CIA Lied about Leaking to Screw David Passaro and Protect Bush and Tenet

In the SSCI Torture Report, it has two references to how press people were leaking details of the the torture program to the press even while lawyers were claiming that the program was top secret. In this document, someone notes “our Glomar fig leaf is getting pretty thin.” In this one, a lawyer admits the declaration he had just written “about the secrecy of the interrogation program” was “a work of fiction.”

This document explains why the CIA was playing such games: to screw over David Passaro, a CIA contractor who was being tried for assaulting a detainee.

I know there is an urgency about the 7th Floor to attempt to defend the CIA program in the public domain. However, we need to have the 7th Floor confront the inconsistency in filing a CIPA declaration in Passaro about how critical it is to keep this information secret and at the same time planning to reveal the darn near the [sic] entire program. These goals are not obviously compatible.

I’ve written about Passaro at length before. Here’s a summary of what happened, which is basically that an insurgent suspect was brought into a remote base and — after being interrogated by 4 different people — died. Passaro was indicted just as the (and probably because) the Abu Ghraib scandal was breaking. Before he was indicted, he had a period working at Fort Bragg, during which he put together a bunch of documents to defend himself, which was then confiscated. But he clearly intended to expose details about the torture program and the Gloves Come Off Memorandum of Notification (Passaro was working under a separate program authorized by the MON, the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams). Of particular note, he asked for documents pertaining to CIA torture that would have clearly implicated George Tenet and George Bush (because, effectively, Passaro’s activities were directly authorized by that same MON).

In response, Passaro got bullshit discovery, some document that had been superseded by the ones that would have implicated the two Georges, rather than the one that would have made it clear techniques he was accused of using against the detainee had been approved, indirectly in that MON, by the President.

There are, in my opinion, several other reasons (witnesses and other information withheld) why Passaro did not get a fair trial. So I don’t actually know whether we know what happened and who should have been found guilty for it.

But one thing is now clear.

Even while CIA was leaking information to the press in an effort to spin their torture program, they were at the same time submitting sworn declarations in Passaro’s case designed to ensure he wouldn’t get the documents proving that George Tenet and George Bush had ordered precisely the kinds of things he was being tried for doing. The CIA was lying to protect the muckety-mucks, to include the President, while fucking the scapegoat, the one guy the government still points to to pretend they can prosecute torture.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

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 the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, 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 and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

1 reply
  1. martin says:

    “Even while CIA was leaking information to the press in an effort to spin their torture program, they were at the same time submitting sworn declarations in Passaro’s case designed to ensure he wouldn’t get the documents proving that George Tenet and George Bush had ordered precisely the kinds of things he was being tried for doing.”unquote

    Murder has no statute of limitations. Ordering and committing torture which led to murder is complicity. Now that the doc’s are public.. COMEY, do your fucking job!!

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