Addington’s Direct Involvement in the Torture Memos

As I noted yesterday, I’ve been reading old HJC hearings–including the hearing at which Daniel Levin testified about the torture memos. Levin basically testified that he was asked to resign while he was drafting what became the 2005 Bradbury memos.

Mr. DAVIS. Mr. Levin, let me begin with you and Mr. Wilkerson, and put frankly everything I have heard today in some context. And I want to pull out two particular events. The first one is the circumstances of your not being at the Department. I know that you were very careful in your answers to Chairman Nadler earlier. But let me make sure I understand you.

You didn’t voluntarily leave the Department; is that correct?

Mr. LEVIN. I would have preferred to have stayed. I mean, when I was told I wasn’t going to stay, I voluntarily left.

Mr. DAVIS. That tends to be what happens; when people who are over you tell you to go, you go. That is what in the real world is called being fired.

But he also revealed something else about what happened when he was drafting the replacements for John Yoo’s crappy memos: he had no direct contact with David Addington during the process–or anyone else in OVP.

Mr. ELLISON. Whom did you talk to in the redrafting?

Mr. LEVIN. I talked to a lot of people. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, I think one of the problems with the earlier memo was, it was not the subject of sufficiently broad collaboration and discussion.

I talked, in addition to everybody in the Office of Legal Counsel virtually, people at the Criminal Division, various other people in the Department, people at the State Department.

Mr. ELLISON. Did you talk to anybody in the Vice President’s Office?

Mr. LEVIN. I don’t believe I did talk to anybody in the Vice President’s Office. I did submit drafts to the White House Counsel’s Office, and whom they circulated it to in the White House, I don’t know.

Mr. ELLISON. Okay. Do you know if—did Mr. Addington have any input into your redraft?

Mr. LEVIN. Not directly to me. Whether he did so indirectly, I am not sure. He may have provided comments to White House Counsel that were then communicated to me as their comments. I was not ever told anything that were his comments, and he never spoke to me about it directly.

Now, that’s remarkable. We know from Addington’s testimony before HJC that Addington met with Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo on the Bybee One memo (and his care to specify that this description pertained to Bybee One, and not Bybee Two, may suggest his influence was greater with the latter). 

Mr. NADLER. Just tell us what your role was, if you can.

Mr. ADDINGTON. Yes, I will.

Mr. NADLER. Because you said it wasn’t nonexistant but you didn’t help shape it. So what was it?

Mr. ADDINGTON. Mr. Chairman, my recollection, first of all, I would be interested in seeing the document you are questioning me about. I think you are talking about a document of August 2002.

Mr. NADLER. Yes.

Mr. ADDINGTON. It would be useful to have that in front of me so I can make sure that what I am remembering relates to the document you have and not a lot of other legal opinions I looked at. But assuming you and I are talking about the same opinion, my memory is of Professor Yoo coming over to see the counsel of the President and I was invited in the meeting, with the three of us, and he gave us an outline of here are the subjects I am going to address.

And I remember, when he was done, saying, ‘‘Here are the subjects I am going to address,’’ saying, ‘‘Good,’’ and he goes off and writes the opinion.

Addington goes on to describe himself as "essentially … the client on this opinion." So we know that Addington (unsurprisingly) had direct conversations with Yoo about this opinion and (as the rest of his testimony makes clear) others.

Now, when he testified before HJC, Steven Bradbury refused to answer questions about his contacts with Addington and others during the drafting of the torture memos. But the Comey emails released earlier this year make it clear that Bradbury did have direct conversations with Addington as he was drafting the May 2005 memos (and that Addington was pressuring him to get them done).

The AG explained that he was under great pressure from the Vice President to complete both memos, and that the President had even raised it last week, apparently at the VP’s request and the AG had promised they would be ready early this week. He added that the VP kept telling him "we are getting killed on the Hill." (Patrick [Philbin] had previously reported that Steve [Bradbury] was getting constant similar pressure from Harriet Miers and David Addington to produce the opinions. Parenthetically, I have previously expressed my worry that having Steve as "Acting"–and wanting the job–would make him susceptible to just this kind of pressure.

Mind you, this is only proof that Addington had direct communication with Yoo and Bradbury, but not Levin. It doesn’t prove that Levin was ousted to make it easier for Addington to direct the OLC opinion writing process. 

But Levin’s ousting–and related ascension of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General–does appear to have had that effect. 

97 replies
  1. skdadl says:

    This discussion will be halted for an indeterminate time while Mr Addington waves off his questioners, including the chair, and makes notes to himself on the documents in question, after which he will speak flatteringly of Mr Yoo, seated to his left, in such a way as also to shift to Mr Yoo all responsibility for the opinions Mr Addington is being questioned about.

  2. rincewind says:

    I’m struck by a (relatively) small point that I hadn’t remembered from the testimony: that Addington claimed to be “essentially” the “client” of OLC for Bybee One — less than a minute after reading from the copy of the memo,

    It is August 1, 2002, memorandum for Alberto Gonzales, counsel of the President, re: standards of conduct for interrogation under 18 USC Sections 2340 and 2340(a).

    So did Addington essentially admit that Cheney was essentially the Pres, and he (Addington) was essentially Counsel to the Pres?

  3. bmaz says:

    You know, it strikes me that all of this, and the bigger picture surrounding the memos, and question of WH interaction thereon, is exactly why there will not be any but the most superficial and isolated of prosecutions, and arguably none at all, come out of the big Holder PR review. Any defendant is going to affirmatively allege justification; when they do so, it then becomes incumbent upon the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the conduct was not justified. This in turn involves the orders and memos they were based on. The government will fight all this tooth and nail and submit affidavits and all kinds of shit to try to prove that everything was done in a regular fashion and properly. But it patently was not. The defense will question and explore and demand discovery. Federal courts are clearly sick of the crapola pitched by the DOJ and they do not see anything has changed under Obama in this regard either. This is all a path that will either lead to dismissal by the court, withdrawal of charges by the government and, perhaps most interestingly, the forum for a federal judge to say “Well the court has some serious concerns and questions too and I am going to appoint a special prosecutor from the court to look into this”. It is within the courts’ power (as seen in the Toobz case). This is all a door that I just do not see Holder/Obama being willing to open.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      the forum for a federal judge to say “Well the court has some serious concerns and questions too and I am going to appoint a special prosecutor from the court to look into this”. It is within the courts’ power (as seen in the Toobz case)

      Wowsers! So if Durham brings a case(s) to court, we may get a special prosecutor after all? Which court would likely hear the case? DC/Prettyman? And which judges would we hope for?

      • bmaz says:

        No, I think EDVA is more likely; but do not get me wrong I am saying that will never be allowed to happen; that is my whole point.

    • Auduboner says:

      Ah, but this might be the Genius of Holder’s limited investigation, not that he knows it now.

      Any tenacious defense counsel for an indicted low-level operative is going to DEMAND full discovery of the justifying documents, in order to buttress the defense that the President authorized the (despicable) actions in question. That Discovery process will produce more damning evidence than all of the congressional hearings put together. Holder’s DoJ won’t jeopardize the prosecution case by limiting the Defense’s access to White house documents, and can lay the blame for their disclosure at the feet of those Pesky Defense Attorneys.

      Political retribution is achieved, and the present Administration can say, “the Judge made us do it!” Win-win.

      Of course, all this assumes competent Defense Counsel is involved… Can we all start contributing now to the Low Level CIA Torturer Defense Fund? I’ve got the first $100…

      • bmaz says:

        I really cannot emphasize this enough, this is exactly why the “preliminary review” is not going to lead to anything substantive; not a sign there is some creative plan or available pathway that it will. In fact, the odds are far, far greater that this is part of a designed limited hangout to give the slightest patina of having “investigated” to take away the claim by international types that because there was no US investigation there should be international jurisdiction.

  4. plunger says:

    Effectively standing-in-the-shoes of “President Cheney,” Addington makes it known that he is “the client” – who must be 100% pleased with the opinion that he has ordered written on behalf of the Acting President. It is further understood that failure to deliver said document as proscribed will have severe consequences, for “the Client,” the “Acting President,” and the opinion’s drafter (more accurately, “transcriber”).

    Guns are smoking all over the room.


    Addington is the key.
    To the SAPs, to the legal “opinions” and the other things EW readers will be intrigued at when CIA starts to leak them.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, raised as a military brat, a foreign service degree and work experience as a lawyer for CIA, Addington has the entire tool kit necessary for Cheney’s dirty work.

      I think at this point we’re merely looking for (or waiting for) that one or two pieces of the puzzle which cause this entire thing to cascade into place.

    • greenbird4751 says:

      again, hoping my dkos sig theft to be officially permitted by its author, wherever you are:
      “The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche.–Sachem”
      …and i use it wherever else i can.
      I will be alert to your insights, sp, they are valuable.

      • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

        The key here is Addington. And I say that, because previously Addington, Libby, Flanigan, Cheney, Haynes and Yoo all played this really dangerous game called “mutual assured destruction”.

        One of them flipped, or grew a conscience, and they’d throw that person to the wolves.

        The interesting thing to see is how much they all start to distance themselves from one another. Cheney may turn on Libby, Libby on Addington, or vice versa. And remember that EVERYONE – except for Cheney – is a certified, actual lawyer. If it comes down to saving their own skin (especially Libby) they will turn on each other. Libby, Addington and Haynes are the ones to watch, because they did the dirty work. Not even Cheney is as complicit as Addington. I was the guy that drew up plans and strategies for days on end when I started out. Addington drafted complex four and five page legal memos in less than a day. He was driven and he was completely cognizant of the evil he was doing. And they didn’t care if they manipulated or burned CIA or the military, which is really going to bite them in the arse.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, you better tell your buddies to hurry up then, because a new statute of limitation expires every day; some are five year statutes, some are eight year statutes. The death cases have no statute, but they will be the hardest to prosecute and will not be amenable to traveling up the chain to the top as you describe. The offenses and conspiracy charges that could be extrapolated from the overt acts of the offenses are starting to fritter away.

          • Rayne says:

            The only other out is crimes which have not yet been discovered and recognized as such, yes? once publicized, the clock begins ticking.

            Skimpy (44) — we can see JSOC’s extremely large footprints readily, and I think the tough part is going to be cracking the SAPs behind which they could hide, especially if they are under ACCMs.

            • bmaz says:

              Unlikely. Statutes of limitation are presumed applicable and are effectively jurisdictional. You would have to show active concealment or an inability to discover the conduct, and courts do not favor this and have a high burden for establishing it. For statutes such as most conspiracy charges, which require an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the last substantive overt act. As the basic fact set that these specific crimes has been known, especially to the government (after all the govt. was committing them), it would be hard to argue that the statutes of limitation should be tolled (i.e. suspended) simply because the government refused to properly investigate. I would say the chances of that are about zero,

              • rincewind says:

                “For statutes such as most conspiracy charges, which require an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the last substantive overt act.”

                But bushco was obstructing and lying right up until Jan 20, and hold-overs have continued till today (with ample assistance from Obama/Holder/Panetta) — are those substantive overt acts?

                • bmaz says:

                  Impossible to tell without specific facts and charges laid out in a charging document; but that said, no I do not think those will serve as proper substantive overt acts. Look at it this way as a overly rudimentary example, if the concept is conspiracy to commit torture, you are looking for the last act of torture as your last overt act for starting the running of the statute of limitations. Is it really that simple, no; but that kind of gives an idea.

            • Nell says:

              For the sake of 98% of those who are reading along, it would be good to avoid this becoming a milspeakfest.

              What is/are ACCM?

  6. victoria2dc says:

    EW: I’m reading the link you provide to the HJC hearing and Bradbury’s testimony. I am hoping that you or one of our “lawyer types” will give this section of that testimony some thought. Why have we not heard this from Senator Whitehouse or someone like Leahy on this? Is there something in the US Code that prohibits an agency (um…. the DOJ) from investigating itself? I think we need to talk about this:

    p. 25 @…../40743.PDF

    Mr. ELLISON. General Mukasey testified in a Senate Judiciary Committee that he would not order an investigation of waterboarding depicted on the destroyed tapes, because the OLC had issued opinions regarding torture that were presumably relied upon by those administering the technique.

    He gave two reasons. It would not be appropriate for the Justice Department to be investigating itself was one reason. The other reason is it would not be fair to prosecute persons who relied on
    OLC opinions.

    As to the first reason, this is precisely the conflict situation for which the special counsel regulations of the Department call for pointing to someone outside of the Department to conduct important investigations.

    But I want to focus on the second reason, which has certain implications I would like you to focus on. At a minimum, we need to investigate whether their actions exceeded the legal advice that
    OLC gave them, or whether they would have knowthat waterboarding could not be legal.

    Could that be a reason for the narrow scope of the investigation?

    • eCAHNomics says:

      From someone who is not a lawyer and not into the weeds of the torture investigation. I think the narrow scope of the investigation is a political decision by Holder. He was “shocked” by what was done (blahblahblahblah, are we supposed to think he cares?), so wants to suage his conscience by doing something, but doesn’t want to offend his boss, who is totally against doing anything.

  7. fatster says:

    O/T. Doesn’t this make you feel all warm and cozy and safe? Yeah, me neither.

    Central bankers empower ‘global supervision’ of finance industries

Published: September 6, 2009 
Updated -2285 second ago

    “The world’s most powerful bankers said on Sunday they had agreed on a package of measures to strengthen on a “global” scale the supervision of finance industries, raising “liquidity” requirements for all the G20 member nations and pushing smaller institutions to develop “countercyclical” cash buffers to prevent future collapses.

    “The measures should “substantially reduce the probability and severity of economic and financial stress,” a statement released by the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said.”


    • eCAHNomics says:

      Just wait until the financial bets on people dying crash and burn. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wall St. arranges hit squads to make sure people die soon enough to make their financial instruments profitable. We ain’t anywhere near plumbing the depths of financial depravity.

  8. WarOnError says:


    Addington was Cheney’s hand puppet. I think that man sized safe in Cheney’s office may have been for housing puppets.

  9. libbyliberal says:

    I mean, when I was told I wasn’t going to stay, I voluntarily left.

    Worthy of Monty Python. But they brought up the Inquisition a lot, too.

    You know the line in All the President’s Men where the accounting assistant for Hugh Sloan says, “If you could get Mitchell, that would be beautiful!”

    Well, if you could get Addington, that would be beautiful!

    • emptywheel says:

      I repeat, again, my judgment that the most surprising moment (to me) at the Libby Trial is the way Fitz had Addington purring like a kitty. To this day I don’t know how that happened.

      • bmaz says:

        I don’t think it was that shocking. Addington thinks he is the smartest guy in the room and he wants to let others know it too. Ask him the right questions, set up in the proper manner, and he will blab I think. This is actually a fairly common phenomenon with lawyers suddenly on the stand answering questions instead of asking them. Fitzgerald did a very good job with Addington in how he crafted the examination.

      • libbyliberal says:

        Addington was described by U.S. News & World Report as “the most powerful man you’ve never heard of.”

        The omnipresent permission giver. Would have liked to have seen your Fitz wipe away that teflon smugness.

    • JohnnyTable70 says:

      Your quote makes me recall the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen produced Marshall McCluhan and says something like, “if only life could be like this.”

  10. alinaustex says:

    [email protected] 10
    Glad to see you back – So if I follow you the careerist at Langley will be leaking material evidence that Addington on behalf of Cheney was making the illegal toture legally good -and that kept the torture chambers open in various locales. Moreover if I also follow your discussion -that this leaking is done in the context of pushback to forestall any future Sec Defense from further poaching on traditional CIA functions and missions -particularly intelligence gathering that could lead to affirmative actions being tasked and ordered – ( IE the illegal occupation of Irak ) . Could these leaks from the line officers at Langley also include documents -such as working email threads talking about the “Team B” at the OVP ’s office ie Cambone, Feith , among others talking up the EIT ’s as a good way to get “actionable intelligence ” that would lash al Qa’ida and Saddam togather -to futher future 9-11 type attacks against CONUS ? This is all being discussed at about the same time frame -hellbells PappaDick is still out there talking up Atta ’s meet and greet in Prague with Baathist intelligence operatives .
    I’m asking Skimpypenguin in your best assesment will there be any “smoking gun” documentation come out linking directly the OVP with the promulgation /promotion and actual carrying out of torture – ?(A smoking gun email detailing how the OVP pushed Gen Miller into illegal torture at Gitmmo – boy that would be a pretty good pushback from the OGA ‘ers !)
    Just trying to keep up with this whole shebang – sure looks like the criminal conspiracy aka Cheney’s OVP , gwb43 , sure are counting on a whole bunch of eletronically generated and transmitted information remainig lost and never resurrected . BTW skimpypenguin – what is a SAP report ?
    Again skimpy thank you for your service -and thanks for contributing here .


      SAP = Special Access Program

      Yes, I think the field guys, not the career desk jockeys, will sink the whole OVP crowd.

      Folks, this is survival of the fittest. This isn’t going to end up with someone being fired or embarrassed in the 24 hour news cycle. We’re talking federal indictments. CIA paramilitaries are normal people like you and I. Set aside the partisan/ideological differences for a second. They have families, they have mortgages on nice houses in McLean and Chantilly, and they have cars and college to pay for.

      They are not going to let some CIA lawyer (Addington) and a draft-dodger (Cheney) get away with this unscathed. Many of them are ex-military and take this personally. They put their lives, careers and freedom on the line to execute orders directly from the White House. And this is how they’re repaid?

      You’re going to see so many leaks Empywheel is going to have to start a spin-off blog just to dissect it all. These people create counterinsurgencies, raise rebel armies and sneak around the globe for a living. They aren’t going to let Cheney get away. And FYI: if the Obama Administration tries to block this investigation quietly (or pardon people who threaten to detail operations that started during the Clinton years, which WILL come to light) they’ll obliterate him in 2012, too.

      These people do this for a living in hostile places all over the globe. They’re not going to go down without a fight. Many of them are like me: if I got guidance from the White House – directly – I wouldn’t ask any questions. Neither would any of you. That kind of involvement and proximity to the Presidency/Vice Presidency is intoxicating. I met General Powell once in Arlington, and I was speechless.

      Cheney abused that power and the respect brave men and women have for the office of the Presidency and the Office of the Vice President. He manipulated the CIA to interrogate, knowing he would hang them out to dry when the media caught on to it. But before that, he launched a parallel effort within JSOC to do all that in more, with the explicit intention of subverting Congressional oversight.

      I know the cliche is that CIA went rogue. Even JSOC and the contractors deserve a pass here. They trusted the OVP that this was legal and aboveboard. Did some of them relish operating extra-legally? Some did.

      Most did it because the Vice President asked them to. And now, they feel betrayed.

      • Rayne says:

        You may have a message about this.

        We’re in territory now where we are neophytes, much as people getting orders were in new territory a few years ago. We’re going to need guidance and tools.

        • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

          They’re smart. CIA/DIA/JSOC/SSB does this for a living.

          Expect leaks after the first major Obama policy victory. That way it’s all over the teevee and the bloggers spread it. It won’t be this week because of the health care/school noise.

          Business ties, affairs…they’ll start with that to knock them off balance and then start getting former military at GTMO and SOUTHCOM to go on the record about GTMO being ordered to use the same guidance the black sites fell under.

          Simultaneously, there will be an intensive campaign to show no links between Iraq and Syria, and Iraq and AQ. Former Iranian sources they’ve flipped, guys they were running out of Mosul who used to work for Saddam, those types of people will come forward with their blessing and protection. The idea will be to discredit Cheney and the crew in preparation for the big finale:

          Faulty intelligence. Raids on places that don’t exist, missed chances to find people in Pakistan, etc. They’ll tie it into the EIT program and show why it was ineffective. Some will stay silent and try to angle for a pardon, others will come completely clean. Look for the logistical and operations personnel more than the paramilitaries themselves to have the best testimony. If they were smart, they knew this day would come and kept all copies of cables, etc even if it was classified, to protect themselves. That stuff will start to come out when they know they can blanket the airwaves with it. Think a media shock and awe, by insiders, and then open warfare at the hearings. A lot of it will closed-session but the staffers will leak most of that (the money from WaPo, NYT, Newsweek is too good).

      • fatster says:

        We the People are betrayed. The persons who tortured violated law, international agreements, the Constitution, and humanity’s collective conscience (though, apparently, not their own). I recognize the comfort of thinking it was ordered by the OVP, but that excuse didn’t pass in Nuremburg and rightly so. The overriding goal is to bring to justice those who orchestrated and implemented these horrendous things.

        • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

          I have said on EW many times that it was not CIA, it was JSOC that did the truly horrible stuff. CIA stuck to the EITs (which themselves are indefensible) and contractors conducted the waterboarding(s).

          JSOC is the most guilty party. Followed by the contractors, and, finally, the least culpable and willing to go that far: college-educated, politically astute CIA paramilitaries.

          Seeing as Xe’s indictments have dovetailed with this special prosecutor appointment, I’d wager they will collide, if they haven’t already.

      • Mary says:

        They trusted the OVP that this was legal and aboveboard.

        I don’t buy that. You don’t kidnap someone into torture and watch how the whole thing is hidden and how foreign govs are desparate to have their roles kept secret – you don’t listent to Bush parrot our commitment to humane treatment publically while you torture disappeared persons privatley and think it is aboveboard.

        I’m hoping you are right on the rest, but it’s hope, not belief. There has been a lot of remorselessness over the better part of a decade by now, and a lot of people who rely on the protection of power of the offices of OVP and WH, no matter how much they may be angry over some things. And those people who need that protection have friends and colleagues who won’t want to rock the boat if it may damage them.

        There may be a lot of people with mortgages and kids on the soccer team, but they are also people who grown accustomed to working with the torturers and they have had years now of that subtle reinforcement hammering at them, that torture was patriotic and necessary and Cheney is the guy who will protect the torturers, their colleagues, themselves. Obamaco isn’t going to – they know that, they’ve seen what happens with Bush whistleblowers under Obama. It’s the Kappes and Brennans that Obama plays to, not the Moras and Tamms and Tagubas.

        With no real prosecutor and no real power, I really don’t think anything will come of any of this and if it starts to go down a path where something may come of it, Obama will rush in with claims of states secrets to cover things up. All someone will have to do is threaten to blow the foreign gov associations and there’s no place Obama won’t go to lock it down IMO.

        But I’ll hope I’m wrong and wait to see if I can believe. I like believing and I don’t get to do it much. Rachel Alexandra I believed in – Obama and his DOJ notsomuch and the concept of a lot of good and decent people who worked in the torture cesspool for the better part of a decade just waiting to get an opportunity to expose themselves and their colleagues, I don’t buy that. I tried to buy the dominos of Goldsmith, Comey, Levin as good guys really trying to draw a line, but the more that comes out, the less you can believe any of that.

        • ondelette says:

          Goldsmith wrote an OLC memo justifying rendition and looking for loopholes in Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention. He argued that a prisoner who had not been charged was not legally a civilian prisoner under 4th Geneva yet, so they could be deported as long as they were brought back after interrogation. Daniel Levin wrote a memo on how to make waterboarding legal under the Torture Act for James Comey. There are more, Michael J. Garcia (U.S.A. S.D.N.Y. for 3 years, prosecuting ‘terrorists’) wrote more memoes justifying rendition with respect to Geneva. There was a whole cottage industry in circumventing Geneva by people who have gone on either to undue respectability (Goldsmith), or at least lack of scrutiny (Garcia) while people got imprisoned, shipped, or tried and convicted using torture data.

          • Mary says:

            and bmaz @ 50

            I did actually try, even if it seems like I’ve been standing on the other side of the line for a long time. It’s like when a client comes in and tells their story and they are always the hero of every story. And you want to believe that, because it is going to make everything easier. But you have that ugly part in your job description where you have to keep asking them the next question and the next one and the answers always change the story and it never ever finishes with, “and they all lived happily everafter.”

            Even though I’ve been anklebiting for a long time, I have hung on to bits and pieces and in particular on the actual torture front waiting to see the memos or emails or any of it where there’s a “no” from someone, or anyone. That “no” that the planted pieces in Newsweek and WaPo etc. keep seeming to promise are there, *if only* we *knew* more, knew what the authors of the pieces knew. And then what comes out doesn’t take you where they implied, ever.

            Ondelette – I completely agree and have been saying some of that for a long time, but I still was willing to buy that there was this kind of titanic struggle, even though every question answered shows there was not. Not only did Goldsmith write that crap – but he has gone on to persistently and prominently editorialize for keeping the victims of his original, imo criminal, opinions disappeared and to try to further legitimize disappearing innocent people into depravity as a *sound policy* to *keep us safe.*

            Sitting on the knowledge of the old men on walkers sold into shackles and drugging and stripping and hooding and assaults and abuse and human experimentation, and the children stolen from their parents and shipped out of country to someplace like GITMO or disappeared into Bagram or Camp Cropper or elsewhere – sitting on the full pictorals and videos of what happens with the chaos of Executive whim that the has promoted – the existing results aren’t enough for him. He has to editorialize for more, longer, more invovled, more people interwoven in the process; a wider torture tent; a more public embrace of torture. That’s what he finds to be a worthwhile way to spend time. It’s how his interaction with torture and power shaped him and the frightening part is that it’s a face he proud to show and one that an institution like Harvard is willing to put on display. And in the end what you have is someone like Katyal being seduced by it too, giving more and more the luster of acceptablity.

            Some of the rest, the Thompsons at Pepsico (amazing Canadians are ok with that), the Comeys at Lockheed, the Ashcrofts raking in millions from Christies and elsewhere as lobbyists and consultants, the Philbins and Levins Kirklands and White & Cases – at least a lot of those have made their contribution to torture regimes then kept quiet. Goldsmith, like Yoo, can’t kick back and be satsified with what they’ve already destroyed. That’s just the chum on the water that draws them. They don’t want the feeding frenzy to end. They want to make torture an academic exercise in every way – and almost no one flinches from it. Certainly not Obama, who rushed to pick an Solicitor Gen from the ranks of those charmed by, and defensive of, the torture consultants who were architects of massive fraud on the courts.

            It’s why I can’t really buy into what Skimpy is floating, as much as I wanted, anymore than I could buy into what Newsweek floated or Goldsmith floated etc. I do think that people will leak from self defense, but I think with Obamaco in office, and the strength of hands held by Cheney and torturers (with Kagan, who would ultimately argue the cases before the Sup Ct a Goldsmith fan) the best self defense for a lot of those guys is keeping quiet for even longer. Or mentioning a foreign nation’s interaction as a surefire way to get high level states secrets invocations and walk away.

            Anyone who was going to be a hero I think already made their effort. And what has happened is that Obamaco used their leaks and whistleblowing to get into office, but has now hung them out to dry. Watching what has happened to the Bush whistleblowers under Obama isn’t really a great motivator for anyone else to step forward. And watching Obama adopt the same policies doesn’t help build the pool either. There’s not likely to be anyone out there with the goods who begins to buy into Soufan’s “now we aren’t going to do that” when they know why Obama is reserving rights to torture renditions. They know that al-Libi’s suiciding happened on Obama’s watch because he wouldn’t do anyting about it. They knew Obama wouldn’t move troops to protect Dostum’s mass grave site. They knew Obama won’t make a real commitment to doing the right thing and they’re biding their time bc that’s been the historic way to win and Obama’s not a game changer on that. IM kinda depressed and tired today opinion.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Cheney abused that power and the respect brave men and women have for the office of the Presidency and the Office of the Vice President. He manipulated the CIA to interrogate, knowing he would hang them out to dry when the media caught on to it. But before that, he launched a parallel effort within JSOC to do all that in more, with the explicit intention of subverting Congressional oversight.

        First, I hope you’re genuinely who you claim to be.

        Second, I hope you’re right.

        Third, if they allow themselves to get rolled by Mr Five Deferments, the Draft Dodger Extraordinaire Richard Cheney, then they should find other means of employment.

        Fourth, I just want it to be legal — and public. I want the law to work, because that would be the ultimate ‘fuck you!‘ for Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Cambone, Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, Gonzo, et al. Getting these bastards legally would be the ultimate payback. Here’s hoping…

      • Nell says:

        The CIA and special forces have been involved with torture — engaging in it and training military and paramilitary clients — for decades. The agency spent millions of dollars and many years developing and refining a program of coercive interrogation. The frequency with which the CIA has incorporated special forces in its activities makes it hard to draw a line between the two (as you yourself pointed on on a previous thread).

        The picture of heroic field operatives utterly uninvolved with torture until led astray by the evil OVP is neither convincing nor useful in tracing the torture program as it existed from 2001 to early 2009.

        • Jeff Kaye says:

          I also believe that SP’s scenario doesn’t fit all the facts. I agree with SP that JSOC is far more culpable than typically discussed. However, the interpenetration of SO and CIA is something even less discussed. You are correct to emphasize the previous existence of a long-standing torture program. To my knowledge, it has never been totally disassembled, and lived on within OTS at CIA, and perhaps J9 at JFCOM, if not at Ft. Huachuca. Cheney/Addington woke the tiger, and rode it, but the bureaucrats at these agencies have seen POTUSs and Veeps come and go. They remain. They get promoted. They go into industry, or start their own companies. The military-intelligence-industrial complex does not boil down to Cheney and Addington, no matter how you slice it. The latter may be indictable, and I certainly hope so, but we are looking at a many-headed hydra.

          • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

            JPRA has always been a two-headed monster:
            preparing to defend against it, and studying ways to implement it regardless of which POTUS is in office.

            “it” being torture.


      In all seriousness…before anyone guffaws, GWB also deserves a pass.

      The man was a born-again recovering alcoholic who dabbled with cocaine and barely graduated from college. He failed at everything he ever did and embarrasses probably the coolest dad ever (his dad was a Navy pilot, the CIA director and the Vice President. What the fuck?)

      Cheney, on the other hand, has stated on the record he felt the Presidency was “diminished” after Nixon’s administration. No conspiracy theory needed: He was planning to be the most powerful VP for over 30 years. He didn’t want to be President. He wanted to be VP and have the intelligence and defense portfolios. Cheney (and Addington) are all about ego and revenge, not greed and power. The power was a means to an end. They had certain ideas of how the Presidential power should be expanded, and he conned Bush into delegating all the “boring” stuff to him. Happened in Iran-Contra, happens every day in the military.

      • Nell says:

        all about ego and revenge, not greed and power

        Right. The skyrocketing Halliburton stock was just a happy, accidental by-product.

  11. emptywheel says:

    I compare it with HJC, which is obviously not a fair comparison.

    That said, what surprised me was NOT that Fitz asked the right questions, but that Addy offered up so much totally damning answers.

    • bmaz says:

      The structure of Walton’s courtroom and a pro asking tailored questions is a hell of a lot different than the bozos at HJC. For all the bad about Addington, he strikes me as a laced up guy when it comes to real authority over him; he was disdainful to HJC, but sure as heck not with Walton sitting next to and above him and an USA/AG designate examining him. I was always bummed NSA/CREW didn’t do more to put him in the chair, even for custodian testimony, but they probably wouldn’t have done much anyway I suppose.

      • emptywheel says:

        I think it was all seeded in whatever GJ/depositions he did. And it comes down to an absolute command of the facts.

        That’s the kind of authority that makes David Addington heed, I think.

    • rincewind says:

      I remember thinking at the time that Addington reminded me of a couple of Aspergers friends — they just don’t seem to have any internal ‘inhibitor’ on saying whatever’s in their mind (and they DO think they’re the smartest people in the room ;> ) But yeah, Fitz played him very very well.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I made a complete ass of myself in one of those conversations.
        But watching Addington a bit more closely, he comes across as a guy who is so certain of his own omniscience, and so scornful of others, that his insolence really is breathtaking.

        He’s aggressive, and he appears to have an incredibly inflated sense of his own importance; it’s a toxic combo.

        • rincewind says:

          What I remember was having such a sense of deja vu watching Addington, and puzzling over what it was reminding me of, and then when ?Rayne? first mentioned Aspergers the light went on — a college prof/dept head (IT), a friend of mine in the dept (who’s most likely either developing neural networks or a homeless loonie, could go either way), and my dad (a recovering lawyer and a total putz at relationships).

          • Rayne says:

            He’s surely without any awareness of how dickish he is; the video from the HJC committee linked above is quite good as we can see he has complete disregard for others social rank, being focused only on his own agenda.

            I can think of a manager I knew like that, an engineer by education who was completely blind to social ramifications of his assholishness. Got promoted to management for being a technical whiz — and definitely not for his people skills. (I swear to God that many of the problems with GM often the last several decades were because of placing assholes like this in places where numbers mattered more than people.)

          • Mary says:

            He actually reminded me of other lawyers and business guys I’ve known who have that same style. I’m kind of refreshed to hear that for a lot of people they would think someone like Addington falls into a a severe personality disorder group instead of something they hit up against in any big deal and too often in small deals.

  12. BMcGarth says:

    emptywheel,Obama is trying to “look forward” code for no intestinal fortitude to do the right thing.It’s no surprise that Cheney & Addington were involved directly.
    Thew problem is the Prez much like his AG seem ineffectual for the job of Prez,remember defending & up holding the laws of the Land ?

  13. Rayne says:

    Dammitall, I can’t figure out how I got down the rabbit hole I’m in, but I think I tripped on something while poking around in all things Addington. There’s no direct line between Addington and this stuff that I can see, just found a bunch of stuff and saw a possible pattern.

    Remember the hullabaloo about John Bolton requesting NSA intercepts? It seems one of them was about Libyan stuff, and it was blown off at the time because it appeared to be under his purview (unlike North Korea).

    Apparently Bolton asked about William Burns, Asst. Secy of State for Near East Affairs. Burns was named ambassador to Russia in August 2005; he held the ambassadorship until late spring of 2008.

    You’ll recall that Liz Cheney became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs as of Feb. 2005 upon her return from working for Bush/Cheney 2004. She supported C. David Welch as Asst. Secy of State for Near East Affairs; Welch was named to this position in March 2005.

    Note the gap: Burns is shown as stepping down and being replaced in March 2005 by Welch, but Burns has no apparent formal role with DoS until August 2005.

    Welch ultimately is responsible for the agreement signed in 2008 between Libya and the U.S. to settle past claims, allowing Libya to restore a diplomatic relationship with the U.S.

    In the background, there is the case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who had been rendered and held as a “ghost detainee” until his apparent death this year in a Libyan prison. A speech by Bush in October 2002 and Colin Powell’s report of Feb. 2003 to the UN were allegedly based on information from al-Libi. al-Libi had been shipped to Egypt and tortured some time in early 2002 after he’d already been interrogated with some success by the FBI in late 2001; he is shifted around, “ghosted”, located at some points in time in Pakistan and in Poland, until he is identified as being moved to a black site in Mauritania in November 2005. al-Libi “disappears” from American control between November 2005 and September 2006, eventually being repatriated to Libya sometime in 2006.

    Keep in mind that the continent of Africa is part of the portfolio under the Asst. Secy of State of Near East Affairs.

    Is all of this related, or just random circumstance?

  14. STTPinOhio says:

    Addington, aka Cheney’s Cheney, directly involved in torture memos?

    Nooooo… you don’t say!

    Will wonders ever cease?

  15. bmaz says:

    I tried to buy the dominos of Goldsmith, Comey, Levin as good guys really trying to draw a line, but the more that comes out, the less you can believe any of that.

    Heh heh, I do not recall you being willing to spend much, if anything, on those unfit for use intended goods though.

  16. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Mind you, this is only proof that Addington had direct communication with Yoo and Bradbury, but not Levin. It doesn’t prove that Levin was ousted to make it easier for Addington to direct the OLC opinion writing process.

    From SSCI Report: “Release of Declassified Narrative Describing The DoJ OLC’s Opinions on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program” [22 April 2009, Sen John D Rockefeller, IV]:

    PREFACE: ‘… an initial narrative of the history of the opinions of the DoJ’s OLC from 2002 to 2007, on the legality of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program…’

    p. 3: “… In April 2002, attys from the CIA’s Office of Gen Counsel began discussions with the Legal Advisor to the NSC and OLC concerning the CIA’s proposed interrogation plan for Abu Zubaydah and legal restrictions on that interrogation. CIA records indicate that the Legal Advisor to the NSC briefed the National Security Advisor [Rice?], Deputy National Security Advisor [Hadley], and Counsel to the Pres. [Gonzo], as well as the AG [Ashcroft] and the head of the Criminal Division of DoJ [Chertoff?].”

    p. 7 “… In the spring of 2003, the DCI asked for a reaffirmation of the policies and practices of the interrogation program. In July 2003**, according to CIA recrods, the NSC Principals met to discuss the interrogation techniques employed in the CIA program. According to CIA records, the DCI and the CIA’s General Counsel attended a meeting with the Vice President, the National Security Advisor [Rice], the AG [Ashcroft], the Acting Asst AG for the OLC [?? Levin???], the Counsel to the President [Gonzo], and the Legal Advisor to teh NSC to describe the CIA’s interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. According to CIA records, at the conclusion of the meeting, the Principals reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy.

    p. 8: “In May 2004, after the issuance of the IG review, CIA records indicate that the CIA’s General Counsel met with the Counsel to the President [Gonzo], the Counsel to the VP [Addington], the NSC Legal Advisor, and senior DoJ officials about the CIA’s program and IG review.”

    ** the month Valerie Plame was ‘outed’ by OVP.

    And from the SSCI Report on Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq Counducted By … PCEG adn the OSP within DoD/Policy…

    Dec 2001: Rome meetings, in which Hadley and Wolfowitz tell Larry Franklin and Harold Rhodes to go to the meeting with Ghorbanifar and Iranian’s in Italy, and to tell no one, including the CIA because the Iranians ‘don’t trust the CIA’. Michael Ledeen sets up the meeting. (The Iranians are said to have ‘distrusted’ the CIA, probably b/c the CIA knew they were full of shit and it was the only way the Iranians could get away with feeding info into DoD-OVP.)

    p. 6: ‘The tasking later came back to [Rodman] through senior DoD channels as a request from NSA Hadley for the DoD to pursue the meeting with Iranians. Mr. Ledeen advised [SSCI] that he had contacted Mr. Hadley, who he described as an ‘old friend’, and subsequently met with Mr Hadley and another NSC official to present Mr. Ghorbanifar’s## offer to arrange meetings with Iranian officials….”

    p. 9: “The US Gov’t officials involved in approving the Rome meeting had the authority to do so, even if it was considered an intelligence activity. Under the National Security Act of 1947, the NSC … is given broad authority to identify intelligence needs, establish priorities to meet those intelligence needs, and establish policies relating to the conduct of intelligence activities of the US…”

    p. 9: “Thus, Mr Hadley, who received concurrence from NSA Rice, had the authority to request Dep Sec Wolfowitz, who coordinated with Sec Rumsfeld, to dispatch two DoD employees to Rome to meet with Iranians…”

    p. 9: “While the DoD had the authority to conduct the meeting in Rome, there was limited advance coordination of the activity outside the Department. … Mr Hadley had advised DoD to pursue the matter on a close-hold basis due to its unusual nature and Dep Sec Wolfowitz had reiterated that guidance…” [i.e., the totally cut the CIA, the FBI, the DIA, or any other intel agency out of the meeting]

    p. 14: “… it genuinely seemed to be Mr Franklin’s perception that [the info he received from the Iranians about attacks on US fighters in Afghanistan] had ‘saved American lives‘. [I include this bit because these are precisely the words Cheney uses to excuse torture.]

    p. 22: “Mr. Franklin recalled being approached by an official of the OVP in early 2002 requesting his opinion of Mr. Ghorbanifar’s plan and his judgements of its prospects for success….”


    Both the SSCI report on the OCL memos, and the SSCI report on OSP (Feith’s shop within DoD, set up by the neocons) have repeated references to the OVP, which brings Addington into sharp relief drawing up the intertwining policies that led to the OLC memos and the activity in DoD’s OSP office.

    The OLC memos are only part of the story, but when one realizes that they were being written at the same period when Ledeen was putting together secret meetings in Italy (where DoD employees were to meet with Iranians, but keep the meetings secret — not even sharing intel with the CIA), it’s clear that all of this nonsense looks a bit Keystone Cops-ish, but it would have required a legal ediface so complex that it would make baroque church organs look like simple gizmos.

    ## Ghorbanifar of Iran-Contra infamy.

  17. Rayne says:

    And once they get through the layer of lawyers, there’s going to be a layer of management which will claim they are covered under USC Title 10 (military actions under direction of executive without Congressional oversight) versus USC Title 50 (intel operations subject to Congressional oversight).

    This is teed up early with Addington and/or Yoo wrt to powers of president as C-in-C during a time of war. But it will be the little guys who are going to argue this point, that they were told this was a military op and therefore not subject to any additional disclosure and oversight, ollie-ollie-oxenfree and all that.

  18. x174 says:

    thanks for staying on top of this festering heap of lies, distortions, untruths, misrepresentations, falsehoods, deceptions and, of course, crimes.

    until the DOJ commences to actually DO something meaningful about the steaming heap of atrocities, i find it difficult to pay attention to all the legalistic shenanigans.

  19. nanute says:

    In response to [email protected]: Any good defense lawyer will demand full discovery….
    Call me a cynic, but they won’t produce all the relevant docs. Didn’t a very prominent gov’t case against a Senator from Alaska just get overturned for this very same reason?

  20. drational says:

    I suspect Levin was predisposed to standing in the way of coverup. I bet you can compile a list of people they wanted out of the way to deal with the torture issue from the Comey Testimony on warrantless wiretapping:

    James Comey, Jack Goldsmith, Patrick Philbin, Chuck Rosenberg, Daniel Levin, James Baker, David Ayres, were all listed by Comey as DOJ folks prepared to resign from the Government if the Warrantless Surveillance program continued illegally in 2004. Besides Levin, Philbin and Comey, I am not sure who else was around to resist the torture immunity memos in 2005.

  21. alinaustex says:

    [email protected] 38.
    Maybe you can make an agument for Dubya’s not being prosecuted for war crimes – but only if the Bush family promises to go after the Cheney clan hammer & tong. Hammer & Tong meaning –telling us where all the bodies are buried , or at least giving us guidance where to go seek that information.Furthermore the Bushies would have to give the ongoing investigation political credence too -maybe send one of the the family lawyers/mouthpieces-like former Attorney General Thornburgh out to talk on the “bobblehead shows” -explaining why we needed to bring Cheney and his unitarian neocon possee to Justice ! Then and only then would I consider giving President Cod Piece any semblance of a pass..
    Again skimpypenguin thank you for still posting here -and I for one have full faith and confidence you are who you say you are -because frankly your insights track favorable with some other ‘formers’ I have been blessed to get to know.
    So carry on -skimpypenguin -and God Speed …
    And ps ..bmaz if you are reading this you might want to go read a short book “Operation Hotel California ” to get a sense in just how pissed off the spooks at the pointy end of the spear have become , and for what reasons,,,,

    • bmaz says:

      Where were these heroic and patriotic spooks the last eight years? Why are they suddenly going to come out and do the right thing after it is so late? Why do they wait until statutes of limitation are expiring? When exactly are they going to manifest and execute this grand plan? When before has the rule of law been saved by a bunch of spooks (they are pretty effective at breaking the law and lying and dissembling about it though)? Who is going to execute on this fantastical plan – the DOJ that is still corrupted and complicit? Obama and Holder who have been quite consistently clear they do not intend to do anything of the sort? I have not read Operation Hotel California, but I am familiar with it and have heard an NPR interview with the author.

      • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

        They’re coming out because now they might burn for someone else’s arrogance.

        Never underestimate self-preservation; it’s very powerful.

        • bmaz says:

          A fair answer perhaps, and always a solid default explanation in such criminal and quasi-criminal situations. Although I have to wonder what real exposure these folks have at this point. There are likely no more than a handful, maybe two, that have any exposure to the limited review underway, and there is no reason whatsoever to believe it will go any further than that.

        • Boston1775 says:

          bmaz asked you where were all of these heroic spooks for the last eight years.

          Your reply was:

          They’re coming out because now they might burn for someone else’s arrogance.

          Never underestimate self-preservation; it’s very powerful.

          Kinda gives their values away, doesn’t it? SELF-preservation?

          This is exactly how the head of the CIA, Admiral Stansfeld Turner, handled himself in front of the MKULTRA committee in 1977 after Kennedy’s committee was apprised of seven boxes of information of CIA subprojects which were not destroyed – accidentally.

          Stan (he probably had a wife, kids and a mortgage) says:

          Until the recent discovery, it was believed that all of the MKULTRA files dealing with behavioral modification had been destroyed in 1973 on the orders of the then retiring Chief of the Office of Technical Service, with the authorization of the DCI, as has been previously reported. Almost all of the people who had had any connection with the aspects of the project which interested Senate investigators in 1975 were no longer with the Agency at that time. Thus, there was little detailed knowledge of the MKULTRA subprojects available to CIA during the Church Committee investigations. This lack of available details, moreover, was probably not wholly attributable to the

          destruction of MKULTRA files in 1973; the 1963 report on MKULTRA by the Inspector General notes on page 14: “Present practice is to maintain no records of the planning and approval of test programs.”

          Here’s the information that WASN’T intentionally destroyed – and mind you, the following acts were performed on Americans:

          1. Research into the effects of behavioral drugs and/or alcohol:

          17 subprojects probably not involving human testing;

          14 subprojects definitely involving tests on human volunteers;

          19 subprojects probably including tests on human volunteers. While not known, some of these subprojects may have included tests on unwitting subjects as well;

          6 subprojects involving tests on unwitting subjects.

          2. Research on hypnosis: 8 subprojects, including 2 involving hypnosis and drugs in combination.

          3. Acquisition of chemicals or drugs: 7 subprojects.

          4. Aspects of magicians’ art useful in covert operations: e.g., surreptitious delivery of drug-related materials: 4 subprojects.

          5. Studies of human behavior, sleep research, and behavioral changes during psychotherapy: 9 subprojects.

          6. Library searches and attendance at seminars and international conferences on behavioral modification: 6 subprojects.

          7. Motivational studies, studies of defectors, assessment, and training techniques: 23 subprojects.

          8. Polygraph research: 3 subprojects.

          9. Funding mechanisms for MKULTRA external research activities: 3 subprojects.

          10. Research on drugs, toxins, and biologicals in human tissue; provision of exotic pathogens and the capability to incorporate them in effective delivery systems: 6 subprojects.

          11. Activities whose objectives cannot be determined from available documentation: 3 subprojects.

          12. Subprojects involving funding support for unspecified activities connected with the Army’s Special Operations Division at Fr. Detrick, Md. This activity is outline in Book I of the Church Committee Report, pp. 388-389. (See Appendix A, pp. 68-69.) Under CIA’s Project MKNAOMI, the Army Assisted CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems for use against humans as well as against animals and crops. The objectives of these subprojects cannot be identified from the recovered material beyond the fact that the money was to be used where normal funding channels would require more written or oral justification than appeared desirable for security reasons or where operational considerations dictated short lead times for purchases. About $11,000 was involved during this period 1953-1960: 3 subprojects.

          13. Single subprojects in such areas as effects of electro-shock, harassment techniques for offensive use, analysis of extrasensory perception, gas propelled sprays and aerosols, and four subprojects involving crop and material sabotage.

          14. One or two subprojects on each of the following:

          “Blood Grouping” research, controlling the activity of animals, energy storage and transfer in organic systems; and

          stimulus and response in biological systems.

          15. Three subprojects canceled before any work was done on them having to do with laboratory drug screening, research on brain concussion, and research on biologically active materials to be tested through the skin on human volunteers.

          Now, as to how much new the recovered material adds to what has previously been reported to the Church Committee and to Senator Kennedy’s Subcommittee on Health on these topics, the answer is additional detail, for the most part: e.g., the names of previously unidentified researchers and institutions associated on either a witting or unwitting basis with MKULTRA activities, and the names of CIA officials who approved or monitored the various subprojects. Some new substantive material is also present: e.g., details concerning proposals for experimentation and clinical testing associated with various research projects, and a possibly improper contribution by CIA to a private institution. However, the principal types of activities included have, for the most part, either been outlined to some extent or generally described in what was previously available to CIA in the way of documentation and was supplied by CIA to Senate investigators. For example:

          Financial disbursement records for the period 1960-1964 for 76 of the 149 numbered MKULTRA subprojects had been recovered from the Office of Finance by CIA and were made available to the Church Committee investigators in August or September 1975.

          The 1963 Inspector General report on MKULTRA made available to both the Church Committee and Senator Kennedy’s Subcommittee mentions electro-shock

          and harassment substances (pp. 4, 16); covert testing on unwitting U.S. citizens (pp. 7, 10-12); the search for new materials through arrangements with specialists in universities, pharmaceutical houses, hospitals, state and federal institutions, and private research organizations (pp. 7, 9); and the fact that the Technical Service Division of CIA had initiated 144 subprojects related to the control of human behavior between 1953-1963 (p. 21).

        • Boston1775 says:

          They’re coming out because now they might burn for someone else’s arrogance.

          Never underestimate self-preservation; it’s very powerful.


          In 1977, while Stan Turner was testifying under oath in front of Ted Kennedy’s committee, he was hiding the hideous fact that children were being tortured in dissociative states and trained to be spies and sex-slaves.

          The following is from a 1995 Presidential Hearing on Radiation and Mind Control Experiments done on American Citizens.

  22. behindthefall says:

    Perhaps SKIMPYPENGUIN has made this clear and I’ve just missed it, but what is heating up the tin roof on which these cats who might sing are sitting? Are they about to be let go? (SP mentioned that they have everyday lives that depend on regular paychecks, not family fortunes.) But who’s going to fire them? Who finds their continued employment inconvenient? Isn’t the wind just going to bend over the tops of the trees, not uproot trunks? (Sorry — been following too many tropical depressions, I guess …) But isn’t it very hard to change the lower-downs in an organization? Isn’t it usually the case that a few higher-ups get blown away, but little else happens, even with the best of will?

  23. fatster says:

    They’re ALL connected at the roots (=the root of all evil, or money).

    Ring Prosecutors: Top Ashcroft Aide Helped Abramoff Client, Didn’t Disclose Hoops Tix
    Zachary Roth | September 7, 2009, 11:18AM

    “We told you on Friday that David Ayres, a close John Ashcroft ally, looks set to plead the fifth in the latest corruption trial of a Jack Abramoff underling. And over the weekend we got fresh detail on what looks like Ayres’s cozy relationship with Team Abramoff.

    “In documents filed yesterday in the corruption trial of Abramoff aide Kevin Ring, and examined by TPMmuckraker, prosecutors asserted that Ayres — who at the time was Ashcroft’s chief of staff at the Justice Department — helped Ring win federal money for a prison to be built on the reservation of the Choctaw Indians, an Abramoff client. Prosecutors also asserted that Ring then gave Ayres tickets to the 2002 NCAA basketball tournament in Washington D.C. And, they say, the following year, Ring gave Ayres’s wife tickets to a pro hoops game after she had said that she wanted them as a birthday gift for her husband. Ayres didn’t report any of these tickets on financial disclosure forms, say the Ring prosecutors.”


  24. Mary says:

    Sometimes running like a girl beats being Macho, again and again and again.

    @77 During Ashcroftian days the acting USA for Guam, Black, who was pushing on a lot of things, was fired and a report that he and another DOJ employee (Meissner, who also got *demoted*) prepared for Congress got deep sixed and never sent on to Congress. The Black firing seems like a trial run for the USA firings, but they managed to get an IG report done with Gonzales at the DOJ helm in 2006. It relied pretty heavily on things Kyle Sampson told the inspectors (Hello????? NORA?!) and pretty much left out all the nifty little things that were, oh, say, in actual freakin emails sent by Abramoff.

    This older article in The Nation has some background and a dkos poster, dengre, has a lot of stuff on this in multiple posts.

    So Black sees issues and his info get directed to Gonzales who is WH Counsel at the time. Meissner takes issues to his boss, this guy named McNulty, then at the ED VA. You know, the guy whose crew got the criminal investigation referrals for torture and the guy who had such a convincing line during the USAtty firings hearings. Oddly enough, they didn’t get their backs covered much by Gonzales and McNulty and then Gonzales and McNulty go on to end up as AG and DAG. Go figure. But the real disgrace is the IG report that was coughed up by DOJ.

    It just pretended there was no such thing as Abramoff’s emails, despite everything going on with them. In particular, it ignored this email:

    The other immediate (next two weeks) challenge is the Justice Department.
    Last week the bad guys who still work there (the ones who got that bad letter on Murkowski issued) started a drum beat that the CNMI had to be taken over, because it was a loophole in the federal immigration network, and that, as such, was a threat on terrorism. They have been spending a week or so telling everyone who will listen that the CNMI, if it is not taken over, will be a major entry point for terrorists. This, of course, is patently ridiculous, actually just the opposite, and we have been working to counter this, but they are not backing down. We had the COS of the Justice Department [that would be David Ayres] in our box at todays Redskins game and it seems that there might be a classified document floating in the department which deals with this matter. Making it classified, if that is indeed the case, was a good idea by our opponents, since that means we cannot get it[darnit, all they can get is a chit chat about it from Ayers – that classified thingy works real well]. Hopefully Babauta has some connections there and can get a copy (perhaps at least on a redacted version), which he can pass on to you to draft a response. If this is at a stage where it is gaining momentum, he will need to leak into the press that they are considering this and how it is exactly the opposite of what should be happening. This is a real potential threat. It will require some major action from the Hill and a press attack to get this back in the bottle. He should just follow the example we have used in the past, where we get the press out front carefully and push the Administration back.

    I am supposed to see the Attorney General next week (the Thursday after Simchas Torah) and Kevin was slated to play basketball with him before then. We will both mention this to him. The AG will be fine, but the underlings are a worrisome matter. I am not sure what to suggest on this one, other than well pass on what we get from the COS, and you guys should do your best to hook up with as many of the Asst AGs as possible and the political folks there. There are, I believe, some former travelers (folks who visited the CNMI during Froilans time) among them. Well hope that the higher ups will take some time to squash this on their own. If not, it could get to be a fire fight.

    emph and [] added.

    Ring was Ashcroft’s staffer when Ashcroft was a Senator and was, with Coughlin, hired on by Abramoff for – well, for what he got. Access. Ayres chats about classified memos involving Abramoff’s clients to Abramoff, while Ayres is at a Redskins game favor of Abamoff; Abramoff sends out his emails, underlings like Black and Meissner get whacked hard on the job front with something “less than” protection from Gonzales and McNulty, Ring and Abramoff are going to meet with and play hoops with Ashcroft to get the report squashed and voila – not only do the authors get whacked hard but the DOJ takes it upon itself to make sure the report doesn’t make it Congress. And there it sits until well after Abramoff’s emails are made public and the Congressional committee can push to get it.

    All of which makes the things that are being pushed in the trials seem small potatoes and you have to wonder how many statutes vis a vis Ashcroft are being run out while DOJ changes their game from PIG to HORSE to ELEPHANT to YELLOW THROATED EUPHONIA. But at least they are keeping Ashcroft distracted by having Christie throw money at him. Good job guys.

    • radiofreewill says:

      Mary – There was a Judge, iirc, also involved in the Black/Meissner/CNMI affair – and, at about the same time that Black got fired and Meissner got demoted, again iirc, the Judge was promoted onto a lifetime Bench seat. The Bush Administration said his promotion was the ‘normal course of affairs’ at that point in the Judge’s career, or something like that.

      Do we know who that Judge was? And, where do Judges for Territories, like CNMI, actually sit? Ever since the story dropped-off the radar, I’ve wondered if the Judge was somehow connected to Abramoff and/or Rove, or otherwise caught-up in manipulation by Noel Hillman’s PIN (Public Integrity Section,) the same group that is said to have been involved in the Judge-selection in the Seigelman Affair.

      • Mary says:

        I’m not sure if I know which judge you mean (on the complicated Abramoff intersections dengre is about the best there is) but Hillman himself got put on the District Court bench after his activities as head of Public Integrity were well received by RNC/White House/Abramoff and seemed to make Canary crew happy as well.,2933,182793,00.html

        Anyway, when Hillman got his slot the WH tried to say it had all been “in the works” and appearances making it look like a payoff were coincidental and the similarity to Bybee giving away the torture farm and then getting his judicial appointment were also coincidental.

        EW did a piece on Hillman getting called in to discuss Siegelman
        Bush took a run at putting ex-Abramoff *prosecutor* Judge Hillman onto the Third Circuit, but that fizzled.…..c-90000509

        • fatster says:

          Thanks, Mary and radiofreewill @ 84. Despite all my frustration and anger about the Seigelman thing, I had forgotten the Hillman portion of this sorry mess. So, frustration and anger up by many more notches now. Sigh.

  25. timbo says:

    bmaz and Mary,

    Yeah, cynicism may be the order of the day…but it is not the best play. Rather than prepare folks for disappointment, how about continuing to cover whatever legal issues you feel might increase the chances of legal consequences for the tortures, thugs, etc? Not questioning your credentials with that question, just making an observation that once your view has been expressed that it does nothing to further accountability by outlining ways that Holder and Obama might take to get out of actually enforcing the laws and the Constitution…unless you have a plan to thwart that? So, I keep my fingers crossed that there is indeed a plan. If not a plan, than at least an incling that burying justice isn’t the only likely outcome of War On Terror.

    • bmaz says:

      I call em as I see em, for better or worse. It is not my job to be overly and patronizingly optimistic when there is no factual basis for the same. In the same vein, exposing the ways in which this is all being shunted and gamed does, in fact, further the cause of accountability by exhibiting how the craven will try to escape it. A citizenry better informed of the avenues of escape is a citizenry better prepared to foreclose them.

  26. Garrett says:

    I’m interested to see whether they prosecute the death of Asad Jaleel in Iraq.

    It is the most brutal of all the deaths. It seems a very prosecutable case, without the evidence problems. He had official EPW status.

    It was Special Forces and regular soldiers who beat him, at separate times.

    There is a suggestion or a possibility of premeditated murder.

    Two Special Forces interrogation notes before his deaths have notations like ”this guy is too dangerous to ever let out.” He was already badly beaten, with the distinct ring of bruising around his abdomen and some teeth knocked out, no longer able to stand, then they broke his neck and broke all his ribs and stuck a gag in his mouth.

    It’s very much the sort of case they say they are intending to reconsider. Clearly beyond anything like an “authorization”. But the Special Forces involvement raises awkward questions.

  27. Boston1775 says:

    Project Paperclip was organized to bring over Nazi scientists and doctors to the United States at the end of WWII.

    The list of hospitals, universities, military sites, prisons and NASA facilities in which these experiments were done has been declassified. At the time of Ted Kennedy’s hearing, that list was classified and Stan Turner said he would notify them privately. Hmmmm…..

    The way that the CIA obtained children for experimentation is told to you by the second youtube above.

    You see, she was sexually abused by her family and exploited. When the CIA found the pictures or films which were spread through the pedophile rings, rather than arrest the families and find homes for the children, the CIA allowed the children to be sold to them.

    No jail time.

    See how that keeps working out?

    No jail time.

    For a corroborating story, and interestingly, a CIA agent that actually apparently did something to save a child, Kelly is her name, read this pdf:…..1;c-obrien

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