Happy “Dirty Your Hands” by Partnering with Bashar al-Assad Day

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

 

As I noted last week, 12 years ago today, President Bush signed the Memorandum of Notification that governed — and as of last year, at least, still governs — our war on terror.

Part of that MON, according to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, includes partnering with “rogue regimes” like Syria on intelligence collection.

[Tenet] called for initiating intelligence contact with some rogue states such as Libya and Syria that he said might be helpful in trying to destroy al Qaeda. For the CIA to obtain helpful information against the terrorists, they might have to get their hands dirty.

After signing that MON, Bush’s own regime sent people like Maher Arar off to be tortured by Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The same guy we almost went to war against last week because he’s so barbaric, we partnered with, in a policy set by the President, outsourcing our torture.

As of May 25, 2012, the government was still relying on this MON (probably, at a minimum, to cover the drone and other method assassinations that aren’t covered by any AUMF).

I already noted all this; I wasn’t going to otherwise call out the anniversary of the day the “Gloves Came Off.”

But then I saw this clip of Philip Mudd on Colbert. About halfway through, Mudd says we have to fight Syria because Assad is,

a tyrant who has a reckless abandon when he murders innocents. At what point do you draw a line and say we are not just US citizens, we’re global citizens?

Mudd then goes on to answer a question about whether he tortured prisoners by saying he was Deputy Director of the Counterterrorism Center, which held and tortured prisoners.

He doesn’t regret that, he says.

He then goes on to admit he signed papers to render prisoners.

Mudd: If you’re asking if I’m responsible for some of that, the answer’s yes.

Colbert: Alright, you think that was the right thing to do.

Mudd: Yes.

Colbert: And we renditioned some of those people to Syria.

Mudd: Uh, I think the answer’s yes, I don’t [shakes head]

Colbert: OK

Mudd: We rendered a lot of people.

At what point do you draw a line, says this man, who can’t even remember that Syria was indeed one of the countries we outsourced our torture to, even the torture of an innocent man. We must be global citizens, not just American citizens, he says, and doing anything else is a sign of cowardice.

And yet, this intelligence expert can’t even figure out why Assad thinks he can get away with murdering his own people.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

8 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    This sounds kind of like Clapper.

    “The program was too big to remember it all . . .”

    “The program was too complicated for any one person to understand it all . . .”

    “The lawyers inadvertently made misrepresentations . . .”

    “Mistakes were made . . .”

    OK, maybe not that last part. Mudd doesn’t see any mistakes.

  2. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr: Right. He’s not pretending this was an accident. Clapper (and Alexander, who is ultimately responsible for the “program too big to understand” comment are.

  3. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Now all these neocons want to make us ‘global citizens’ so we can fight their wars? I think I’d like to pass if given a choice.

  4. peasantparty says:

    Global Citizen?

    In the Homeland?

    Of the New World Order?

    If he is an example of the Global Citizen I want no part of it. As a matter of fact, I don’t want any part of being his type of citizen anywhere! This is not an honorable citizenry being pointed out, but a sick, demented view of the world.

  5. par4 says:

    “Honest Abe” Lincoln “murdered” a Hell of a lot more of his citizens than Assad has and He has been damn near deified. It’s a civil war, people die unfortunately.

  6. Frank33 says:

    So Spymaster, Philip Mudd must be a high ranking official in the Secret Government. He is allowed to publicly spin spy stories. Another Spy Story is that NSA “thwarted” double agent David Headley. As recently as January, Mudd had been spinning the opposite narrative that Headley slipped through the cracks, because he was a needle, or a grain of sand, in a haystack. And Headley represented the new, more dangerous blue eyed westernized Al Qaeda.

    Headley had been reported as a terrorists by so many people and ex-wives, it might be suggested he had NSA and CIA protection. The NSA claims to have stopped Headley’s plots. They, the Intelligence Community, aided and abbetted and provided material support to Headley.

    During an interview in Delhi, former Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai asserted that U.S. authorities know more about Headley than they have publicly stated. Several senior Indian security officials said they believe that U.S. warnings provided to India before the Mumbai attacks came partly from knowledge of Headley’s activities. They believe he remained a U.S. operative.

    “David Coleman Headley, in my opinion, was a double agent,” said Pillai, who served in the top security post until this past summer. “He was working for both the U.S. and for Lashkar and the ISI.”

Comments are closed.