The WaPo Declares Itself Unable to Find the Truth

The WaPo wants you to know that it–one of the most storied newspapers in American history–is absolutely incapable of sorting through the facts about whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s torture turned him into a helpful college professor of terror.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result.

So, throwing up its institutional hands and declaring itself unable to find the truth, let’s look at what it does instead.

First, in a 1,400 word article written with the assistance of both of WaPo’s spook reporters, they neglect to mention that, after KSM’s most intense torture ended, the CIA started to use rapport-based interrogation with him. I guess they didn’t think that little detail–that the treatment of KSM immediately preceding the time when he was so cooperative and helpful actually adopted a different approach to interrogation–was worthy of mention.

And that is particularly remarkable considering the most detailed story of that rapport-based interrogation also includes the details about KSM’s helpful lecturing that–the WaPo now claims–have previously not been publicized. Call me crazy, but I’m betting the same CIA sources that told the NYT about how successful rapport was with KSM are among those boasting to WaPo about KSM’s little lecture circuit. But I guess the WaPo, faced with this "irresolvable" problem, doesn’t want to muddy its confusion by mentioning, even once, the use of rapport-based interrogation with KSM.

Then there’s the WaPo’s chronological muddying. It treats several different kinds of sources–the IG Report, the Pre-Eminent Source document written in the wake of and almost certainly as a response to the IG Report, and the human sources boasting of KSM’s lecture series–as if there were no temporal or reliability distinction between the them. Which means they use events that happened in 2005 and 2006, the lecture series, to reinforce claims made by a propagandistic document produced on July 13, 2004. Both of which, of course, happened long after KSM’s torture. But that doesn’t stop the WaPo from implying a causal effect between the torture and the cooperation that happened years later.

This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques. 

And, while we’re on chronological muddying, it bears mentioning that the WaPo doesn’t note that KSM went from capture to torture in a matter of weeks, so any claim that he was uncooperative–weighed against two years of rapport-based interrogation–is completely  bogus.

Ultimately, though, what the WaPo shows is that KSM immediately offered up some information,

KSM almost immediately following his capture in March 2003 elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow airport

Gave false information under torture…

"During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I’m sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time," he said. 

And gave false information after torture.

One former agency official recalled that Mohammed was once asked to write a summary of his knowledge about al-Qaeda’s efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist group had explored buying either an intact nuclear weapon or key components such as enriched uranium, although there is no evidence of significant progress on that front

"He wrote us an essay" on al-Qaeda’s nuclear ambitions, the official said. "Not all of it was accurate, but it was quite extensive."

Yet from this, they seemingly willfully declare the whole problem irresolvable.

This article is fundamentally immoral and irresponsible. The WaPo had an opportunity to show the progression of KSM’s treatment: almost immediately to torture, then to rapport, and after that, helpful though still not entirely reliable contributions. Showing such a progression would actually help the WaPo and its readers to make sense of this so-called "irresolvable" problem by seeing, first of all, that CIA didn’t try other methods with KSM until after he had been tortured and that it was months and years of rapport, not the torture, most closely tied to his cooperation. 

But that would involve a concerted effort to get to the truth. And once you’ve declared the issue irresolvable, I guess, that just takes too much effort.

108 replies
  1. BoxTurtle says:

    I have to wonder if the reporters are just stupid or if they’re getting specific direction from on high as to the content and conclusions in their writing.

    No, I don’t have to wonder. The same publisher is still in charge and she’s signing the paychecks of the same editors. I liked it better when they were outright selling access, rather than pretending to write unbiased articles.

    Boxturtle (My first response to this post’s title was “So what else is new?”)

  2. PeteG60 says:

    How much do the Republicans pay the Washington Post journalists? This is the most misleading headline I have ever read (and the Print edition only carries the more misleading headline). The headline could just have been “Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated When He was not subjected to Waterboarding”.

    Furthermore the article says: “KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete”. He was caught in March 2003 and subjected to 183 waterboardings that month alone. He wasn’t even subjected to traditional methods for a month. And waterboarding did not reveal any crucial information either. And years after waterboarding when he was not subject to it and was subject to traditional methods- he started cooperating.

    Shame to the Washington Post and these authors for writing such a misleading article and for carrying Cheney’s water.

  3. fatster says:

    Yes, this is so low of the WaPo that it brings to mind the “dustbin of history and gnawing criticism of the mice” comment from the 19th Century. Oh, speaking of centuries, a typo at: “July 13, 1004″.

  4. alinaustex says:

    My question is how can a decent professional reporters such as Dana Priest be still working for WaPo -WTF over ?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Money. Ideological bias that matches the editorial board. Blackmail.

      Boxturtle (Would not use the word “professional” to refer to any current WaPo staff, though the pressmen are probably okay)

  5. Jeff Kaye says:

    I want to spin a little off this whole issue of the “effectiveness” of the interrogation techniques (something Tom Parker of Amnesty rightly called “a fool’s game” in the WashPo article), to make note of the issue as it arose in the least covered of all the recent government statements of the past week or so.

    In the release of “recommendations” by the Obama Task Force on interrogations, we find this small tidbit:

    In addition, the Task Force recommended that a scientific research program for interrogation be established to study the comparative effectiveness of interrogation approaches and techniques, with the goal of identifying the existing techniques that are most effective and developing new lawful techniques to improve intelligence interrogations.

    The task force recommended ongoing use of the Army Field Manual (as is) for interrogations, the ongoing use of rendition, and the creation of a “High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), that would bring together the most effective and experienced interrogators and support personnel from across the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense and law enforcement. The creation of the HIG would build upon a proposal developed by the Intelligence Science Board.”

    The Intelligence Science Board put out Educing Information (big PDF) a couple years ago, and the bottom line for this collection of psychologists and social scientists was that we needed a lot more “research” on the “effectiveness” of interrogation techniques. This represents a gravy train for behavioral and social scientists, who have proven themselves only too willing to attach themselves to the national security locomotive. I’m not surprised to see this line parroted in the Washington Post, as it is now the official line of the administration.

    Instead of investigations and prosecutions (holding judgment on the Durham investigation), we get grants and contracts to the very same social/behavioral science establishment that brought us KUBARK, “learned helplessness”, sensory deprivation “research”, etc. Academia and the medical/psychological establishments have been very motivated to keep their seat at the military/CIA’s torture table.

  6. Bloix says:

    Marcy, when I picked up my paper this morning I looked at the story and said, what a coincidence that this story would come out this week – and just in time for the Sunday talking head shows. And then I said,this can’t possibly be true, otherwise, why wait until now to print it – I’ll just have to wait for Marcy to show me where the lies are. Thanks again.

  7. lllphd says:

    OT – apologies, but watching obama’s eulogy to teddy, he mentioned that ted had – after 9/11 – called every single surviving family member, and every anniversary since wrote them each a letter (in addition to seeing to it that these people received counseling, assistance, and even took them sailing, etc.).

    to CNN’s credit, the camera caught the profile of one george w. bush, stony and – one has to hope – shamed at the enormous contrast.

    • skdadl says:

      I think that Obama said every family of a victim from Massachusetts, but still, that was a huge task, I’m sure.

      When we first heard of the diagnosis, I sent a brief message through a link someone here gave us, and I admitted that I was a foreigner who simply wished the senator and his family well. They needn’t have paid any attention to me at all, but I got an articulate and thoughtful message back within a couple of weeks. Who knows who wrote it, but that doesn’t happen unless someone is setting the example. I was impressed and touched, as I was by today’s ceremony.

      Several times the camera caught Dubya with odd smirks and twitches, I thought. What a graceless travesty that man was, for all of us, a nasty trick played on the whole world.

      • lllphd says:

        you’re right, and i should have made that distinction, ted called all the MA victims. still, as you point out, that was no small sum. i know because a colleague was involved in the grieving therapy offered to those folks, a service afforded them largely from the efforts of …ted kennedy.

        fwiw, here is my experience of kennedy’s immense sense of responsiveness as a public servant, a fact about his offices that is legend in MA.
        soon after i moved to the boston area (from the deep south, where such political representation was unthinkable), some paperwork snafu with sallie mae left them convinced i was in default on my student loans. i’d been in deferment because of post-docs and internship, which was still the case, but they would not relent. (and why should they? their loans are federally guaranteed, which means they are NO risk to the shareholders; if someone defaults, they get the windfall payment, courtesy of the taxpayers!)

        someone suggested i contact kennedy’s office, as education was a huge passion of his, so i wrote a letter with the story and enclosed the pertinent documents. my argument was that i was willing to pay but not yet able, and still met the deferment restrictions, only a paperwork glitch had interfered with sallie mae’s timely awareness of these details.

        i mailed the letter about a week before i left for the holidays with my family, expecting to maybe get a form letter back sometime in january saying they’d investigate (of course leading to many more months), and eventually being encouraged to appeal through sallie mae’s process. instead, when i returned, there was already a letter back (within three weeks of mailing mine), and it was not just a personal detailed response (from staff, but still had his signature), but the problem was completely solved. completely. i did not have to go through an appeal within sallie mae, i didn’t have to produce any further documentation, i didn’t have to do anything except call sallie mae to make sure they did everything right in clearing my account.

        now THAT, i thought, is representation in action. since then, i’ve heard more and more stories such as mine, and i’m sure everyone here has been reading them, too. many of them powerful, far more powerful than mine, but i can tell you, since that incident i have been in awe of the man. i also understand kerry has patterned his office after ted’s, but not to the same matchless effect.

        years later i met him at a local function (at which he waxed eloquent on the power of a liberal democracy, completely without notes), and was blessed to shake his hand, twice. the second time i just happened upon him as he was leaving the building and no one else was around, so i was able to thank him directly for helping me out at such an intense moment of need. he looked puzzled, but i just said, it doesn’t matter what you did, as i’m sure you’ve forgotten it in all the other work you do. just know i’ve always been grateful, and am now grateful to be able to tell you how much.

        he smiled and shook my hand with both of his. always happy to help, he said. and off he went.

        we’ve lost the maestro, folks; the mold is broken. until someone comes along to approach his skills and his passion and his conscience, we’ll have to keep his spirit alive.

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        Several times the camera caught Dubya with odd smirks and twitches, I thought. What a graceless travesty that man was, for all of us, a nasty trick played on the whole world.

        I noticed the same thing. He was (perhaps) embarrassed by the life he has lived. I was prepared to self-explode had Cheney been there.

        Ted Jr. was terrific, huh?

      • LabDancer says:

        I got this impression that while President Obama was relating Senator Kennedy’s contact with the families of Mass. 9/11 dead, President Kennedy was looking down-pew at President Worstever to catch the latter’s reaction to or attention on this deft shot.

        [That guy can bring some eulogy, can’t he?]

        • skdadl says:

          President Kennedy was looking down-pew at President Worstever …

          Heh — you meant President Clinton (ie, not Kennedy), didn’t you, LD?

          Yes, Obama, like Clinton, is just ever so well-spoken. Me, I’m too angry to make nice with those guys on that basis. I think we should write a song for the Obama administration and hire Aretha to sing it at them. We all join in on “T-O-R-T-U-R-E!”

          As for Cheney’s interview, someone should tell the aspirant author that no good book editor is gonna let him get away with “sort of overwhelming.”

          “See here, Mr Cheney. Either it was ’sort of’ or it was ‘overwhelming.’ It can’t have been both. Please make up your mind.”

          Actually, there was a New Yorker cartoon not so long ago that featured an editor saying to a bearded author, “See here, Mr Dickens. Was it the best of times or was it the worst of times? Please make up your mind.” (Or something close to that — from memory.)

          In my defence, I state simply that I do not believe that Dick Cheney is Dickens reincarnate, and besides, that paragraph from Dickens makes me seasick, however good it is. Or was. At the time. Also.

  8. Spotsy says:

    I couldn’t read the article in the WaPo this morning. The headline said it all. Thank you, EW, for reading it and taking it apart. How can the Post publish such blatant lies over and over? (Rhetorical question)

      • skdadl says:


        except where I have used square brackets, use angle brackets:

        ETA: Heh. I can’t seem to make my angle brackets show.

        ETA2: Well, y’know, the li’l thingies above the comma and the period.

        • PJEvans says:

          you want ampersand (that’s &)and gt; or lt; for those. (lt is over the comma)
          You don’t need anything around them.
          for example, [& + gt;] gives you this: [>]

      • mpower1952 says:

        Hey Marcy, better get your facts straight or those MSM types will be trashing your posts.”g”

        But seriously, do any of those “big time” types ever contact you for your expertise? Even as an anonymous source? I’m sure they wouldn’t want to admit that a dfh blogger knows more than they do.

  9. Ruth Calvo says:

    Avoiding the truth is the purpose of research only when it doesn’t fit your ideology. It’s been reported often enuff, even in WaPo, that torture damages us and produces no useful info.

  10. tjbs says:

    EW there is no rest for the weary on this trail of sorrows. take care…

    I want to see the film of him giving a coherent lecture after being partially drowned 183 times , remembering the treasonous torturer’s boast that once he withstood 1 1/2 minutes before breaking and giving these lectures in fluent English no less? The guy’s brain is mush.
    But I bet Dick quotes this as proof, right there on the Wash. Post.

  11. 1boringoldman says:

    I was disappointed in the CIA Report for its absence of any real analysis of the overall approach itself. We have been repeatedly reminded that, after 9/11, we were desperate to know al Qaeda’s Plans, and that has been either the stated or implied justification for this over-the-line program’s existence – something like “You got to understand. We’ve got to find out what al Qaeda is up to to protect the American people!” All of us know that, and at some level agree. But is regression to some slightly sanitized ancient torture dungeon the way to achieve that goal? I found nothing in the report that addressed this question directly. In fact, with the exception of the testimony of FBI Agent Ali Soufan in a Congressional Hearing, interviews, and an op-ed, nobody seems to want to address this question.

    In this post, you’re making the same complaint – the Washington Post is punting when they’ve got a real opportunity to make the yardage and set up the goal. Your star is rising, EW. How about a Washington Post op-ed from America’s Number One Ladies Detective Agency?

  12. eCAHNomics says:

    I think KSM is a flaming egomaniac, and would boast and lecture regardless of how he was treated. Doubt that much he said was true.

  13. eCAHNomics says:

    Besides which, it doesn’t matter how a particular case turned out. A single example gives very little insight to what “works” (assuming that the U.S. has thrown away the moral argument against torture).

  14. Blub says:

    I thought KSM was always keen to talk – to brag about his actions against the US. He was quite cooperative up until we started torturing him, and then went back to being his usual talkative self after the torture ended. I don’t understand why they seem to think that torture made him talk. Most published reports seem to suggest that he really just wanted to brag and that the only thing that could get him stop (and start lying instead) was to start torturing the guy.

  15. ART45 says:

    Let’s face what Carl Bernstein wrote about in the 1970s: the CIA has people in all major media outlets.

    The American People, for example, believe the myth that intrepid Wa Po reporter Bob Woodward took dowm the Nixon White House. A deeper look reveals (a) certain powerful individuals in the CIA wanted Nixon gone (he was getting too nosy about certain things, including the JFK assassination); and (b) Woodward’s stint in naval intelligence brought him into close contact with certain CIA operatives.

    The Wa Po, the NYT, formerly “Life” magazine — all CIA tainted, just to name few.

  16. WTFOver says:

    ACLU Lawyers Mine Documents for Interrogation Facts…..=1&hp

    In the spring of 2003, long before Abu Ghraib or secret prisons became part of the American vocabulary, a pair of recently hired lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union noticed a handful of news reports about allegations of abuse of prisoners in American custody.

    The lawyers, Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, wondered: Was there a broader pattern of abuse, and could a Freedom of Information Act request uncover it? Some of their colleagues, more experienced with the frustrations of such document demands, were skeptical. One made a tongue-in-cheek offer of $1 for every page they turned up.

    Six years later, the detention document request and subsequent lawsuit are among the most successful in the history of public disclosure, with 130,000 pages of previously secret documents released to date and the prospect of more.

    The case has produced revelation after revelation: battles between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the military over the treatment of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp; autopsy reports on prisoners who died in custody in Afghanistan and Iraq; the Justice Department’s long-secret memorandums justifying harsh interrogation methods; and day-by-day descriptions of what happened inside the Central Intelligence Agency’s overseas prisons.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      I asked on an earlier thread why are there any documents to be found? Why did they keep records? Surely they understood that the records would get them in trouble.

      • lllphd says:

        these guys are worse than mere criminals because they believed that what they were doing was right. and that they had the right to do these things.

        this is a far more dangerous and difficult virus to eradicate, because the honeytongued amongst them can always weave the convincing argument in their favor. hence cheney’s insistence on speaking out in defense of his own illegal actions.

        in an interview with scott horton, david cole addresses scott’s question about dean edley’s assertion that, though yoo did wrong, he did nothing more than express an unpopular view, and therefore should stay at uc berkeley. i’m sure this squares well with cheney’s position. though unpopular, in his mind that does not alter the correctness of what he did. so dangerous, my dawg.

        but i have to wonder, you know, there are mass murderers who felt quite strongly that they were doing the correct thing; unpopular, but correct. by edley’s argument, we should then show someone like the unabomber or david berkowitz to be justified in continuing with normal lives because they were pretty convinced they were doing the world favors by killing their victims.

        what the hell is wrong with these people??

        • timbo says:

          What is wrong with these people is that they have no moral character and little understanding of what a legal institution is supposed to do when it becomes corrupted. In fact, many of them are the corrupting factors that are increasing the rot within the Republic. Not that some of them aren’t redeemable, just that they don’t seem to want to be redeemed.

  17. timr says:

    The very worst thing is that the bushies based their entire torture program on a military program that started in the 50s after the Korean war to give pilots and others a taste of what the communist North Koreans could/would do. The program is frozen in time. That is, it remains a product of the cold war and that the ultimate aim of whatever enemy doing that to prisoners was to get them to sign a confession that the US did whatever. The NKs reason for the torture was never to get information, they only wanted a confession of wrongdoing. They wanted our guys to stand up in front of a camara and parrot whatever they were told.The NK program-religiously repeated by our guys on our own side to toughen us up-was only for propaganda not for intelligence. Yet someone in our govt ASSUMED that torture was a good thing-maybe they watched to much TV(the program 24)-so they hired contractors to use these methods of physical torture to get information. Meanwhile, the communists have moved way beyond physical torture to break a person, their current methods(as of about 95) were much quicker and far easier to employ and did not use physical methods. They were also almost 100% effective in getting information. Yet here we are, stuck back in the 50s using the methods used by the North Koreans. Later of course, the North Vietnamese refined torture and used it much more effectively.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Cheney’s motivation was same as for DPRK: to extract false confessions, like al-Libi’s linking OBL & Saddam Hussein.

    • timbo says:

      Why is it that no one has looked heavily into the reason that “24″ got on the air in the first place? My guess is that the spooks asked for it and got it so they could “prepare” the American citizenry to the way of thinking preferred by the abusers and thugs.

      • SparklestheIguana says:

        Do you know what Ted and Vicki Kennedy watched the last few weeks of his life? James Bond movies and episodes of “24″.

  18. perris says:

    you know marcy, I had never before considered the fact the information gathered from a mere two weeks of relationship building is actually being compared to the data collected through years of torture

    that’s a great get

  19. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    Corporate “main-stream” newspapers are just about totally worthless for truthseekers. I check out firedoglake, thinkprogress, huffingtonpost, crooksandliars, and dailykos first.

    O/T: Brad Friedman ( was interviewed on the Mike Malloy Radio show ( about the amazing interview Brad had with Sibel Edmonds ( in which she suggested that the Bush regime had been working hand-in-glove with Bin Laden and al-Queda right up to 9 September 2001. Check it out…

  20. SanderO says:

    The need to get information is based the belief that there are credible forces out there which are a serious threat to this nation. This is FALSE.

    We create all the animus in the world for our government and “our” corporations by the ACTIONS our government / armed forces and business take OUTSIDE our borders.

    Sure there are some whacked out religious zealots who want to kill the heathen the unholy or some other bizarre notion, but this is not a serious threat. And these crazy groups are FUELED by spook agencies to insure that the perception of the threat is there. They engage in false flag ops and have effectively have the nation in fear of enemies, steered our resources to the MIC and led to the rise of the national security state which has robbed us of our constitution. And a few are getting very rich from this.



    and it’s more than likely that 911 was some sort of a false flag spook op to move this agenda forward in spades.

    We are a nation of sheep and will go exactly where we are led.

  21. Katherine Graham Cracker says:

    Unfortunately not the first time the truth has been “too complicated” for wowpoo. I have noticed a pattern. It is always when the truth is on the side of the left/liberal side.

  22. ThingsComeUndone says:

    The WaPo wants you to know that it–one of the most storied newspapers in American history–is absolutely incapable of sorting through the facts about whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s torture turned him into a helpful college professor of terror.

    And this is different from every other story they can’t sort out the facts on:)

  23. ThingsComeUndone says:

    they neglect to mention that, after KSM’s most intense torture ended, the CIA started to use rapport-based interrogation with him. I guess they didn’t think that little detail–that the treatment of KSM immediately preceding the time when he was so cooperative and helpful actually adopted a different approach to interrogation–was worthy of mention.

    So torture does not work as well as Rapport based interrogation the WaPo is trying to protect the pro torture brigade in the WH. I wonder if they can be charged as accessories to a war crime by trying to cover it up/mislead the public/influence a potential jury?

  24. Hugh says:

    First, essentially all the information KSM gave up was either false or, if true, already known. I wonder how much time and how many resources were wasted as a result.

    Second, information that he gave up years later might be interesting for archival or background information on al Qaeda but again much of this was probably already known. But what it emphatically wasn’t was the “actionable intelligence” which was supposed to be rationale for all of this.

    Third, as I said in Jeff Kaye’s thread last night, actionable intelligence was the mantra for those advocating torture. But you have to understand that even at the time it was widely known that torture did not produce reliable intelligence. So why did Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, Cambone, Yoo and the rest of their clique pursue torture anyway? In my opinion, it is because they wanted to believe that torture worked. Perhaps I am being over subtle here, but the purpose was not to gather intelligence but to gather intelligence a certain way. They did not want simply to get the information by ordinary mundane proven methods and move on. They wanted to get it by “taking the gloves off”. They wanted to punish, to show that they were tough. They wanted to turn it into a contest of wills. They wanted something to mask the stench of their panic at and failure to prevent 9/11. By the time of Abu Ghraib and later Bagram, this had become entrenched policy. But from the start, it was never about what worked but what felt good.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Revenge was a prime motivating factor. It has been admitted by some who actually carried it out. I’m sure, though unspoken, it was important for the cast of characters you listed.

    • SanderO says:

      They wanted to intimidate anyone not to mess with them that they do not play by any rules. It was and continues to be a bullying message.

    • bobschacht says:

      …it is because they wanted to believe that torture worked…

      They didn’t just want to. They were true believers. Jack Bauer to the hilt.

      Bob from HI in AZ

      • Mary says:

        And coupled with that psychoticlogical need was the legal need. Since the opinions based the “legality” of the torture on the fact that the torturees were actually al-Qaeda operatives who had information on exigent high level threats to life – – well, when you get the approval to torture based on stating that kind of thing as a given, then you “need” to get something to prove that you are within the legal boundaries of the opinion.

  25. skdadl says:

    This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.

    A classic example, btw, of the post hoc fallacy.

    And then we have even Helgerson making that odd claim that depends on first distinguishing and then conflating quantity of tormented babbling from quality of actual intel.

    Don’t these people’s heads hurt when they perform these mental manoeuvres? Mine sure does when I have to read them.

  26. eCAHNomics says:

    Or, put more generally, the simple version: torture is about sadism, revenge and false confessions. Not much more to it.

  27. MrWhy says:

    WaPo quotes Helgerson as saying

    “Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information. But we didn’t have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out.”

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Waterboarding and sleep deprivation “worked” to make people talk because they cause the greatest amount of fear and debility, respectively. This produces psychological regression, and a sense of dependency upon the interrogator. Hence, the person wants to talk. Of course, what they say may be nonsense, or what they think the interrogator wants to hear, or some piece of information they hope will be enough, or gibberish, or spilling of an entire set of plans.

      It is totally wrong to say that torture only produces false confessions, or that the purpose of torture is to produce only false confessions. That was not true historically, e.g., in North Korea, and is not true now.

      I think Hugh’s comment at 38 above is probably accurate about many of the people involved, re “taking the gloves off”, turning to torture as a kind of will to power (Nietzschean term) to undo the sense of weakness and panic and fear that followed 9/11. (Everyone talks about the twin towers, but for those in the national security apparatus, the attack on the Pentagon had to have been traumatic and shame-inducing.)

      But the IG revelation that OTS was involved in the torture program (they ran MKULTRA), and the elements of experimentation revealed in the torture of AZ and others, leads me to think that there may have been more than one agenda at work here. Indeed, since torture had never totally been taken off the books by the U.S. (cozened by the U.S. reservations to CAT, by “aid” to other police and security agencies, alive in the memories of those who worked Phoenix and Operation Condor, used perhaps by Special Ops units on a small scale in the field), it perhaps was only a matter of time until it came forth again, like a virus that hides in one body tissue, awaiting the opportunity to spring forth and infect the entire organism.

      • bmaz says:

        Of course, what they say may be nonsense, or what they think the interrogator wants to hear, or some piece of information they hope will be enough, or gibberish, or spilling of an entire set of plans.

        It is totally wrong to say that torture only produces false confessions, or that the purpose of torture is to produce only false confessions. That was not true historically, e.g., in North Korea, and is not true now.

        This is so true and important. The problem is NOT that torture and coerced confessions never produce accurate and usable information, sometimes they do; the problem is that the information received is never reliable. You cannot obtain a reasonable degree of veracity so as to make such information actionable.

        • Mary says:

          And there’s all the rest on the usability front as well.

          What they did was set up uber secret torture chambers across the world. Bc of the secrecy requisite in their war crimes, there wasn’t exactly a free flow of commications back and forth with a team. The best expert we had on KSM was looped out of questioning him, bc of the war crimes being committed. One of our other best experts, Soufan, was looped out because of the war crimes. Cloonan got looped out on al-libi. Because of the devotion to war crimes and torture, men and boys were parcelled out to third party nations as well for “questioning” where we had even less control over analysis, questioning, etc.

          So Cheney is saying that preventing the best expert on KSM available from being involved in the questioning, bc that expert wasn’t willing to be a torturer and a war criminal, was the way to go. Where is the MSM in asking CHeney why a) we didn’t get bin laden if torture was so successful, and b) why we lied to the world about al-qaeda training camps in Iraq if torture is so successful. For that matter, when will one of these guys just look Cheney in the eye, ask him how the hell al-Libi ended up in Libya and whether or not his passing was suspicious. Let Cheney defend Khaddafy on the national news and if he can’t let him defend handing off al libi to Khaddafy.

          It’s ez to say, “we won’t see that on FOX” but the truth is, you won’t see it on any of the MSM. It’s infuriating.

          • bmaz says:

            Well, yeah, there is that. Hey, I just got an email on the GJ question we were discussing a few threads back. Give me about 15 minutes and I will post what I got there.

            • Mary says:

              Thanks! I’m heading to the barn for a bit, but I’m going to be really interested in seeing what you’ve got.

            • LabDancer says:

              I finally figured out you followed this up at “How a Review Gets to Grand Jury in Five Days or Less” @ 125.

              But I’m sure what you’re describing as your source’s understanding of what’s going on is at least somewhat different from the one I described involvement with in the same thread — because in the latter there was at the very least a provision in a statute that authorized the process, and that’s what your source is impressed is precisely missing in whatever it is Durham is doing. That provision brought about the grand-jury-like secrecy; it provided the investigating team’s credibility in securing the attendance of witnesses; it resulted in a record of some substantial length [I don’t know the full dimensions of the beast, because my team only received the parts that contained our clients’ testimony & copies of exhibits, but even just that was substantial.]; &, at least from what I recall understanding, did NOT require a subsequent g.j. to formalize the filing of the indictment.

              I’ve sent a message to someone I know was involved with the process from the indictment on & will correct or update when it’s answered — it’s still sailing season there, a couple of weeks ’til the courts there are to throw out the first oyez of that season, so it could be a day or so. Oh, & I can also try to recover the statutory provision at least, from the hardcopy archives of the outfit I was with then.

              In the meantime, if your source is at all accurate, we can throw another log from the disingenuous pile onto the Holder bonfire, because that’s scarcely different from ‘I got a guy checking it out & we’ll get back to you when we get back to you’.

              • bmaz says:

                Heh, you know, maybe a little better than your last sentence, but certainly not much better. That was definitely their indication. As you know, my only direct knowledge is from the opposite side of the fence; so I can only report what my friend says and supplement with the bits and pieces I have seen over the years and what I learned from that. As to my friend, they were involved in fairly substantial matters from their former position in a USA office, and I trust their insight in that regard. Not to say this couldn’t be different because of Durham’s supposed “special prosecutor” status I guess, but they were pretty clear that this is how they viewed this specific situation. I dunno, that is all I got….

        • Jeff Kaye says:

          Yes, reliability is the issue (after you’ve already decided torture is out and out immoral, of course). As I was reading what you wrote, it occurred to me that they may have wanted unreliable information, i.e., the fact of it. You can’t prove they only wanted false confessions for war with Iraq, because of all the docs that say they wanted “actionable intel”. And some of them did want such intel (I haven’t heard anyone say that Soufan, for instance, wanted to plant false confessions; and if you think about it, what would have been the motivation for the SERE psychologists to plant false confessions?)

          No, this was never about veracity at all, from the point of view of those who planned all this. It was about control, sadism, experimentation, terror, and insofar as “information” was being produced, getting such a jumble of data that arguing about it and dissecting it would go on for what seemed forever, and those at the top could cherry pick what they want, and no one could ever clearly gainsay them.

          So here we are, still arguing that about what took place (not you and I or most here, but in the wider body politic), until everyone gets tired, or old, or gives up, or dies… material for future historians, and for them to argue as well.

          The CIA, like any human entity, reveals itself sometimes via projection. I think they did this with their poster “terrorist” AZ. “He lies, lies, lies…”

          It is the CIA (and their partners at DIA, etc.) that lie, lie, lie. NOTHING they say can be believed. That is a shame because it makes it harder to tell what’s true. But that was Fitzgerald’s point about Libby’s lying, wasn’t it? that when you lie like that it defeats the struggle for truth.

          WashPo published the lies, uncritically… for access or as sychophants, I’m not sure which. Then, and maybe we’re there, nothing in the society starts to make sense. The lie takes over and no one can trust anything they hear, at least from those in power. We may be closer to that moment than any of us thinks.

          (Rambles upon getting off of work and coming back to EW to see what’s been going on…)

          • bmaz says:

            You know, in simplistic terms, it is all of that coupled with the fact that they mostly just didn’t give a shit and wanted to be tough cowboys to try to implant fear and because “it’s all teh Arabs understand”. Terminally wrong in every legal and moral way possible, and contrary to the supposed American ethos, but there you have it.

    • cinnamonape says:

      But we didn’t have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out

      WTF They made tapes, had detailed cables on both the torture methods used and the information that came from them. They’ve consistently asserted the “value” of these methods – yet they don’t have the data that shows any benefit in providing useful information that could only have been obtained?

      The got information…but have no clue what thequality was…they never confirmed it independently (i.e. with further investigation)?

      Why? They didn’t have the time or resources? What crap. They know very well that they got nothing…otherwise they would be touting even a single intelligence success as “proof”. Cheney tried that with the “Library Towers” but it turns out to have been a busted “plot” long before any information was obtained from KSM. In fact, it filed because of defections soon after 9/ll….not due to any investigative work at all. But the Malaysians were the ones to discover this erstwhile plan. long with scores of other possible plots KSM was asked about, it’s likely that he confessed to this one as well…under torture.

  28. bgrothus says:

    Last night I heard Pete Wms of NBC on Gwen Ifill’s show on PBS asserting that the torture yielded “good information.”

    I sent both Pete and Gwen e-mails telling them that they were wrong and need to start reading the time lines and document parsing at Emptywheel at FDL.

    I’m sure that will make an impression.


  29. Winski says:

    Hey Wheel…

    The WaPo piece today was probably one of the worst pieces of journalism (if you want to abuse that label a bit today) ever published by that paper.. Although more and more of the printed words from them are becoming more and more like tabloid swill.. It’s been a bit frightening to watch as the new publisher first got caught red-handed with her arm, up to the elbow, in the abyss of influence peddling, access-for-pay and downright deception of many…as the journalistic image of the WaPo went further into the bottom of the ditch.

    Ben Bradley would NOT be proud..

    Glenn Greenwald has a good piece over at as well..…..8/29/post/

  30. OldFatGuy says:

    I haven’t read all of the comments, so perhaps it’s been pointed out already, but I want to add it too.


    That’s not a debate worth having, and if we have that debate, we’ll either lose it or not win it enough to matter.

    It just doesn’t matter, because even if the techniques work, they’re wrong. So instead of debating their effectiveness, I wish we would all just repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, the ends don’t justify the means, torture is wrong, torturing innocent people is totally unacceptable, and you’re innocent until proven guilty so therefore by definition they’ve been torturing innocent people and the act itself is wrong even if it works.

    Whew. Too much to repeat, but there it is.

    • bobschacht says:


      You are right, in spades, of course.
      Ironically, this is a classic reversal. Normally, it is Democrats who appeal to pragmatism (i.e., testing with evidence), and Republicans who appeal to principle (I’ve made up my mind; don’t confuse me with facts.) Here, Republicans are successfully reframing the debate about torture to be about whether it works or not, rather than whether it is just wrong to begin with. Focusing attention on the former takes attention away from the latter.

      Bob in AZ

      • OldFatGuy says:

        That’s why I think it’s a mistake to even engage in the debate. It’s no surprise that once those memos were released detailing the level of torture that the first words out of Cheney’s mouth were to release the others indicating their “effectiveness.”

        Because he (and the right wing in general) are very aware of if the debate gets framed in that vein, then it’s one they can’t possibly lose. The better response (IMO) to that is OK, maybe they were effective, so does that mean you’re arguing that the government can break any and all laws anytime it wants if it’s “effective?” You paint them in that corner, and then that’s a debate we might just win.

        Debating the effectiveness is one we’re doomed to lose or not win convincingly enough to matter.

        And on another note along the same topic, I’ve been hearing the arugments this week on why the low levels shouldn’t be prosecuted (and I tend to agree with that), but then the right winger on MSNBC (Tony Blankely if my memory serves) goes on to argue that since lawyers wrote opinions stating the techniques were legal that the top really shouldn’t be prosecuted either as it’s then just a debate on policy. I agree in principle, that we don’t want to prosecute outgoing admins over policy issues.

        However, if you consider that one can “buy” a lawyer to justify almost any act, doesn’t that give any President the “authority” to do anything, and thus render any and all laws that Congress passes to check the executive pretty much useless??

        I still can’t believe the turns my beloved country has taken, particularly over the last eight years. But it seems to me that if in the next eight we don’t send a message that there are indeed limits to a Presidents power then these next eight will be worse than the previous eight, because unchecked power will be abused. It’s not a question of if, only when.


        • stryder says:

          but then the right winger on MSNBC (Tony Blankely if my memory serves) goes on to argue that since lawyers wrote opinions stating the techniques were legal that the top really shouldn’t be prosecuted either as it’s then just a debate on policy. I agree in principle, that we don’t want to prosecute outgoing admins over policy issues.

          Why in the hell woulnd’t you want to prosecute over policy issues?
          Where do you draw the line and what difference does it make if it’s Policy or not?
          This policy argument is an escape route to evade the fact that they want to do whatever they want to do and not be hampered by law

          This is a very pertinent point and it all goes to the definition of POLICY
          and if the policy is legal.

          • PJEvans says:

            Yeah, they could do anything, label it policy, and stick us all with the consequences, and they’d walk away laughing because no one could do anything to them.

            • stryder says:

              It’s one of those “vortex” words that sucks the meaning out of everything and leaves you in a kind of void to be filled with all kinds of meaningless crap

  31. Mary says:

    Notice how WaPo has managed to get on board with Hayden’s more recent revelations and change the topic and “move the window” yet again? At one point, the whole angry, spittle-raising argument was about a ticking time bomb – torture under the exigencies of a ticking time bomb, where the “information” wasn’t whehter Bin Laden like OJ or Grapefruit juice with his Wheaties, but how to find that ticking time bomb.

    Now, without much of a murmer, they have changed it to an *unresolvable* question of whether or not random bits of information on al-Qaeda’s preferences of Office Depot over Staples for office supplies could have been obtained without torture.

    Where is the report on the ticking time bomb? The Jack Bauer moments? As we discover we learned less and less accurate information about al-Qaeda is the new rationale going to shift to, “well, torture provided us with good information on how to pronounce some of this wicked hard names – and without torture, can we say whether we would have ever figured out whether the emphasis as on the 2nd or the 3rd syallable?”

    So if the rationale for torture is now “getting to know al-Qaeda” ** do we get to have all the old ticking time bomb statements lined up, blindfolded and shot down? Does WaPo say, “oh, btw, forget all our old reporting on how we needed torture bc of a ticking time bomb, now that we know that is absolutely incorrect (like WMDs in Iraq) we’re going to go with *we wouldn’t have known al-Qaeda didn’t have an active al-Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded if we hadn’t tortured* (like substituting bringing democracy by bomblast as our back up position in Iraq)”

    At least we know that torture got us information like: al-qaeda training camps in Iraq; Maher Arar attending training camps in Afghanistan; plots to swing buckets overhead; KSM’s exoneration of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh****; the dreaded Uighur plot to distribute al-Qaeda directives through grabbing the minds of impressionable American children by gifting them with Uighur Boards; the Kurnaz tie with the suicide bomber who also managed to pull off his suicide bombing without ever leaving home in Germany (perhaps by using a Uighur Board?); the Zubaydah No. Three in al-Qaeda status; etc.

    And I guess what WaPo is also telling us is that the massive, felonious, unconstitutional domestic surveillance program was put together while we pretty much knew nothing about al-Qaeda OTHER THAN their phone numbers and calling circles. uh huh.

    Oh well. Sideways to topic, there is a really good interview in Foreign Policy Journal by Andy Worthington of Col. Wilkerson here This is the kind of interview you’ll never see from WaPo. (also a very good interview with Hamid Gul from the 12th’s issue)

    EW – it also mentions the CIA memo on the innocent people being held at GTIMO that you were looking for a date for (aug 2002 is as close as I can come). Interestingly, though, it mentions that a lot of the resistance to letting anyone go from GITMO early on was Rumsfeld directly and that he used this mosaic theory that the CIA is using for torture justification as his forever detentions justification. Apparently very early on foreign ministers were trying to get their people out of our hands, as stories like the Dostum killings were surfacing, but Rumsfeld was adamant he would not turn people loose no matter what, innocence included. Wilkerson also mentions more on the Rumsfeld/Cheney military units and how broadly worldwide they were operating, etc.

    ** I’ve always been struck by the passage in Three Cups of Tea, where as the news of 9/11 was being conveyed to the author by tribesmen who had no real idea where NYC was, they were able and willing to pass on their pretty certain conviction that bin laden was behind it all. But yeah, I guess it’s only through torture that you could have found out anythinb about al qaeda

    ***Earlier this month this story came out about the Pearl Project and the fact that they are nearing the end on their research and conclusions.

    • timbo says:

      Actually, the couldn’t let the detains go because the detained could catalog the entire torture regime that had been set up. These guys destroyed the torture tapes and would have preferred that the detainees died in their cells…and no doubt, many probably have. I mean, what is the reason that they would only let detainees go if the detainees agreed not to discuss their treatment in American custody?

  32. tjbs says:

    Thinking about the overall picture, Dick Cheney wants us to reject democracy and our freedoms from state oppression for a dictator. Because underneath it all is the state power to scoop an American citizen off the street and lock you away forever. It goes back to Jose Pidilla an American who was tortured in America ,on American soil and never allowed to defend himself on the original charges he was held. The torture genie was out of the bag.

    This is the end argument that you , your kids, your neighbor could be the” Worst of the worst”and must be removed without a trial because we know things about them you could never understand or explain in broad daylight. This therefore rejects another of our building blocks of our country that ” all men are created equal”. The all knowing dictator removing the worst of the worst, just for you.

  33. 1boringoldman says:

    I reread that article and found myself wondering about the authors. It has the Judith Miller feel about it. “Watch the entire interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on “FOX News Sunday,” airing at 2 pm and 6 pm ET on FOX News Channel…” Your last post quotes Cheney’s coming interview, “My sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks. It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well.”

    All of this has the September 8th, 2002 Meet the Press Modus Operandi reproduced to a tee. It’s hard to imagine that this is anything but another coordinated campaign [joined by a flury of Karl Rove Tweets]. This time, however, it’s being broadcast to the faithful Fox News set rather than on Meet the Press. Is he trying to engage the teabaggers to put on a show like they’ve done at the Town Hall demonstrations? Is this a Valerie Plame outing redux to discredit Obama and Holder? a preemptive strike? How did he get to the WaPo authors? Who was the ’source’ for this article? And in the end, will these sheenanigans have an impact on any but the faithful?

    • suejazz says:

      I have been having the very same thought. I won’t be surprised if Cheney quotes this article on Fox tomorrow just the way they used to quote Judy Miller’s pieces that had been fed to her by Scooter on MTP.

  34. raymondbresnan says:

    this is why wapo is no longer a bookmark and the nyt is soon to follow. for both most stuff is for flushing except for a few opinions.thank goodness for the internet where we can filter the crap and read reality. thanks for what you do. rb seattle

  35. fatster says:


    Two Guantanamo inmates freed in Portugal: official

    “Two Syrian detainees held at the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison were transferred to Portugal on Friday by US authorities where they were freed to live in the community, officials said.”


  36. bobschacht says:

    I’m late joining the party today, and I haven’t read through all the comments yet. But by the time I do, ya’ll will probably have written another post, and everyone will be somewhere else debating it. So here goes:

    I think you’re being a teensy bit unfair to the WaPo here, in your lead paragraph and first quote block. It is technically true that

    The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result.

    However, as you go on to show, it certainly is possible to show how likely it is that less coercive methods would have received the same (or better) results.

    Furthermore, it is best not to focus too much on a single case. It is better to have a larger sample, and better controls on just what was done when. And better to have a sample that includes results when less coercive methods were used first, and given time to develop rapport, as well as cases where more coercive methods were used first, or before less coercive methods were given time to work.

    Now to read the comments.

    Bob from HI in AZ

  37. rafflaw says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how the so-called liberal mass media can be so timid and so……..conservative!

  38. stryder says:

    I wonder if Fitz whould’ve used a cattle prod on Cheney,Libby and Rove to get the info he needed in their GJ testimonies before the Libby trial if they would still feel the way they do about torture

  39. FromCt says:


    Here’s a sample of your competition’s thoughtful “analysis”…. his uninformed opinions indicate there is still much work to be done to publicize your unique and vital efforts to get at the truth:


    …As a former federal prosecutor, (and currently, as a criminal defense attorney), I believe the Attorney General’s decision to open this new investigation, and any prosecutions that might follow, are also a colossal waste of government resources. Moreover, they are just plain wrong! No one should condone torture, but, in my opinion, unless the CIA agents engaged in a pattern of serious abuses beyond what has been publicized, no jury in this country will ever convict them. As I have indicated before in this blog, the government must prove criminal intent in any criminal case. But if these agents were following approved guidelines, they had no criminal intent. The CIA agents just did their jobs and, in the process, thankfully, saved innocent American lives.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh heh, looks to me like our Mary has already visited that gentleman and his post and left a wake up call.

      I agree the writer over there is more than a bit off base with his views. That said, while his process for getting there may be a bit warped; don’t kid yourself, convictions in any cases brought against line level people will be extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to obtain if you leave the leadership above them going up the chain unindicted and scott free. Any charges that are targeted only at the line level people on the ground would constitute a defense attorney’s wet dream.

    • timbo says:

      Whomever wrote that needs to be disbarred. Very few drunk drivers start off with criminal intent…all you have to show is willful negligence. Heck, there are retarded folks in America who are convicted every day because they don’t have the intellectual ability to understand right from wrong. The folks looking for legal outs to their barbarisms knew the difference. And they should be held accountable for their actions, under color of law or not.

      Further, the writer of that op-ed ignores the fact that there were many folks in CIA, other intelligence services, etc, that resigned rather than carry out those so-called “legally covered” policies. Is the writer of the op-ed saying that those folks were wrong to quit? Wrong not to participate in the barbarisms? Put some of the folks who left rather than participate on the stand during the trials and we’ll see which way a jury decides the law.

  40. fatster says:

    Ah, so it’s the oil? Who’da thunk it?

    Was Pan Am 103 bomber freed in exchange for oil?

    “The Scottish government’s decision to release the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 was made because the United Kingdom is busy trying to secure oil deposits in Libya, several UK newspapers reported Sunday.”


    • PJEvans says:

      might be part of it, but the guy is terminally ill and I understand the prison system isn’t set up to deal with hospice-type care.
      Not to mention that there’s considerable doubt that the guy they convicted had anything to do with it.

  41. fatster says:

    O/T. Here’s another one begging for investigation, but that just doesn’t seem to be a priority. NIce words, that’s what we get, as we look forward and all.

    Obama on Katrina anniversary: Competence, accountability needed

Published: August 29, 2009 
Updated 4 hours ago

    “The US must “learn the lessons” of Hurricane Katrina, and in Washington, DC, that means “a focus on competence and accountability,” President Barack Obama said on the fourth anniversary of the 2005 disaster.”

    And blahblahblah.

  42. Loo Hoo. says:

    Every CIA agent knows that torture was illegal. Sorry, low level folks, that’s just the way it is. You get training. Same as the way every teacher, doctor, and park ranger knows that child abuse is illegal.

    WaPo is pretending that not only are the torturers not liable, but neither are the architects. It’s revolting and beyond acceptable.

  43. JasonLeopold says:

    This is an article in the WaPo this evening by Walter Pincus and Joby Warrick.

    It’s a strange and confusing article in many different ways. The Post really does appear to be acting as the CIA’s personal PR firm in that it is trying to disseminate messages that aims to derail an investigation.

    But this part stood out to me and is causing me to say WTF?

    Helgerson also said it would be “very difficult” to mount a successful prosecution of any of the individuals who participated in the program. The Bush-era Justice Department “approved the program orally and in writing; the agency’s chain of command was involved. There would be no jury appeal, and I do not believe there was any criminal intent among those involved,” Helgerson said.

    Doesn’t that conflict with the fact that Helgerson had already recommended cases for prosecution back in 2004?

    And they quote Buzzy Krongard as their source to say morale at CIA is “minus 50.”

    Krongard, one of the few active or retired CIA officers with direct knowledge of the program willing to voice publicly what many officers are saying privately, said agency personnel now may back away from controversial programs that could place them in personal legal jeopardy should their work be exposed. “The old saying goes, ‘Big operation, big risk; small operation, small risk; no operation, no risk.’ “

    “If you’re not in the intelligence business to be forward-leaning, you might as well not be in it,” Krongard said.

    There are many CIA officers who will say just the opposite by the way and that morale isn’t low and that they can still perform their jobs.

    What I am confused about is if Holder has only authorized a “preliminary review” and that review supposedly will consist of about a dozen cases wouldn’t morale arguably be higher because it’s an investigation limited in scope? If you were one of the people who participated in the “program” and followed “DOJ legal guidelines” wouldn’t you be happy because Obama/Holder/Panetta said you won’t be prosecuted or investigated?

    It’s late and I hope this all makes sense.

    • alabama says:

      Allowing that Team B is alarmed and fighting back–bringing all available pressure to bear on all the available media–then the WaPo piece must strike them as rather pale, compared (at least) to this other, more colorful, hand-wringing exercise now running in the WSJ.

    • cinnamonape says:

      If morale is 50% it sounds like it’s better than when Bush was running things when more than half the Upper echelon resigned or was pushed out by Goss and Bucky.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        That is such a good point. Why hasn’t anyone in the media mentioned how it’s better now than it was?

      • JasonLeopold says:

        That is a HORRIBLE column! Finder has been on the road with Hayden for the better part of a month. You’d think the Times would mention or vet that.

        And everything that is in that story Finder wrote came directly from Hayden. It’s Hayden’s words.

  44. SparklestheIguana says:

    “KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist,” according to the intelligence summary.

    Wait, we still have debtors’ prisons?

  45. alabama says:

    On the subject of 43 at the funeral, BAGnews offers the following.

    Sadism is sexual gratification, and torturers send lots of affect into the atmosphere.

    Rather curious, the absence of Cheney–given the presence of Gore, Quayle, Mondale, etc.

    • PJEvans says:

      type the word you want the link to appear as, highlight it, then click on the link button and put the URL for the link in the box. That’s it. (I also do it from the keyboard: basic HTML.)

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