The Washington Post under Fred Hiatt continues its policy of allowing uncontested access to its editorial pages for the purposes of starting new wars. Here’s former Bush insider John Hannah today:

    History’s lesson for the Obama administration seems straightforward: Short of regime change or military attack, the method most likely to persuade an anti-American, terrorist-sponsoring state such as Iran to cease its nuclear weapons program is credibly threatening the regime’s hold on power.

    Here’s John Hannah 2006:

    Hannah and [David] Wurmser’s boss, [Dick Cheney], talks freely about the need for a military showdown with Iran to destroy its alleged nuclear program.

    http://firedoglake.com/2009/05/19/one-trick-pony

    —————————————————————-

    Now we have the Iraq war pushers and liars turning up the heat on the Iran issue. Full court press….with Netanyahu in town pushing for the focus to be on Iran

  4. pretzel says:

    Is Director Panetta’s statement an effort at fence mending? I ask in regard to what may have possibly been divided loyalties within the CIA. Were there discussions during the Bush/Cheney reign that dealt with certain areas within the CIA and the Administration as a whole with regards to those loyal to the old guard “Poppy” Bush/Skippy vs. the Cheney led neo-conservative/imperialistic faction?

    • marksb says:

      I’ll bet there’s a nice little war going on within the CIA. I saw this happen within the military during the last years of Vietnam. The die-hard “loyalists” and the younger (and the few older) officers were pretty much killing each other over their support or opposition to the war and Nixon.

      • Peterr says:

        I don’t think you’ll find any takers on that bet. It’s pretty much a sure thing.

        The question is how visible these battles will be to anyone on the outside. Valerie Plame was one early victim of these battles, as the Bush WH decided to demonstrate to the CIA what they do to those who cross them. What will happen now that Bush and Co are out is very much an open question.

        I’m really curious about the two CIA people being brought before the grand jury, especially with regard to the circumstances around their appearance. Are these two whistleblowers, testifying voluntarily — even eagerly — to bring some of the abuses forward, or are they very reluctantly testifying under subpoena?

  5. brendanx says:

    “Want to avoid getting screwed over by elected officials? Be willing to reveal what they ordered that went beyond all acceptable guidelines and laws.”

    In other words, be less slavish than our press. Unlikely.

  6. Rayne says:

    I wondered after yesterday’s brouhaha about the gross misuse of Sy Hersh’s reporting whether folks inside the intelligence fenceline decided to push back very firmly against Deadeye’s obvious attempts to throw them under a bus.

    Damn near choked when I read the first two grafs; the set-up of the article and its distribution appeared to be classic intel dispersion. Much of it is being scrubbed across the internet, but slowly enough for key people to hear about it before it disappears.

    I have to wonder whether Deadeye did more than choke when he saw this cross his desk…

    NOTE: if you read that first link, be absolutely certain to read this one before you use or quote that first piece.

    • brendanx says:

      “the set-up of the article and its distribution appeared to be classic intel dispersion.”

      Wow.

      • plunger says:

        Hersh has adamantly denounced that article as completely without merit, or to be more specific, he has denied having said those things about Cheney’s assassination squad (out loud).

        That it so rapidly swept across the internet as though it were a fact, may well be indicative that some within the CIA (in concert with some who were forced out) may be applying their skills to reveal the War Crimes of the Cheney / GHW Bush regime.

          • plunger says:

            The site I first saw it on was The Nation, not to be confused with The Nation:

            Outlets which reported this include thenation.com.pk (no affiliation with U.S. news magazine The Nation.

            It took me a moment – but the suffix finally confirmed for me that the site was in Pakistan (or at least was NOT the online version of the US magazine of the same name). Several somebody’s within the CIA are laughing their ass off about this, and Cheney now knows to beware of the Monkeywrench gang that has him in their crosshairs.

            That the article also mentioned that Bin Laden was no longer alive was of significance as well. Disinformation works both ways, and those skilled enough to implement a global media blast can do so for whatever reasons they choose – even provide evidence of War Crimes.

            Spy vs. Spy – and Cheney is nervous.

            • cinnamonape says:

              What gave it away for me is that it referred to Hersh by his first name “Seymour”, as if it was his surname. That suggests foreign sourcing.

        • greenbird4751 says:

          it could be. it probably is the best way to make the point. but being so tinfoilhat it seems ludicrous, unless one is skilled in recognizing it for what it is. i become transfixed by the caliber of experience and knowledge here, and am waiting, breathless, for that scalpel to begin excising.

          • cinnamonape says:

            Of course it could be placed out there to be a diversion. If you create something that is easily established as a hoax, but which actually contains the elements of an actual assassination…or “hit squad”…you have performed a effificient countermeasure.

            Take for example the 9/11 events. Some of the claims are “crazy for cocoa puffs” [the placement of neutron bombs; the warehousing of those that actually flew on the flights in a secret location; etc.]. Some have suggested that these claims were actually promoted to delegitimize the much more likely claims rthat the Bush Administration “allowed” through actual terrorists in order to establish grounds for a Neo-Fascist administrative order. Marginalize the “9/11 investigation” as a Wacko Conspiracy Theory movement and you effectively obscure the real “conspiracy” which simply used the mechanisms and conflicts already out there.

            So while Hersh may have said “that’s not what I said”, it’s important not to take such possibilities mentioned out of the loop as “disproved” if there is independent evidence that emerges about them. Certainly Cheney’s Secret Band of men does exist. What were they doing?

            • plunger says:

              If I’m Hersh, I’m nervous about Cheney. Until this bastard is actually placed in leg irons, a lot of people are still nervous about Cheney’s CFR backing and related resources and tentacles.

      • Rayne says:

        Yeah, I’ve see corporations do it. They publish a press release in a small foreign language newspaper, which then gets picked up by a larger outlet as news but laundered of the fact it’s a press release, then the news gets picked up by English language outlets completely sanitized for readers of English language.

        The dispersion of this piece was a different tack; an outlet with name very similar to one in the U.S. got the piece, one without much if any real sourcing and a clear distortion of what was said by the only real living source. But it gets picked up by other smaller outlets, some in English, which in turn get picked up by blogs. It could have continued on except for people like Larisa Alexandrovna and Hersh’s own efforts to get the piece retracted. Now you’ll find gaping voids in some of the publications which first carried it 24 hours ago.

        But as we denizens of the internet know, the internet is forever; it’s now indexed and buried in archives and in blogs, bouncing for ever, even though the original pieces may get corrections or be yanked.

        (What’s interesting is Bhutto did actually say that bin Laden was assassinated (start about 6:00 in video)…the content at the link was put up the day of her assassination. Her interview with David Frost was dd. 02-NOV-2007, uploaded to YouTube on 03-NOV-2007 by AlJazeeraEnglish. There have been many complaints that the BBC scrubbed her comment out of the interview which is posted at their website.)

        Since I saw this yesterday, I’ve been wondering if al-Libi knew a lot about Saeed Sheikh which compromised al-Libi.

        The poorly sourced, likely planted piece also takes a stick to Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Again, more laundering on this point as his name gets shortened to “Gen. Stanley” by some of the secondary outlets.

    • greenbird4751 says:

      interesting how classic intel dispersion was preceded by sightings of the Rightwing Whitewash…

      • Rayne says:

        Equally interesting how Pincus’ article follows the dispersion of the piece published in Pakistan within 24 hours, too…firm threat, laundered and cleaned up followed by a softer threat…

  7. phred says:

    Hayden recalled an officer asking, “Will I be in trouble five years from now for what I agree to do today?”

    If that officer had real questions about the legality of what they were asked to do, they should have refused to do it. I have zero sympathy for an officer who presumes his job description includes the right to break the law without any future consequences. These people need to be prosecuted for what they have done to encourage future officers to abide by the law.

    • skdadl says:

      Right on. In March, during his conversation with Walter Mondale at the U of Minnesota, Seymour Hersh (the real Seymour Hersh — really) reported a similar question from a JSOC member:

      “I’ve had people say to me — five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee.?’”

      Those questions leave me feeling so angry. “Will I be in trouble?” Ye gods and little fishes, how could you not know, and how could that be your first question when broken bodies and minds are at stake?

      That’s why Occam’s Hatchet’s diary today is so needed right now, I guess. One major point of Nuremberg was that you don’t have to be a lawyer to know what torture is, where the lines are, and that there is an absolute interdiction on crossing them.

  8. Mary says:

    is questioning whether agency personnel can conduct interrogations effectively under rules set out for the U.S. military

    What the hell is the CIA doing conducting interrogations anyway? If they are the front line paramilitary force, like they were in the original Afghan assault, then I can understand it and they should be bound by the filed manual – they are acting as a quasi-military force. Other than that, though, interrogations should be done by qualified MI or by the FBI, depending on whether someone is going to be processed under civilian or military law.

    And you know, if this is true,

    Hayden recalled an officer asking, “Will I be in trouble five years from now for what I agree to do today?”

    here are a couple of important points. a) if you think you very well might be in trouble for it five years from now, you probably shouldn’t do it; b)if you had that ticking time bomb in the seat next to you, you wouldn’t be asking “gosh but five years after I’ve been blown up, will it have been the right thing” and so what Hayden is saying is that they know damn well that has never been an excuse for any of their illegal behaviour and most importantly c)no one has seemed to have learned, or I guess maybe they just don’t give a damn, to ask the bigger question — will my country be in trouble five years from now because of what I’m doing?

    If al-Libi had been left with Cloonan, if Zubaydah had been processed by Soufan, if KSM had been questioned by Soufan’s fellow FBI agent who had more KSM knowledge than anyone else — we might have captured bin laden and we almost definitely wouldn’t have had the Iraq war.

    Hayden wants to have everyone feel sorry for the guys who pissed on the nation and sent thousands of American soldiers to be crippled and killed, to lose their minds and their motor skills; they sent kids who joined to protect the country from al-Qaeda or to do good and help people and they used them as pawn to go out and destroy and they sent those kids home with memories of being killers and destroyers to live with that every day, but by damn, the people we should feel sorry for aren’t those kids – it’s some CIA torturer show parties around in four star hotels in between torture stops.

    You know, if the CIA hadn’t developed a culture of anything goes, maybe the CIA stations chief who was about to start raping women might have thought: gee, am I going to get in trouble for this five years from now.

    Maybe its a damn fine idea for people to ask “am I going to get in trouble for this five years from now” Maybe it’s such a damn fine thing that it’s a question that is answered by the asking.

    • Nell says:

      interrogations should be done by qualified MI or by the FBI, depending on whether someone is going to be processed under civilian or military law.

      Tut, tut, Mary! That’s such binary, pre-Obama thinking. With our (New! Improved!) Third Way military commissions, we can have Third Way interrogations to gather “evidence”.

      • Mary says:

        That’s kind of a linquistic walling you’re handing out there, you know? Cyber-causing someone to bang their own head on the wall.

        • Nell says:

          My lawyers assure me it’s perfectly legal as long as it’s conducted within the four walls of this comment section.

  9. plunger says:

    It’s time to define the CIA for what it is. An enabling enterprise whose primary role is to facilitate the goals of its overlords by any/all means necessary. The CIA is above the law. So are those who (really) control it.

    Identify the individuals who really control it, at the level above the office of the President Of The United States.

    They are meeting in Greece as we speak, and plotting the end of freedom of the press so that issues like this never again see the light of day.

  10. Mary says:

    Having read the article now, I have to say it’s this from the beginning that caught my eye:

    Harsh interrogations were only one part of its clandestine activities against al-Qaeda and other enemies, and agency members are worried that other operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan will come under review, the officials said.

    emph added

    I have to say it sounds to me like some blackmail going on. Agency officials who are torturers or torture conspirators, or who destroyed evidence or kept private stashes of pics of mutilated genitals, etc. seem to be saying, “save our butts or we may start talking about the other operations. And they probably would be things that would cause that much more meltdown in the countries at issue. Assasinations? Hostage taking? Targeting civilian families for bombing raids to send messages? Fixing elections? Engaging in drug trade and drug and arms dealings?

    I’d read that story very much as a not too veiled threat by people who have no compunction over what they do to the country as long as they save themselves from having to allocute.

    • Rayne says:

      Read the first link in (6) above (as well as the caveat).

      I think somebody spelled out the threat in detail for Deadeye.

      • Mary says:

        The stories of the US ties to the BB murder floated right after the murder (with no attempt to tie Hersh in then) so that was a resusciation effort. I know Hersh has never made any such allegation re:BB. The problem is, when you have secret death squads they are going to get blamed for a lot of things. I also know that, with a lot more “fact surround” there have been a lot off questions about disappearing weapons shipments and dealings on the drug front and while assassination is bright and shiney, following the money is what often seals the deal on criminal activities.

        A complete OT and aside, I noticed that last night Jan Schakowsky mentioned (finally someone did) that Congress is in the middle of investigating a situation where the CIA does seem to have lied outright to Congress and that it was something that even one of Pelosi’s critics (Hoekstra) would agree was a sitution of the CIA lying to Congress and he is very upset about it. THey need to go there more IMO. Lies of killing a missionaries baby – well, they don’t get a lot worse than that. Those are the sitautions where someone can skip right over the “will I get in trouble in five years” and start wondering about just what exactly hell will be like for them.

    • phred says:

      Good catch Mary. I also like the subtitle of the article:

      Intelligence Officials Privately Warn That New Rules May Hinder Their Interrogations

      Why, yes! That’s the whole idea. Glad you folks managed to figure out that key bit of information…

      Sheesh, if the CIA is this dim, we really do need to scrap it. Their incompetent interrogations got us into an unnecessary war, failed to find Bin Laden or the information needed to dismantle al-Qaeda, shredded the Constitution, and humiliated our country for being contemptible hypocrites on human rights. So um, yeah, I don’t want to just “hinder” CIA’s crappy interrogations, I want to end them. Let the professionals take over for awhile.

      • Palli says:

        and taught a generation of young soldiers how to dishonor their country. These young men and women will have to live with knowledge of a dishonorable war all their lives. Good soldiers/people are sick in their gut and bad soldiers/people have had their worst instincts endorsed.

  11. james says:

    Or as Tony Almeida said to Jack Bauer on the final episode of 24 last night paraphrasing: They get us to do their dirty work and then they get protected and walk away while everything we ever loved or respected is taken from us.

    And not only do they walk away, they walk away smirking.

  12. Leen says:

    Will the public ever have access to the damage report on how Plame’s outing by the Bush administration effected U.S. national security?

  13. fatster says:

    Despite Plan, Guantánamo Trials Still Problematic

    By WILLIAM GLABERSON
    Published: May 18, 2009

    “When he announced changes to the military commission system for prosecuting detainees at Guantánamo Bay on Friday, President Obama said his reforms “will begin to restore the commissions as a legitimate forum.”
    “But as details of the plan emerged Monday, it was clear that military commission trials would be subject to new legal challenges raising many of the same issues that plagued the Bush administration’s effort to prosecute detainees for the last seven years.
    . . .
    “Maj. David J. R. Frakt of the Air Force, another defense lawyer for a Guantánamo detainee who is facing charges, said that change indicated that several of the Obama administration’s alterations to the Bush administration’s system were what he called “minor cosmetic changes.”’

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05……html?_r=1

    And on and on and on.

  14. GregB says:

    Well, many of these people may have been sold out by Bush and Cheney but they sold out the nation themselves also.

    I’m glad that some of them are quaking in their boots. Disgusting torturers without conscience should live in fear of exposure.

    It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what abuse and torture are.

    Sweat it out folks. All of you from Cheney on down.

    -G

  15. OscarRomero says:

    I remember reading years ago that CIA officers were buying insurance that would provide them legal services if they at some later date had legal problems because of what they were being asked to do. It sounded to me at the time, and still does, that they knew what they were doing was wrong and illegal.

  16. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Want to avoid getting screwed over by elected officials? Be willing to reveal what they ordered that went beyond all acceptable guidelines and laws.

    To underscore this point: someone needs to track commercial exchanges, soil depletions, crop productivity, and demographic data (just for starters). Logically, seems like the CIA would be an outfit to keep an eye on such things.

    It cannot do that work if it’s been so completely undercut by contractors, and/or illegal ‘orders’ that it can’t function to keep an eye on the larger patterns.

    It’s only within the past 12 months that the CIA even stated publicly that climate change is a ’security issue’. For Chrissake, an NSA meteorologist said that — and explained why! — in a teevee interview with Bill Moyers back in is “World of Ideas” series in the late 1980s (!).

    The CIA needs to clean out whatever it needs to clean out.
    Crap management and Cheneybots appear to be central to that task. Think of it as a multi-decade ‘housecleaning’ and get it done. If that involves being ‘transparent’ before a court, or a subcommittee, so be it.

    I fail to see how things can really get much worse.

    • wohjr says:

      “That’s the amazing thing about life. It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse!”

      -Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes)

    • Rayne says:

      Oh dammitall, don’t these judges grok that the people are entitled to oversight???

      The other problem here is that Rep. Waxman’s HR 5811, Electronic Message Preservation Act, died in committee after passing the House last year.

      It must be resubmitted to stand a chance of ever becoming law.

      You can thank Joey “Short Ride” Lieberman for this, too, since it languished in his Homeland Security/Governmental Affairs Committee. (I better go share this in Jane’s thread about Mr. Droopy Drawers.)

  17. chrisc says:

    I seem to remember with some vagueness as to the date that there was a big purge at the CIA.
    New folks were brought in who were willing “to take more risks”. This wasn’t about the people at the top, but a huge percent of the actual agents.
    Does anyone remember when this happened?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I dimly recall, but like so much else that I encounter have no way to verify that any of that actually occurred.

      But calling people in for questioning in 2009 should also be translated as: “Congressional oversight failed, utterly and completely. Mayday! We have system failure on an epic scale.”

      2 out of 535.
      That’s how many US Representatives appear to have been briefed on CIA ‘interrogation techniques’ in 2002? That’s not ‘oversight’, that’s a mockery.

      Meanwhile, in the US Senate, it appears that oversight collapsed entirely (for more, see EW’s Torture Timeline).

      No wonder someone allied with Cheney or his CIA auks assumes that they can win this dustup with Pelosi.

      Torture‘ appears to be code for: collapse of Congressional oversight, atrociously bad ‘management’, too much ‘black budget’ money, plus silent coup by Cheney’s Shadow Government. The first three would have been necessary preludes for the fourth.

  18. maryo2 says:

    b)if you had that ticking time bomb in the seat next to you, you wouldn’t be asking “gosh but five years after I’ve been blown up, will it have been the right thing”

    Genius. How exactly true.

    • Mary says:

      *g* I’ve been watching too much late night tv.

      Still, I don’t get the CIA interrogations thing anyway. If you have that possible bomb (interrogation suspect) do you want to have a guy who is authorized to bang on it with a hammer for 30 days show up to deal with it or a guy who is, you know, trained to detect and disable bombs? Why the hell is CIA going to be doing interrogations – I don’t get it.

  19. oregondave says:

    Also note (as Peterr pointed out to me) the reference to two CIA personnel . . . preparing to testify before the grand jury this week.

    Two? How so? The quote you pulled says

    CIA personnel will appear before a grand jury this week, according to two sources familiar with the matter

    CIA personnel wiil appear. Not limited to two. Am I missing something?

    • cinnamonape says:

      Maybe misread “two sources” reporting on that Grand Jury appearance with the personnel who will be testifying. Nonetheless, it appears that it’s more than one…and still employed. I’m wondering if they will be blocked from testifying or will plead the fifth?

  20. brendanx says:

    Maybe it’s for the same reason the NKVD or the Gestapo sometimes did interrogations in lieu of military intelligence in our torture-state predecessors. It’s already a step ahead in its political zeal.

  21. timbo says:

    The problem is that Geneva covers all this. International legal precedents, put into the international legal frameworks of law by the United States itself is very clear. If you do the things that have been done under the Bush Regime, it was a war crime under Geneva. It’s very clear. What isn’t so clear is who cares much for international law anymore as an institution. Certainly in the United States, there seems to have been little care or concern given to economic legal policy beyond ignoring laws on the books, watering down those laws, etc. What will be surprising and very dangerous is if no other country in the world rises to prosecute some of the financial criminals in the United States. What will be a surprise and very dangerous is if no other country in the world rises to prosecute the war criminals obviously still under the protection of the United States.

  22. perris says:

    Although President Obama has said no CIA officers will be prosecuted for their roles in harsh interrogations if they remained within Justice Department guidelines in effect at the time, agency personnel still face subpoenas and testimony under oath before criminal, civil and congressional bodies.

    I just had a thought though

    most of the torture was performed by “contractors”, wasn’t it?

  23. Styve says:

    This could work out for the better, if the CIA is investigated for its role in doing Cheney’s dirty intelligence work, to provide cover for the illegal wars and perhaps even Cheney’s and even its own involvement in the events of 9-11-01!! Church (Committee) Bells ringing!

  24. esseff44 says:

    I am still amazed that more has not been made of the FBI director pulling his interrogators out rather than continuing with ‘enhanced’ or more ‘agressive’ techniques that they knew were over the line. I remember when it came out in the press and there was little notice of it. I couldn’t understand it then and even less now. There were FBI and (according to Ali Soufan) regular CIA who protested to their superiors. The FBI were told to leave. What happened to the regular CIA when the contractors were taking over. The FBI director had a different attitude about the “Will I be in trouble in five years if I do this?” question. General Hayden should be reminded of this as well as those who quote him. The FBI director was looking after his interrogators and the interests of the country at the same time. Again, why didn’t this make more of a ripple in the news?

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