Crazy Pete Hoekstra: Obama Must Torture

Crazy Pete Hoekstra (and his side-kick, John Shadegg) lives up to his nick-name with this op-ed today in the right wing Washington Times.

He argues that the increased fatalities in Afghanistan stem from a lack of intelligence. And from that claim, he argues that Obama has to abandon the Army Field Manual–basically, he’s calling for a return to the torture regime implemented by the Bush Administration.

For our troops to succeed and protect themselves, it is urgent that we step up our intelligence collection. Regrettably, Obama administration policies are undermining the collection of intelligence against terrorist activities worldwide, but especially in Afghanistan. 


Despite the effectiveness of CIA interrogation of senior al Qaeda suspects, last August President Obama stripped the CIA of responsibility for such interrogations and handed it to an interagency team to be led by the FBI and monitored by the White House. This multiagency interrogation bureaucracy will be restricted to using interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual. It is certain to be much less effective in obtaining crucial and timely intelligence needed to protect our troops. 

Hoekstra claims that Obama has contributed to low morale, citing as proof a letter written by seven guys who no longer work at CIA.

For example, the risk of being investigated and prosecuted for working on counterterrorism programs is causing CIA officers to flee from such jobs or leave the CIA entirely. This was made clear by a bipartisan Sept. 18 letter from seven former CIA directors. It noted the "distraction and devastating impact" that reopening an investigation into enhanced interrogation of al Qaeda suspects is having on "CIA morale, America’s counterterrorism efforts and our foreign intelligence partnerships." 

But wait!! See those quotation marks, implying that the CIA ex-Directors said precisely those words? Do you see those words in their actual letter?  Nope–me neither, not even searching for those words in a searchable PDF. In fact, the word "morale" doesn’t even appear in the letter.

That, Congressman Hoekstra, is called "making shit up." You can quote me on it.

And speaking of "making shit up," Hoekstra claims that Nancy Pelosi, "has accused CIA officers of being pathological liars."

Um. No. She said they did not tell her that they were in the business of waterboarding–sort of like when Crazy Pete himself complained that the CIA didn’t tell him about certain covert programs. And Porter Goss, who was in that briefing, does not disagree with Pelosi.

For a guy arguing about intelligence, Crazy Pete sure doesn’t show much of it–either the spooky kind, or the plain old ability to write a coherent argument kind.

Update: In somewhat related news, Spencer reports that the Republicans have withdrawn from the SSCI investigation. From DiFi:

I very much regret the fact that the Republican side of the Intelligence Committee has chosen not to continue to participate in the Committee’s study and investigation into the detention and interrogation of high-value detainees. However, that study and investigation is being pursued, additional staff are being hired, and the Committee is continuing the work with all due diligence.

75 replies
  1. Mary says:

    You knew they were going to call on him, but I have to wonder if watching the FBI rollups, using real law enforcement work instead of random kidnap and torture of guys named Khalid, is making them a little more agitated.

    BTW – I heard someone on an NPR radio program this morning making the commetn about real law enforcement work vs military invasion and occupation and WaPos Ruth Marcus got all huffy about the “false choice” and said that while you couldn’t just go around using drones in America to bomb people, that was the yeah rah way to go everywhere else in the world. All without any facts, logic or rationale, or any seeming realization that if you were Muslim in another country, you’d have to be scratching your head a bit over her answer that blowing up homes in America is bad, but its a great thing elsewhere – innocent civilians not being such a bid dealio elsewhere.

    Also OT – Joe Galloway has an op piece up on Afghanistan…..ni_popular
    It has a lot of good points to ponder, but also points out that bc of our military occupation approach to Afghanistan, when we cut back on drones we are losing more soldiers.

    How many of those who we are successfully killing of, with drones or troops, would be a threat to America if American troops weren’t based in their country? That’s the conversation I’m still waiting for someone to have. How many of the people who are “fighting *us*” are threats to America vs threats to occupiers in their country?

      • Mary says:

        I’d already seen the Huffpo video when I posted. I still think that the torturers aren’t happy to see real plots getting real response with the FBI using law enforcement techniques, since it undercuts them some.

        BTW, on the “he” in your 1, are you meaning Obama? I haven’t seen anyone give much contaxt on the three guys in fatigues hust;ing the guy into a car, but is it your understanding that the video is of the military taking someone pursuant to some kind of executive order or similar authorization? It seemed kind of an odd video o me, with them picking out that one guy, no markings on the car, driving off and leaving everyone else, etc.

        • scribe says:

          Yeah, but I really don’t make that much distinction between Obama, on the one hand, and Crazy Pete, on the other, when it comes to the whole issue of torture. Logically, one can’t because the distinctions between them are a matter of degree and not principle.

          Obama talks the game of “we don’t torture”, but Bush said the same thing and did torture. Obama still has not and will not prosecute the torturers, which both makes him complicit in the torture and ratifies everything Bush did.

          So, there’s no daylight between Crazy Pete and Obama, other than, perhaps, Crazy Pete is actually being more honest (imagine that in a pol!) in that he is willing not only to allow and encourage torture, but also to not pussyfoot theough euphemism around admitting it. He’s kinda proud of it, I think.

          As to the video, I’m seeing some reports that it was street theater, and others that it was cops in fatigues. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the military until proven otherwise and they’re guilty until proven innocent.

          • Larue says:

            I’ve been reviewing that video a lot today.

            There are two kevlar jacketed dudes, with helmets, one with a rifle at ready, who were watching over it all as it came down.

            The Two Fatigues Guys were on scene, and HAD the guy in hand, as the car rolls up, so they didn’t jump OUT of the car. They were already there.

            The guy they took, it appears he was targeted somehow. Why? Did he say the wrong thing? Threaten the two dudes with kevlar and helmets?

            Where DID the two fatigues guys COME from, if not from the car that rolled up?

            It will be interesting to see how this all comes down.

            Anyone who thinks it was staged street theatre (well, maybe by the cops/authorities) ain’t paying attention.

            And frankly, after using teargas, smoke and flash grenades, and the Sonic Cannon on the crowd (many Pitt U Students who LIVE in the area) I just see no reason for the authorities to STAGE such an act. They get NOTHING from it.

            And if you watch the vid, as the car rolls off, there’s a guy with a red bandana over his face, who holds his hands up, because them two kevlared fella’s, are LOOKING HARD at him.

            This was real shit. Why, I don’t know. As was said elsewhere, I sure hope the blonde dude the fatigues grabbed had friends there and will report him missing.

            Cuz otherwise, that dude is gone. Disappeared, right off our streets, with video going viral to prove it.

    • Leen says:

      Now they are focused on Acorn Rep King was on the floor raging about the need for an investigation.

      Just too damn bad the same Republican Reps who are more than ready to rip into Acorn do not apply those same need for investigations and accountability when it comes to torture, false pre war intelligence, outing Plame, as they do towards lies about blowjobs and Acorn

      The hypocrisy is suffocating

  2. Becca says:

    He also clearly has no imagination or empathy whatsoever (as well as a total lack of a moral compass).

    Let’s see… A foreign country has invaded my lands. At first, I’m kind of happy because they overthrew an oppressive regime. But then they installed another oppressive leader and for the next eight years proceeded to bomb the s**t out of my country. On the one side, we have a military dictatorship and on the other, the fanatics who were oppressing us before the occupiers showed up. And the foreigners not only aren’t helping rebuild what they’ve been blowing up, they give every indication they plan to stay indefinitely.

    Now the occupying forces are snatching up my countrymen and -women (and sometimes kids) and inflicting on them the most horrific of torture, regardless of guilt or innocence.

    Idiots like Crazy Pete apparently cannot imagine how such a thing would enrage an entire nation, and encourage them to throw in with the ‘terrorist insurgents’ (who, of course and in keeping with history would term themselves freedom fighters…).

    And in the end, one more Empire meets its demise in the mountains of Afghanistan…

  3. bmaz says:

    This one particularly is galling:

    Moreover, in the last 60 days, we have heard about U.S. personnel in Afghanistan reading “Miranda rights” to enemy fighters, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, a practice that will make questioning of these suspects to obtain intelligence on terrorist planning difficult if not impossible.

    Where is there any factual support for this conservative codeword meme crap?? This is like a broken record of neocon greatest hits. What a load of bunk.

  4. JasonLeopold says:

    Ok. I failed to see that you cited Spencer’s report. Disregard my comment which was identical. I’m sorry. I pulled it.

  5. emptywheel says:

    Btw, I called Hoekstra’s office to find out where those “make shit up” quotes came from.

    I didn’t get an answer, because the people who should have answered were all gone for the weekend. But I’m trying…

    • BoxTurtle says:

      They got caller id. I bet anybody with the name of “Wheeler” gets voice mail.

      Boxturtle (Does Crazy Pete support torture in support of the SSCI investigation?)

      • emptywheel says:

        Well, yeah. They did answer the phone, at least (they gotta, my phone is a MI number and Crazy Pete wants to be governor). But I guess all the Comm guys went away for the weekend together when they heard I was on the line.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Call back with a Mich number and see if there’s anyone there who can comment on acorn.

          Boxturtle (Get the impression I don’t really believe that everyone is gone?)

      • freepatriot says:

        if anybody was on a “do not answer” list, it’s gotta be me

        but my congresscritter’s staffers always answer the phone

        calling either of my senators is an even money bet, but they each got like 30 million constituents, so I figure they might really be busy

        take my word for it, talking to Marcy has to be a lot more pleasant than talking to me

        and I don’t plan on “reforming my ways” anytime soon, in case you’re wondering …

    • bmaz says:

      If they can produce credible support for the Miranda warnings crap, on detained persons other than US subjects where it might be required, I will donate to his campaign. My money is quite safe I think.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I assume Mr. Hoekstra confines his words to the halls of Congress. Because he’s not just expressing an opinion about committing US and international crimes. He may be aiding and abetting crimes that threaten imminent bodily harm or death to hundreds. That ought to bring into question his right to hold a professional license and his ability to hold federal or state office. Odds are, though, he’d have to travel to Spain or the UK to test that analysis. The rule of law doesn’t seem to apply in Amerika.

  7. freepatriot says:

    maybe we should start a collection to buy crazy pete a copy of “The Battle Of Algiers”, and a fucking tutor to explain the fucking film to crazy pete

    if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you

    • BoxTurtle says:

      You can pay a lot for Rum. Or you can try any of the Appleton Estate brands. Best rum I’ve ever had and not at all pricy.

      Boxturtle (Disclaimer: My true love is single malt scotch)

      • Petrocelli says:

        You can drink Appleton, or you can enjoy real Rum … *g*

        I’m a fan of Single Malts too, but Aged Rum from the Bahamas, Bermuda, etc. is always great.

        BTW, Freep … Hat Pin is under the left Sofa cushion but a “Fonzie” bump opens the cabinet too …

        • scribe says:

          Well, I’m liking the Appleton I picked up in duty-free a while back. The price was seriously right. It drinks OK straight and works really well in those places in cookery (baking, usually) where one needs a splash of rum.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          The Appleton in my cabinet is VX, aged in Oak. Seriously dark, very flavorful and complex enough to drink straight. I like the aged rums, too.

          What brand would you recommend?

          Boxturtle (Will laugh at you if you recommend Ron Rico or Bacardi)

              • Petrocelli says:

                If you find anyone who sells Bahamian Pineapple Rum, be sure and let me know.

                BTW, since you love Single Malt, I’ll try VX next chance I get …

          • freepatriot says:

            like I could afford Ron Rico or Bacardi ???

            I recommend Storrmann’s Fin Rhum

            or we could just drink that crap we made in the bathtub last week …


          • NorskeFlamethrower says:

            Citizen BoxTurtle:

            My wife and I take our two daughters to Negril over the holidays (this year the boyfriends are comin’ too) and the first thing we do is run down the beach to our favorite little shop and get a bottle of Appleton’s 12 year old…I’ll think aboutcha as the kids swill that shit down watchin the sunset over the ocean. Since I don’t drink anymore, I am in charge of draggin ‘em back when the tide comes in.

    • NorskeFlamethrower says:

      Citizen freepatriot:

      No more rum for you, you’re confused enough…but I’m glad you’re makin’ the distinction between the “free patriots” and those who aren’t free…tell me who those are again?

      Awe really, go back under the bridge before you suffer free sunstroke.

  8. Leen says:

    “is causing CIA officers to flee from such jobs or leave the CIA entirely.”

    how can you confirm or dismiss this?

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    I was reading Balloon Juice’s Lexicon at the same time as this post and I think that Hoekstra is vying with Steve King to see who can reach the Wingularity first:

    Wingularity, the- the point at which the insanity from the far right and those controlling the Republican Party [continues] to grow exponentially until it reaches an unsustainable weight and collapses upon itself. This is also known as the Purity Spiral, wherein the density of wingnut increases compared to mainstream conservatives to the point of pure wingnut. As the ratio rises, this creates a phenomenon wherein no logic or sanity can penetrate or escape. When rightwing argument has become completely inaccessible to the uninitiated, it has reached the Wingularity.

    Does anybody have an idea as to whether Hoekstra believes this crap (and is therefore a most loathsome person) or if he’s cynical enough to exploit this crap (making him loathsome in an entirely different way)?

  10. Leen says:

    EW “That, Congressman Hoekstra, is called “making shit up.” You can quote me on it.

    And speaking of “making shit up,” Hoekstra claims that Nancy Pelosi, “has accused CIA officers of being pathological liars.”

    Would make a great clip of Hoekstra lying with a split screen with Pelosi saying exactly what she said about the CIA (She said they did not tell her that they were in the business of waterboarding)

    • Petrocelli says:

      Damn straight, Mike … this site has enough material to toss all these criminals in Jail but Congress is avoiding what it so obvious to us.

    • Teddy Partridge says:

      Debbie to Jon: “Yo mama!”

      Was she simply commenting that everyone has a mother, and therefore everyone benefits from maternity care at some point?

      Or do you think this was a pointed comment about Mama Kyl’s lack of prenatal care for little Jonny, as evidenced by his 60+ years of stupidity?

  11. Bluetoe2 says:

    And Hoekstra wants to be the next Governor of Michigan. If elected maybe he can implement torture on a state wide level and of course bring back the death penalty.

  12. Badwater says:

    If the Republics have withdrawn from the SSCI investigation, the investigation might actually be successful. Thanks, Republics!

  13. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    President Obama has inherited Bush’s imperial occupation of the Republic of Afghanistan and he is escalating our war of genocide against the Afghan people. Genocide you can believe in…

  14. 1boringoldman says:

    “… the Republican side of the Intelligence Committee has chosen not to continue to participate in the Committee’s study and investigation into the detention and interrogation of high-value detainees”

    I guess we’ve become so accustomed to this kind of thing that outrage fatigue has set in, but this is a truly amazing development – legislators on strike. Let their names be recorded for future reference:

    Christopher S. Bond, Missouri
    Orrin Hatch, Utah
    Olympia J. Snowe, Maine
    Saxby Chambliss, Georgia
    Richard Burr, North Carolina
    Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
    James Risch, Idaho

  15. Phoenix Woman says:

    Hey, Pete! Is this why you don’t want to allow Gitmo inmates to be housed in your state, even though it would bring in much-needed revenue? Are you afraid these people, most of whom should never have been arrested much less tortured, are going to want revenge on your lily-white ass?

  16. solerso says:

    What a couple of losers. Increased casualties in Afghanistan are due to actually engaging the enemy, which wasnt done much in AG, during the bush regime. They allowed the tallies to re-take 2/3 of the country

  17. Gasman says:

    Hoekstra is a lying sack of shit. He is an imbecile and he should not be trusted with sharp objects. Clearly his wit is not sharp enough to be of much concern.

    Hoekstra reminds me of Mark Twains quote:

    “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

  18. MadDog says:

    OT – WaPo on White House Counsel Greg Craig’s fare-thee-well and the “not-closed” Guantanamo:

    White House Regroups on Guantanamo
    Counsel Craig Replaced as Point Man on Issue as Deadline for Closing Looms

    …White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig, who initially guided the effort to close the prison and who was an advocate of setting the deadline, is no longer in charge of the project, two senior administration officials said this week.

    Craig said Thursday that some of his early assumptions were based on miscalculations, in part because Bush administration officials and senior Republicans in Congress had spoken publicly about closing the facility. “I thought there was, in fact, and I may have been wrong, a broad consensus about the importance to our national security objectives to close Guantanamo and how keeping Guantanamo open actually did damage to our national security objectives,” he said…

    …Three administration officials said they expect Craig to leave his current post in the near future, and one said he is on the short list for a seat on the bench or a diplomatic position. Craig has long made clear his desire to be involved in foreign policy, but he declined to comment on his plans…

    Buh bye!

  19. TheLeftNut says:

    Sounds like they want Obama to make the mistake of torture just so they could catch him at it.

    Has politics always been this sordid, or am I just naive?

  20. Fenestrate says:

    Any one watching Law & Order right now? Story is about torture. They are inditing a lawyer who wrote one of the CYA memos.

    Curious if this is someone’s way of bringing the issue up to the public. Show’s not over yet. Can’t wait to see how the debate goes.

  21. timbo says:

    Gee, I guess the Republicans just figured out that DiFi’s investigation is some sort of cynical political ploy to waterboard the GOP in the next election.

  22. radiofreewill says:

    Yeah, baby! The wheels have left terra firma on the proverbial Bus, and Petey is fully on-board!

    That Op-Ed is delusional! It’s an emotional plea, boot-strapped on talking points, long discredited!

    I’d say Crazy Pete is having Reality Adjustment issues – and he just hasn’t quite yet pulled his head out of…the sand! the sand! to see that his own Blind Loyalty was the very capital used by BushCo to underwrite and rationalize many, many twistings of the Criminal Facts – twistings like the blather in that Op-Ed!

  23. johnhkennedy says:

    Every time I’m just about to give up one of the right wingers does something so disgusting, so absurd, so dangerous that one just has to hang in there for a little longer.

    Lets all work together to see some of the Bush-Cheney scum jailed for their lawbreaking.

    Get out in the streets in front of your Congressional Representative’s office and raise hell. Start your own “prosecution” protest group.


    If they aren’t actively calling for enforcement of our Federal Torture Laws, They DO Support Torture and a dual standard of Justice.

    prosecution for all those leaders
    in Bush’s Administration that
    Conspired to Torture at ANGRYVOTERS.ORG


    Only Prosecution Stops Torture, Abuse of Power, our Constitution & Rule Of Law

    • timbo says:

      jkh, you might have something there. Perhaps it is time for public “trials” where there are Prosecutors For The People instead of the bums we’ve got gladhanding each other at the moment. Seriously, the torture issue was pushed forward significantly, as were civil liberties issues, by marginalized citizens and politicians in the past. We need mock trials for the various political figures so that we can actually get some action out of our “representatives in Washington” who presumably have taken oaths to uphold the Constitution…which those self-same glad handing so-called “representatives” seem to have neglected willfully at their convenience…and at our, the peoples, expense.

  24. lllphd says:

    what an absolutely kinky strategy for the repugs to withdraw from the SSCI investigation, so they can call partisan witchhunt when it’s all over.

    my god, these creeps are beyond depraved.

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