Why Doesn’t the CIA’s Vaughn Index Match the CIA’s Vaughn Index?

Bear with me, because this is going to be weedy, even for me.

The CIA has produced two different Vaughn Index descriptions of four cables recording Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation: the cables from August 1, 2002 (page 1-2; page 24), August 7, 2002 (page 21; page 25), August 11, 2002 (page 12 or 14; page 26), and August 16, 2002 (page 23; page 27).

Basically, what happened is that the government produced a Vaughn Index for the first half of August 2002 back on May 1, but then got ordered to produce a Vaughn Index that covered a wider range of dates, which was released two days ago. The two Vaughn Indices both include these four dates (as well as the interrogation log dated August 4, 2002), which means we’ve got two versions of the index descriptions of the cable for those dates. To avoid confusing dates of cables with dates of indices, I’m going to call the first Vaughn Index–dated May 1, 2009–Vaughn A, and the second Vaughn Index–dated June 8, 2009–Vaughn B.

The series are worth comparing generally, but by comparing these same-day descriptions, we learn a few things.

Somebody (the FBI?) Left the Interrogation Site after August 6, 2002

Yesterday, I pointed out that Leon Panetta admitted that there were contractors on site whose identities could not be revealed because it’d be an unwarranted invasion of their privacy. That manifests itself as an Exemption b(6) for every single cable in Vaughn B.

Vaughn A makes different Exemption claims for the persons present. The Vaughn A August 1, 2002 description includes the same Exemption b(6) claimed in the Vaughn B August 1 description. But it also includes another person-based exemption:

Exemption b(7)(C) – This document contains the names and other personal information of law enforcement officials acting in their official duties. The disclosure of this information could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and for which there is no public interest in the disclosure. Therefore the information is protected from disclosure by Exemption b(7)(C). [my emphasis; note this strikes me as a really bogus use of this exemption]

In other words, Vaughn A claims there were personnel involved in counterterrorism operations and claims there were law enforcement personnel on site on August 1, 2002.

But Vaughn A stops making both those exemption claims after August 6. It appears someone left the interrogation site after August 6. Given that the Index claims a law enforcement exemption, I wonder if this was an FBI agent, perhaps Ali Soufan’s partner (who was supposed to have left in June)?

Vaughn B never makes a law enforcement exemption claim–but it keeps making its personnel involved in counterterrorism exemption claim, even after August 6.

Field and HQ Were Doing a Lot More Deliberation Than They Now Want to Admit

Yesterday, I noted that none of the earlier cables included policy deliberations. Given reports that the interrogators in the field were getting near-daily approvals for techniques from Alberto Gonzales, I wondered whether the CIA just cherry-picked the cables that showed no such deliberation. 

Nope. At least for the August cables, they’re just not telling us about whether or not deliberations took place. 

The Vaughn A August 1 cable claims an Exemption b(5) for "information relating to intra-agency predecisional deliberations, including preliminary evaluations, opinions, and recommendations of CIA personnel"–precisely the kind of thing we’ve heard was getting cabled back to Alberto Gonzales on a nearly daily basis. The Vaughn B August 1 cable, however, makes no such exemption claim. 

The same is true of the August 7 cables: Vaughn A claims an Exemption b(5), but Vaughn B does not.

We can’t be sure which of the August 11 cables appears in Vaughn B, but one of the two possibilities from Vaughn A claims an Exemption b(5).

(Neither version of the August 16 cable claims a deliberation exemption.)

In other words, on May 1, the CIA was trying to exempt perhaps a quarter to a third of all cables using a deliberative exemption. Now, it is making no such claim, even for some of the very same cables. We can’t say whether the same frequency of deliberation occurred in May and June as it did in August, but it’s possible. The CIA is simply not calling things deliberative that they did label deliberative just over a month ago.

CIA Is Hiding Its Raw Intelligence

There’s one more significant difference between Vaughn A and Vaughn B: Vaughn B doesn’t reveal whether a cable includes raw intelligence.

Compare these descriptions for the August 16, 2002 cable.

Vaughn A

This is an eight-page cable from the Field to CIA Headquarters. The cable includes information concerning the strategies for interrogation sessions; the use of interrogation techniques to elicit information on terrorist operations against the U.S.; reactions to the interrogation techniques, raw intelligence; and a status of threat information. The cable also includes CIA organizational information, CIA filing information, locations of CIA facilities, and the names and/or identifying information of personnel engaged in counterterrorism operations. [my emphasis]

Vaughn B

This document is a eight-page cable from the Field to CIA Headquarters. The cable includes information concerning the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, atmospheric, and behavioral comments. The cable also includes CIA organizational information, CIA filing information, locations of CIA facilities, and the names and/or identifying information of personnel engaged in counterterrorism operations.

In general, Vaughn A admits more freely that this cable strategizes about interrogation (though remember, this is not a day on which the CIA claims deliberation took place). But by far the biggest difference in these two descriptions is that Vaughn A mentions that the cable includes raw intelligence.

And note that this is an eight-page cable.

In fact, every single longer cable in Vaughn A (every cable longer than 4 pages, and all but one 4-page cable) includes raw intelligence. Yet in Vaughn B, it appears, raw intelligence is never marked.

Now, the possibility that cable length correlates with the amount of intelligence collected has a very important implication. All the longest cables come from the earliest period of Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation, including what is by far the longest cable, 28 pages, on May 6, 2002. So if the pattern shown in the Vaughn A August cables were to hold up (that is, that there is a correlation between page length and the collection of raw intelligence), then it would show that the CIA was collecting more information when the FBI interrogators were present–and more information before they started the worst kinds of torture with Abu Zubaydah.

All of this certainly raises the question of whether the patterns shown in the August cables exist in the earlier cables. Just as importantly, it raises the question of why the CIA, describing the very same cables, has given significantly different descriptions of why it can’t turn over those cables.

39 replies
  1. DeadLast says:

    Is this due to:

    A) Incompentece,
    B) Bait and switch,
    C) Misdirection, or
    D) Setting someone up for payback?

    • LabDancer says:

      Granting general reliability to Tim Weiner’s comprehensive history of the agency’s performance, no one can discount any item on that list, or a much longer one in the same vein.

      But having been involved in this weediest of areas in the context of a number of court cases, some intensely [noting that for those in the latter group, the outcomes of the skirmishes and battles over privilege claims and disclosure often ended up deciding the overall outcome], there’s a few basic rules of thumb:

      [a] The product of the first review is invariably the most ill-considered — and by ill-considered, I mean in the vein of slipshod, brain-dead, poorly informed, inconsiderate, imprudent, lazy, formula-istic, useless, misleading, disingenuous and fraudulent.

      There’s any number of factors that contribute to this; I’ll only note here in passing what IMO is the most important: the first review tends to be performed by those most contemptuous of any subsequent review or court process, and as well most disengaged from the expertise and accountability that formal reviews and court procedures require. IOW: those on the front are most likely to give the least of a shit about third party accountability.

      [b] This shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone who’s spent any serious amount of time in a bureaucratic setting: there’s a tendency for that contempt to end up being reciprocated at the third party review level.

      Again, there are multiple factors that can contribute to this tendency, but I’ll note the one that-IMO-is the most important: judges and other reviewing authorities who perceive that contempt and find themselves moved to do something about it don’t have immediate access to the frontliners to yell at, kick, threaten and sanction. IOW: shit runs downhill.

      [c] It’s not really unusual at all that, in cases involving any serious degree of complexity or controversy, or both, on the one hand, and sufficient incentive for a determined contest between the parties on the other, more than one Vaughn index or its effective equivalent gets produced.

      Most often, this works to the advantage of the side challenging the claims — assuming a serious contest and the side challenging knows its stuff.

      [d] The closer one is to the earlier process of asserting claims — the more remote one is from the third party review — the greater the tendency to over-extend claims like executive privilege and deliberative process.

      I posit we saw a lot of this in letters by Fred Fielding from when he took over as Bush’ White House counsel.

      Whether that tells on the third party review process is much in the eye of the beholder. A lot of folks, lawyers or nay, assume this automatically creates a huge credibility problem for the government side; but in reality the process by which the pool of federal court judges gets stocked tends to build in a greater tolerance for executive branch ‘foibles’.

      Anyway: deliberative process is a cheap, easily and frequently mis-appreciated, and routinely over-used claim, at least in the first instance, and it’s not unusual to see it greatly reduced if not disappeared completely on any serious pressure at the court level.

      [e] But it’s also the case that, as deliberate process claims trend towards disappearing, personal privilege claims tend to appear and proliferate.

      Fearless leader captures the general view of this category among those who practice on the challenger side: “bogus”; but I note that invoking it brings about a categorically denser process, one that on the one hand promises to be mechanically more arduous and slower, and on the other provides greater power to the judge; but then also drafts the judge into a trickier role: the judge gets to see more — or should do so — but has more persons whose rights have to be attended to, persons who don’t have the benefit of their own personal lawyer present to argue for their interests.

      So you can see how cautious and experienced lawyers for the government side at the court level are inclined to resort to raising it: it increases the appearance if not the likelihood of prudent deliberation, and passes at least some of the buck.

      A final dynamic: in the context of a criminal trial, the judge is going to hear a lot more and feel more heat about what upholding the claim does to the defendant’s ability to defend; it’s more abstract in a FOIA contest.

      • TarheelDem says:

        To what extent might Vaughn A have more expansive and less justifiable exemption claims than Vaughn B, given your explanation?

        To what extent might Vaughn A been written to avoid an in camera validation and Vaughn B assume that for some items the court might order exactly such a validation of the CIA claims?

      • TheraP says:

        I found your long explanation of the dynamics of bureaucracy-facing-accountability fascinating. And I’m wondering if the stages you describe might apply to other situations. For example to the psychologist/experimenters vis a vis the principals looking for data. Or even better, whether your observations would fit how the principals reacted as they began to see the way their little program had gotten out of control and migrated to where soldiers began documenting it in trophy photographs.

        So I just wonder if you could enlarge those ideas beyond the situation of judicial oversight to how some of these other interpersonal dynamics (within a sets of bureaucracies) might have played out at the “choice points” we’re focused on with regard to the torture program, its “legalization” (what do you call a fictional legalization?), and all the cover-ups that seem to have happened along the way.

        Just throwing that out in case you – or someone – might be able to stretch those principles you laid out to cover other somewhat parallel situations.

    • emptywheel says:

      In spite of LabDancer’s very smart comment at 2, I vote unreservedly for C) Misdirection.

      Remember that the CIA itself decided it’d be all cooperative and offer up a Vaughn for August. But then Hellerstein said, “nuh uh, we’re considering whether or not you contemptuously destroyed evidence that was part of this suit, we want to see stuff from the entire period.”

      So he made them submit a selection from April on. And that’s when their own practice of FOIA response changed, and it changed at the same time at which teh CIA, selecting “every 10″ document, just happened to select disproportionately less from May.

      That suggests they’re trying to hide May.

      Their reasons for doing so are fairly easy to guess: They want to hide the success of teh FBI agents (thus, they can’t tell us how much raw intell they got to prevent us from comparing), they want to hide the conflict between the FBI and CIA over torture, and they want to hide that deliberations on torture that were going long before OLC authorized those techniques.

      • emptywheel says:

        Plus, there’s no reason to believe the CIA was being LESS responsive in Vaughn A, since they’re telling us more information (the raw intelligence) and their not sustaining their Contractor FOIA Exemption after August 6.

  2. Loo Hoo. says:

    Maybe it’s because of Cheney’s brazen attack on the Obama administration on May 10th.

    CHENEY: Well, I need to be careful here, Bob, because it’s still classified. The way to answer this is give us the memos. Put them out there. Release them to the press. Let everybody take a look and see.

    What it shows is that overwhelmingly, the process we had in place produced from certain key individuals, such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, two of the three who were waterboarded, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the man who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11, blew up the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon, tried to blow up the White House or the Capitol building. An evil, evil man that’s been in our custody since March of ‘03. He did not cooperate fully in terms of interrogations until after waterboarding. Once we went through that process, he produced vast quantities of invaluable information about Al Qaida.

    I have no idea, far too weedy for me, but those were some mighty fighting words.

  3. behindthefall says:

    Neatly done! (I hope you had a diff utility and didn’t have to scan A and B by hand/eye.) The correlation with cable length is a big, red, “Look At Me” sign, once you know it’s there.

  4. plunger says:

    All of this quote by Cheney:

    “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the man who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11, blew up the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon, tried to blow up the White House or the Capitol building.”

    Is a lie. None of this has been or can be proven. It’s a lie – and Cheney knows for a fact that it’s a lie.

  5. plunger says:

    As for the length of the earliest cables – assumed to be transcripts of Q&A style interrogation, it seems to me that an interview (think deposition) would result in a longer transcript in general than one derived from simply pouring water up someone’s nose and beating the shit out of them.

  6. freepatriot says:

    cuz the CIA is a group of paid liars

    I can’t keep givin ya all these answers for free, ew

    we’re gonna have to renegotiate my contract …

  7. klynn says:

    Their reasons for doing so are fairly easy to guess: They want to hide the success of teh FBI agents (thus, they can’t tell us how much raw intell they got to prevent us from comparing), they want to hide the conflict between the FBI and CIA over torture, and they want to hide that deliberations on torture that were going long before OLC authorized those techniques.

    Has the court sought docs from FBI during this same time period? I do not recall seeing anything.

    I still think their Contractor FOIA Exemption is one the court can get around due to the potential “lawbreaking” actions.

  8. plunger says:

    Cheney received the results of the FBI interrogations and said:

    “This isn’t what we want – this doesn’t do us any good – we don’t want the truth, we want what we want – we want them to say what we want them to say, not what’s true…get the FBI out of there and send in the goon squad to kick some ass and coerce some false confessions.”

  9. klynn says:

    You know, if we were getting good intel (via FBI interrorgation) before torture, as Whitehouse noted in his speech you linked to in an earlier post and you are inferring by the index content; then, I wonder if the no-bid contracts for the torture might have violated gov acquisition policy (violation of statute) and broken laws of contract notification? If the argument is “to get more information” and the FBI was getting information, then the services provided by the torture did not result in more information, nor could be labeled “sole source”. Which means the “justifications” for the contract did not meet the gov listed justifications perhaps? Sounds like a question to ask Whitehouse in light of what you see in this Vaunghn index comparison?

    IANAL, so I do not understand all this contract lingo. Here you go on “Other Than Full and Open Competition” Additionally, do I read this gov doc correctly? The EO has authority to approve these “Other Than…” on their own without notification?

    • TheraP says:

      Well, maybe “volume” of intelligence was not the outcome goal. If the psychologists’ experimental objective was to reduce the detainee to a state of total helplessness and dependency, rather than to elicit information, then, unfortunately, they were successful.

      Which leads me to a tiny rant about my profession. Psychology is riven between an experimental faction and a clinical faction. The experimental folks use abuse animals. And they’re seeking to “learn” from their sadism. Not all of them fall into this category. But this is the kind of category our psychologist/experimenter/war criminals fall.

      What galls me most of all, well ok ONE of the most galling things, is that these war criminals experimenting on prisoners were only interested in one goal. Reducing the human being to a state akin to a plant. A decaying plant. A malleable rotting vegetable.

      Whereas, for us clinician types, the relationship with the detainee would have been primary. For me, it would be to heal. For another clinician type interested in intelligence, it would be to engage the person in a joint effort to – together – produce an accurate picture of something.

      If you destroy the personality, you also destroy any potential for a collaborative relationship. In addition you produce a tortured soul. But the sadistic experimenter has no concern for “soul” – only for behavior. They want to destroy autonomy. To destroy expectations (upon which you can build trust). To destroy any sense of control, i.e. to produce helplessness.

      The goals are completely different between these two types of psychologists. The experimenter is after producing control. Exercising control. Finding techniques that control. Looking for evidence of that control having its desired effect. The goal: To dehumanize. And they did it!

      Whereas, the clinician is after autonomy. After collaboration. In this instance you could consider “volume of intelligence” gathered.

      Just thinking about this “other side” – this dark and evil side of a discipline (to which supposedly I belong) makes my blood boil.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Having researched the awards for some of these contractors, including the largest, Tate Inc., I can tell you that they are awarded on the basis of “open competition”. However, as one former member of JPRA (parent of SERE) told me, there was little incentive to advertise these bids as there was “a closed community of hiring among old SERE/Pararescue community cronies”. This “closed community” consists of former Spec Ops and Intel officers, various officers who circulated through JPRA and its predecessors, etc. In other words, the operational guys had set up their own contracting companies and then would put out an “open bid”, but of course, only they knew about it. And if an up-start were to try and compete, they would be blackballed by the rest of the community.

      As for other general comments about the longer May cables vs the later cables, and whether it meant they were getting more “raw intel” in that stage than later (all intel produced upon interrogation is “raw intel”, i.e., not analyzed), seems possible. But this doesn’t necessarily mean much. No matter what the interrogation, the early period is when the best info comes in. The whole theory on coercive interrogation is to prolong the “shock of capture” as long as you can, because it’s known that the period of disorientation at the beginning is what produces the loosening of the tongue, or greatest amount of cooperation… though not necessarily propagandistic false confessions!

      It is incorrect, IMHO, to also pose that there was an earlier non-torture period of interrogation on AZ, and a later torture period. This is partly spin by the FBI, who clearly used coercive methods, which Soufan admitted would not pass Geneva standards. You can call these “cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment” (CIDT), a la Convention Against Torture, if you wish, but I call it torture, nevertheless. In fact, during the period of what Soufan called good intel production, as Soufan himself describes it, FBI cycled with CIA/Mitchell in interrogating AZ, in what is called a Mutt and Jeff or Good cop/Bad cop kind of action. Whether that was intended or not, I can’t say (Soufan would say no), but that’s what it amounted to.

      What did come in later was the EID. The FBI was used to operating in conditions of CIDT, but not heavier techniques, like waterboarding, etc. Still, remember, they did not find it so outrageous that as an agency it took them months to make any formal protest, and the myth that they quickly pulled their agents is spin. (Soufan chose to leave, the other FBI stayed, and as EW points out, maybe longer than previously indicated.)

      The elongation of the AZ interrogation was most likely, after whatever period of intel production had mostly concluded, for the purposes of experimentation and punishment (sadism), and the production of false confessions (not just on Iraq, but to give up names). Also, I’m sure, as in these cases, there was a question of what they call “the disposal problem.”

      By the way, FBI wasn’t so upset with Mitchell-Jessen that within two years of the interrogation/torture, top members of the FBI went into business with M-J “governing persons.”

      • emptywheel says:


        Thanks for making that point–you raise a number of really important points.

        Just to clarify–I’m not applauding the FBI stuff, per se. But focusing on it is likely to be the quickest route to the guys who set up this regime. So please keep reminding me that that’s not enough, and I’ll keep gnawing at the bits that might break through.

        • Jeff Kaye says:

          I get what you’re saying and totally applaud your efforts to find those bits that will bring down that motley crew, and set them up (I hope) for prosecution, and from that standpoint, you are right re the changes around the FBI and the switch to total control by Mitchell and Co.

          34 – klynn, I saw that comment and looked at the article, re CACI International and their blanket security agreements. Now I’m no expert on all this contracting business, and I took my understanding re “open competition” from the website where they had to indicate whether it was open bidding or not. But that doesn’t mean it really was open bidding, which the WashPo article seems to say:

          Because CACI had a lock on all of these contracts, none of the requests were announced to the public.

          That is, formally, they can be “open”, but no effort is really made to publicize them. That’s what it seems to me. Then there’s the open nature of the contracts. I found one between a group called MARC Inc and the Army, where there was an award of some 7 million and an “option” for another year (I assume, with no bid).

          What seems clear to me is that the system is quite broken, and open to tremendous amounts of corruption, which is what I have privately heard is happening from those within the system (especially those in the military who are observing all this, but are not part of it).

          As for the legal consequences re FOIA, SAPs, etc. for contractors of the kind of bid made or contract, I leave that to you, EW, and others, because I can’t quite understand it, and it would take more time than I have to figure that aspect out.

          Re Open competition on a bid, here’s a link to a contractor’s award, to show you the kind of thing I’m looking at.

  10. phred says:

    EW, how soon might Hellerstein rule on the recent stonewalling and what might we expect him to do in response? Care to speculate?

    • emptywheel says:

      The briefing schedule on contempt goes through July 31. So we’ll start to see filings in the next couple of weeks, but the decision on contempt will be in August–barring any further delays.

      • phred says:

        Thanks EW! So what other filings might there be? Does CIA consider its work done now that Panetta has stated the court gets nothin’? Or will they have more homework to turn over to the judge yet? Are there other government filings we can anticipate or is the ball back in the ACLU’s court and the next filings will be from them?

  11. klynn says:

    Sorry to go OT:

    Jane is up with an updated whip count on the FDL Action. Help make a call today. Lots of progress being made. There is also a link in the comments to NPRCheck linking to the FDL whip count tool (very cool recognition there and great netroots networking).

  12. Rayne says:

    Very easy to see the exception, klynn. Who else was in the same line of business as Mitchell-Jessen?

    Being a sane person believing the U.S. government was attempting to get legitimate intelligence from intransigent terror associates, you might believe that a no-bid award was inappropriate for work an existing government agency could do successfully.

    But you’re sane. The administration wanted some other service for which there are no other commercial bidders. You could call it ”torture,” but it was probably ”influence under duress” or something closer to that, with the added fillip of providing detailed analysis for use in training other intra-government agencies. And M-J also had previous experience working with the government in a defensive position, where any other potential bidders would not have such cred.

    And then the no-bid was extended under a BPA by DOI because DOI has no previously approved bidders for these services — whereas DOD does, and DOD needs to be able to maintain that pool of bidders for their own use without mucking up relations and access to them with a new supplier.

    There, this actually answers why DOI, and possibly why DOS for CACI’s contract if their services were deemed unique compared to those of other potential bidders.

    Nice job with pulling up that gov doc!

    • klynn says:

      Oh, I see the “exception” but I am coming from the angle of public statements made by Bush and Cheney that “actionable intel” came from EIT/torture. Eventually, the hidden nature, to get false intel, cannot keep up with the contract “justification”. You cannot secretly seek false intel by labling it intel for national security, and in turn make public statements that you got actionable intel from “sole source” contractors without it eventually showing the conflict regarding the justification for the contract.

      Based on that gov doc I linked to, someone had to “justify” that their work as sole source for intel was the only sole source. That contract stating “sole source” justification would be an interesting read. I wish the courts would request it.

  13. WilliamOckham says:

    These differences are by design. The two indexes list documents from two different, but overlapping sets.From the May 5th Letter:

    In response to earlier orders, the CIA originally identified approximately 3,000 documents potentially responsive to paragraph 3 of the Court’s April 20, 2009 Order. Those 3,000 records included “contemporaneous records,” which were created at the time of the interrogations or at the time the videotapes were viewed, “intelligence records,” which do not describe the interrogations but contain raw intelligence collected from the interrogations, “derivative records,” which summarize information contained within the contemporaneous records, and documents related to the location of the interrogations that, upon further review by the CIA, were determined not to relate to the interrogations or to the destroyed videotapes.

    With respect to paragraph 3 of the April 20, 2009 Order, the parties jointly propose that the Government address the contemporaneous and derivative records, but not the intelligence records or the other records that ultimately proved to be unrelated to the interrogations or the videotapes.

    • emptywheel says:

      That doesn’t, in the least, explain why the exact same cables are described differently.

      The August 1 cable is the same August 1 cable in both indices, ditto the August 16 cable, and should have the same FOIA exemptions and content. They don’t. The difference in the definition of the set should in no way change the descriptions the CIA gives the judge, but they did.

      WHy did the CIA change its level of sensitivity for deliberative content?
      Why did the CIA stop listing which cables include raw materials?
      Why did the CIA’s exemptions for personnel change?

      Those should not change because the set changes, because the cables, themselves, remain precisely the same. But they did.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        They are NOT the same documents. The Aug 16 documents aren’t even the same number of pages.

        • WilliamOckham says:

          Oops, I was looking at the wrong document. It wouldn’t be the first time ew was right and I was wrong. Going back to look more closely

  14. JimWhite says:

    because the cables, themselves, remain precisely the same

    Well, this is the CIA we’re talking about here. I wish I could share your faith in that statement.

  15. lurkinlil says:

    But Vaughn A stops making those both those exemption claims after August 6.

    2nd para after the quote.

    I think your fingers can’t keep up with your brain.

  16. klynn says:

    Jeff, thanks for your comments. A while back, I referenced this article with questions in this EW post irt contractors.

    So, I was under the impression, based on this WaPo article, that not all contracts were awarded under “open competition”. After reading the WaPO article, I started doing some of my own research on the side, when I could, and began to discover the feature vs bug issues of BPA’s and funneled no-bids via the BPA’s. Thus, all my questions. When researching the no-bids via BPA’s, it does become a bit of a budget process “black hole” to track the contracts.

    Actually, it was nice to read that your research has come across contracts filed as “open competition”.

    That makes the liability questions I have had more interesting.

  17. 1boringoldman says:

    … then it would show that the CIA was collecting more information when the FBI interrogators were present–and more information before they started the worst kinds of torture with Abu Zubaydah.

    That’s what we think. That’s what Sheldon Whitehouse thinks. But that’s sure not what the C.I.A. or Big Dick want us to think.

    I expect that these differences in the Index are best understood by the dates – May 1 and June 8. On May 11th, Greg Sargent called our attention to these lines in a WaPo article:

    Government officials familiar with the CIA’s early interrogations say the most powerful evidence of apparent excesses is contained in the “top secret” May 7, 2004, inspector general report, based on more than 100 interviews, a review of the videotapes and 38,000 pages of documents. The full report remains closely held, although White House officials have told political allies that they intend to declassify it for public release when the debate quiets over last month’s release of the Justice Department’s interrogation memos…

    Ever since the announcement of that report’s coming release, it seems like people are girding up to deal with it. Cheney came out swinging on May 21st. The C.I.A. tune is changing, as you point out. But if the report is indeed released without too many black redact marks, Cheney and the C.I.A. have quite a dance in front of them.

    Frankly, I wonder if Big Dick still has some influence at Langley [or is their C.Y.A. maneuvering all on their own]. It’s a bit too coordinated for comfort. Is Cheney still haunting the halls of government from the crypt?

  18. acquarius74 says:


    Now, the possibility that cable length correlates with the amount of intelligence collected has a very important implication. All the longest cables come from the earliest period of Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation, including what is by far the longest cable, 28 pages, on May 6, 2002.


    On May 6, 2002 Bush sent a note to the UN Secretary General that the US would not become a member of the International Criminal Court.

    Bush had done nothing from his Jan, 2001 inauguration about Clinton’s signing on to the Rome agreement [i.e.not sent the treaty to congress for advise and consent] – some 14 months, yet he chooses that same day to send the note of refusal to the UN. Somehow I can’t shake the idea that the 2 events are connected. I think that at that point they knew they had committed war crimes, and evading the law was their focus as Mary says.

  19. alinaustex says:

    Panetta whilst the Director of the Monterrey Institute came out against torture at least twice publically – Could this dog and pony show that the CIA is now doing be an elaborate attempt to ensnare the bushcheney war criminals ? Panetta I believe knows that the public record is contradictory – ie what was and was not reported to the Congress. Are there enablers at the CIA such as Rizzio that Panetta would like to see punished with the rest of the war criminals-(and at the same time protect his ‘good guys ” there )?
    Does anyone have any idea when the Durham investigation will be completed? Durham’s mandate appears to have been expanded -and could very well implicate some of the former OVP cretins re Addington.
    Does anyone have any information whether or not Secretary Salazar is looking into the allegations that bushcheney used the Interior Dept as a cutout of sorts to hire the contractors that committed torture and other war crimes ?
    DeadLast may be right this could very well be the outlines of the career professionals setting up gwb 43 for a really thorough “pay back “.

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