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Thread: CIA Admits It Destroyed Tapes Of Interrogations

  1. #131
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Crime boasting for profit
    Shielded from all forms of accountability, a CIA official is able to publish a book glorifying his illegal acts

    By Glenn Greenwald

    On December 7, 2007, The New York Times reported that the CIA “in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program.” Documents obtained when the ACLU asked a federal judge to hold the CIA in contempt of court — for destruction of evidence which that judge had ordered be produced — subsequently revealed that the agency had actually “destroyed 92 videotapes of terror-suspect interrogations.” The videotapes recorded interrogations of detainees who were waterboarded and otherwise tortured. The original NYT article, by Mark Mazzetti, reported that “the decision to destroy the tapes was made by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who was the head of the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s clandestine service” (the NYT later reported that some White House officials had participated in the deliberations and even advocated the tapes’ destruction).

    Destruction of these tapes was so controversial because it seemed so obviously illegal. At the time the destruction order was issued, numerous federal courts — as well as the 9/11 Commission — had ordered the U.S. Government to preserve and disclose all evidence relating to interrogations of Al Qaeda and 9/11 suspects. Purposely destroying evidence relevant to legal proceedings is called “obstruction of justice.” Destroying evidence which courts and binding tribunals (such as the 9/11 Commission) have ordered to be preserved is called “contempt of court.” There are many people who have been harshly punished, including some sitting right now in prison, for committing those crimes in far less flagrant ways than was done here. In fact, so glaring was the lawbreaking that the co-Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission — the mild-mannered, consummate establishmentarians Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean — wrote a New York Times Op-Ed pointedly accusing the CIA of “obstruction” (“Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation”).

    In 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a Special Prosecutor to determine if criminal charges should be filed. When I was writing my last book about the legal immunity bestowed on political elites even for egregious crimes, I actually expected that Rodriguez would be indicted and that his indictment would be an exception to the rule of elite immunity which I was documenting. As I wrote in my book, “even our political class, I thought, couldn’t allow lawbreaking this brazen to go entirely unpunished.” But I was quite wrong about that.

    In November, 2010, the Obama DOJ — consistent with its steadfast shielding of Bush-era criminals from all forms of accountability — announced that the investigation would be closed without any charges being filed. Needless to say — given how subservient federal judges are to the Executive Branch in the post-9/11 era — the federal judge who had ordered the CIA to preserve and produce any such videotapes, Alvin Hellerstein, refused even to hold the CIA in contempt for deliberately disregarding his own order. Instead, Hellerstein — who, like so many federal judges, spent his whole career before joining the bench as a partner for decades in a large corporate law firm serving institutional power — reasoned that punishment for the CIA was unnecessary because, as he put it, new rules issued by the CIA “should lead to greater accountability within the agency and prevent another episode like the videotapes’ destruction.”

    In other words, as I put it in a Guardian Op-Ed about Hellerstein’s CIA-protecting decision: the CIA has promised not to do this again, so they shouldn’t be punished for the crimes they committed. Aside from how difficult it is, given the agency’s history, to make that claim without triggering a global laughing fit, it is also grounded in a principle of leniency rarely applied to ordinary citizens. After all, most criminal defendants caught up in the life-destroying hell of a federal prosecution are quite unlikely to repeat their crimes in the future, yet that fact is no bar to punishing them for the illegal acts they already committed. But the CIA, of course, operates under a different justice system: one in which they are free to deliberately break laws and violate court orders with impunity.

    Protected by the DOJ and Judge Hellerstein from any and all accountability for what he did, the CIA official who ordered the videotapes’ destruction, Jose Rodriguez, is now enjoying the fruits of his crimes. He just published a new book in which he aggressively defends his decision to destroy those tapes (“The propaganda damage to the image of America would be immense. But the main concern then, and always, was for the safety of my officers . . .I was just getting rid of some ugly visuals that could put the lives of my people at risk”). He also categorically justifies the CIA’s use of torture (“I am certain, beyond any doubt, that these techniques … shielded the people of the United States from harm and led to the capture of killing of Usama bin Ladin”) as well as the agency’s network of black sites (“Why not bring the detainees to trial?,” asks The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest in a review today of the book; Rodriguez’ answer in the book: “because they would get lawyered up, and our job, first and foremost, is to obtain information”). The title of the book: “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.”

    Rodriguez thus joins a long line of Bush officials — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, et. al — who not only paid no price for the crimes they committed, but are free to run around boasting of those crimes for profit. That’s what happens when the most politically powerful officials are vested with immunity for their illegal acts. Both the criminals and their crimes become normalized. They feel free not only to admit their crimes openly but to justify and glorify them, because they know they will never be held accountable for them. Instead of having to explain himself as a criminal defendant, Rodriguez is instead permitted to wrap his conduct in the banner of heroism as a highly-paid Simon & Schuster author.

    This will be one of the most enduring and consequential aspects of the Obama legacy: by working so hard, in so many ways, to shield Bush-era crimes from all forms of accountability, the Democratic President has ensured that they are not viewed as crimes at all, but at worst, run-of-the-mill political controversies. Given all this, why would any government officials tempted to commit these same crimes in the future possibly decide that they should not?

    * * * * *

    As I wrote about earlier this week, the Obama DOJ is attempting to resist the ACLU’s lawsuit to obtain basic information about the CIA’s drone program by insisting that it cannot even confirm or deny the existence of the program without damaging national security. It makes this claim even though top-level Obama officials routinely boast in the media about this program. Incredibly, Rodriguez’s book — which was reviewed and cleared for publication by the CIA — explicitly discusses the CIA’s use of drones. So here we have, yet again, the U.S. Government permitting public discussions of what it does when it benefits top officials, while simultaneously shielding its conduct from the rule of law by telling courts that what it does is so secret that it cannot even confirm or deny its existence.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #132
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Ex-CIA chief defends waterboarding of al Qaeda leader

    Jose Rodriguez has no regrets about using the "enhanced interrogation techniques" - methods that some consider torture -- on al Qaeda detainees questioned after 9/11 and denies charges they didn't work. The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service talks to Lesley Stahl about those methods, including waterboarding, for the first time and defends their use - even comparing them to the current policy of killing al Qaeda leaders with drone strikes. The Rodriguez interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

    Rodriguez says everything his interrogators did to top-level terrorists like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah was legal and effective. "We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days," he tells Stahl. "I am very secure in what we did and am very confident that what we did saved American lives," says Rodriguez, who has written a book on the subject called "Hard Measures."

    Pressed by Stahl about charges that Zubaydah, who was waterboarded and sleep deprived, gave false information that wasted U.S. resources, Rodriguez replies, "Bull****!, He gave us a roadmap that allowed us to capture a bunch of al Qaeda senior leaders," says the ex-spy.

    Rodriguez says the interrogation program, which also included stress positions, nudity and "insult slaps," was "about instilling a sense of that he [the detainee] would conclude on his own that he was better off cooperating with us." He says that even Khalid Sheik Mohammed, whom he termed "the toughest detainee we had," eventually gave up information.

    KSM, as the mastermind of 9/11 was known, would not cooperate at first. "He eventually told us, 'I will talk once I get to New York and I get my lawyer,'" Rodriguez recalls. But KSM was subjected to the enhanced techniques, including waterboarding and sleep deprivation, and Rodriguez believes, "it was the cumulative effect of waterboarding and sleep deprivation and everything else that was done that eventually got to him."

    Rodriguez maintains he got information from the interrogations of KSM and others that enabled the CIA to disrupt at least 10 large-scale terrorist plots. But when Stahl reminds him the CIA's own inspector general said that his enhanced interrogation program did not stop any imminent attack, Rodriguez says, "We don't know. ...if, for example, al Qaeda would have been able to continue on with their anthrax program or nuclear program...or sleeper agents ...working with Khalid Sheik Mohammed to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, for example."

    Stahl then suggests that KSM was never really broken, because he never gave up Osama bin Laden. "There is a what they will tell us," replies Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez regrets the cancellation of his enhanced interrogation program by the current administration, accusing the White House of tying America's hands in the war on terror. "We don't capture anyone anymore Lesley...the default option of this administration has been to kill all prisoners. Take no prisoners," he tells Stahl. "The drones. How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them?"
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #133
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    US to show Guantanamo arraignment at 5 sites for families of 9/11 victims, 3 spots for public

    By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, April 26, 5:40 PM

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The arraignment for the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four other Guantanamo Bay prisoners will be broadcast by closed-circuit television to eight sites in the eastern United States, a military judge ruled Thursday.

    Army Col. James Pohl said in his ruling that remote viewing locations are necessary because of the significant public interest in the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants.

    Dozens of journalists as well as relatives of Sept. 11 victims are expected to attend the hearing at the U.S. base in Cuba on May 5 when Mohammed and the others are to be arraigned on charges that include murder and terrorism.

    The government began showing closed-circuit TV coverage of Guantanamo proceedings in Fort Meade, Maryland, last year but has never before broadcast tribunal proceedings so widely from the base.

    Pohl’s order sets aside five viewing sites for families of Sept. 11 victims, survivors and emergency personnel who responded to the attack. Those will be at Fort Meade; Fort Hamilton and another site to be announced in New York City; Joint Base McGuire Dix in Lakehurst, New Jersey; and Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

    There will be three other viewing sites for the public, journalists and government officials, two at Fort Meade and one in Washington.

    Lawyers for some defendants opposed the closed-circuit broadcast on the grounds that the proceedings should be open to anyone to see, not just broadcast by closed-circuit TV at certain locations.

    “We want it more transparent and more open,” said Cheryl Bormann, a lawyer for defendant Waleed bin Attash. “We believe that the world needs to see what’s happening.”

    This is the second time that the U.S. is attempting to prosecute the five prisoners at Guantanamo.

    President Barack Obama’s administration withdrew the charges and sought to move the case to a civilian court in the U.S. as part of an effort to close the prison on the base in Cuba. But the administration was forced to reverse course because of opposition in Congress and by New York City officials who said the case posed too great of a security threat.

    The five men could get the death penalty if convicted at the military trial.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #134
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    9/11 Suspects' Arraignment to Be Broadcast for Victims' Families
    The five plotters are set to be arraigned May 5 for the attacks more than 10 years ago

    Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 | Updated 3:56 PM EDT

    The upcoming Guantanamo Bay arraignment of five men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks will be broadcast to eight locations in the eastern United States so that families and others can view the proceedings.

    A military judge has authorized the May 5 broadcast by closed-circuit television so that surviving victims of the attacks, family members, first-responders and others can watch without have to travel to the U.S. base in Cuba.

    Army Col. James Pohl issued a ruling Thursday for what would be the most widespread broadcast of a Guantanamo military commission hearing.

    The arraignment of the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four other men will be shown in the Washington area as well as at military bases in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi are charged with planning and executing the disaster that killed nearly 3,000 people.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #135
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    'Vomiting and screaming' in destroyed waterboarding tapes

    By Peter Taylor BBC Newsnight

    Secret CIA video tapes of the waterboarding of Osama Bin Laden's suspected jihadist travel arranger Abu Zubaydah show him vomiting and screaming, the BBC has learned.

    The tapes were destroyed by the head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez.

    In an exclusive interview for Newsnight, Rodriguez has defended the destruction of the tapes and denied waterboarding and other interrogation techniques amount to torture.

    The CIA tapes are likely to become central to the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, at Guantanamo Bay.

    When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appeared before a special military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay last Saturday, he refused to put on the headphones that would enable him to hear the translator.

    His civilian attorney, David Nevin, said he could not wear them because of the torture he had suffered during his interrogation.
    Demonstration of waterboarding Waterboarding, which simulates drowning, was used in the interrogation of three al-Qaeda suspects

    His "torture" at the hands of his CIA interrogators at a secret "black site" to which he had been rendered, included being deprived of sleep for over a week, standing naked, wearing only a nappy, and being waterboarded 183 times.

    The CIA and the US Department of Justice that authorised the secret interrogation programme in the wake of 9/11, euphemistically referred to its content as "enhanced interrogation techniques".

    Most people would probably call them "torture", but Jose Rodriguez disputes this term.

    He has written a book, "Hard Measures" in which he defends the use of such techniques, and he told me there is no doubt they were effective.

    "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was probably the toughest detainee that we ever had and he was going to resist to the end of his strengths," he told me.

    Waterboarding is simulated drowning. The detainee is stripped naked and strapped onto a board in a horizontal position with feet higher than his head.

    Water is then dripped onto a cloth covering the nose and mouth which makes the detainee choke and temporarily stop breathing.

    "It's not a pretty sight when you are waterboarding anybody or using any of these techniques, let's be perfectly honest," Rodriguez admitted.

    Only three of the CIA's "high value targets" were waterboarded.
    Courtroom sketch of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is currently on trial at a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay

    Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged architect of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in which 17 sailors died, was waterboarded twice, and Abu Zubaydah, Osama Bin Laden's suspected travel agent for jihadis, 83 times.

    And it is the waterboarding of Zubaydah that has now become the centre of fresh controversy triggered by Newsnight's investigation.

    The CIA recorded Zubaydah's detention and interrogation - and that of other detainees - on 92 video tapes.

    Twelve of them covered the application of the "enhanced interrogation techniques", including waterboarding.

    On one or more of them, I understand Zubaydah is shown vomiting and screaming.

    John Rizzo, the CIA's top legal counsel who oversaw the legalisation of the techniques in an exchange of memoranda with the Department of Justice, wanted to be certain that what was happening at the black site was in accordance with what had been legally agreed.

    He had not anticipated that waterboarding would be used as often as it was. And he sent one of his most experienced colleagues to the black site, believed to be in Thailand, to find out.

    Rizzo's colleague viewed all the 92 hours of video and concluded that the techniques were being legally applied, but he was uncomfortable about what he saw.

    "He did say that portions of the tapes, particularly those of Zubaydah being waterboarded, were extraordinarily hard to watch," Rizzo told me.

    "He [Zubaydah] was reacting visibly in a very disturbing way."

    So was he being sick?

    "He was experiencing some physical difficulties, I'll just leave it at that... 'tough to watch in places' was his term."

    I asked Jose Rodriguez if he had seen the tapes. He said he had not. Was he aware that they showed Abu Zubaydah vomiting and screaming? He said he was not. He checked with his interrogators at the black site who said there was no vomiting or screaming.

    "I don't know where you got that from", he said. "I don't know about screaming and vomiting but it's not a pretty sight."

    Rodriguez knew the tapes were potentially a ticking time bomb and wanted to destroy them. He waited for three years with increasing exasperation at the apparent unwillingness of anybody on high to take responsibility for authorising their destruction.

    Then when news of the CIA's secret black sites leaked, Rodriguez's patience ran out.

    Believing he had the authority to do so, he ordered the 92 tapes to be minced in an industrial shredder.

    "Our lawyers said it was legal," he said.

    But Rizzo was not happy.

    "I was stunned and angry and honestly a bit hurt. I made it clear to him, as did two CIA directors, that he did not have the authority to make a decision to destroy those tapes."

    So I asked, "He disobeyed orders?"

    "He did."

    But Rodriguez is adamant that he acted legally and says his motive in ordering their destruction was to protect the identities of his CIA interrogators lest they suffer reprisals.

    But there was more to it than that. Three days after the tapes had been shredded, a CIA memorandum, since released under America's Freedom of Information Act, reported comments by Jose Rodriguez:

    "As Jose said, the heat from destroying [the tapes] is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes got into the public domain - he said that out of context they would make us look terrible - it would be devastating to us. All in the room agreed."

    I put this to Rodriguez and he was typically upfront about it.

    "I said that, yes. If you're waterboarding somebody and they're naked, of course that was a concern of mine."

    Despite all the controversies around the CIA's black sites and its interrogation programme, Jose Rodriguez stands by all that he did.

    "I was honoured to serve my country after the 9/11 attacks. I am proud of the decisions that I took including the destruction of the tapes to protect the people who worked for me. I have no regrets."

    No doubt defence lawyers at Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial will try and get access to the written records that exist of what was on the tapes and seek to question the CIA lawyer who viewed them.

    But under the rules of the military tribunal that restrict any discussion of torture, they are unlikely to succeed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #136
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Q. & A.: Ali Soufan

    Posted by Amy Davidson

    In the past couple of weeks, Ali Soufan, the former F.B.I. agent who led the investigation into the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and into events surrounding 9/11—and was the subject of a 2006 New Yorker piece by Lawrence Wright and is the author of “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al Qaeda”—has been drawn back into the debate about torture and the war on terror by the publication of “Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives,” by Jose Rodriguez, Jr. Rodriguez, in his book and in a “60 Minutes” interview, argued that techniques like waterboarding are necessary tools; Soufan has a different view. Below, he answers questions about post-9/11 interrogations, the roles of the C.I.A. and F.B.I., and whether torture works.

    Who is Jose Rodriguez? What does he know about the waterboarding of detainees after 9/11, and what we did or didn’t learn from it?

    Jose was a C.I.A. officer whose area of expertise was in Latin America, but after September 11, 2001, he was put in charge of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, and now he’s claiming responsibility for introducing the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (E.I.T.s). In 2005, he ordered the destruction of tapes that showed the harsh techniques being used, apparently contrary to orders. He was later reprimanded by the C.I.A.’s inspector general’s office.

    The claims he’s recently been making about the success of the harsh techniques are the same false claims that have appeared in now declassified C.I.A. memos, and which have been thoroughly discredited by the likes of the Department of Justice, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the C.I.A.’s Inspector General.

    The person making those claims isn’t the same Jose that I knew. I don’t know what he really knows, whether he was fed false information, or if he’s trying to defend his legacy, but what he says is at odds with the facts.

    You were involved in the same sequence of events—the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. How does your memory of them differ from the story Rodriguez is telling?

    In this area it’s not a question of memory but of factual record. There are now thousands of pages of declassified memos and reports that thoroughly rebut what Mr. Rodriguez and others are now claiming. For example, one of the successes of the E.I.T.s claimed in the now declassified memos is that after the program began in August, 2002, Abu Zubaydah provided intelligence that prevented José Padilla from detonating a dirty bomb on U.S. soil, and identified Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Mr. Rodriguez has been repeating this claims.

    The reality is that both of those pieces of intelligence were gained by my partner and me, with C.I.A. colleagues, in early April, 2002—months before the August, 2002, start of the E.I.T. program. But in the memos they were able to promote false facts, even altering dates, to make their claims work. In the so-called C.I.A. Effectiveness Memo, for example, it states that Mr. Padilla was arrested in May, 2003. In reality, he was arrested in May, 2002. But saying 2003 fits with the waterboarding narrative. When the Department of Justice asked Steven Bradbury, acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and the author of the 2005 O.L.C. memo to reinstate E.I.T.s, why he didn’t check the facts, he replied, “It’s not my role, really, to do a factual investigation of that.”

    What about the identification of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

    The claim about waterboarding leading to unmasking of K.S.M. as the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks is similarly false. We got that information in April, 2002, before the contractors hired by the C.I.A. Counterterrorism Center even arrived at the site. One by one, the successes claimed by E.I.T. proponents have been shown to be false.

    I went before the Senate Judiciary Committee and under oath recounted what happened. And, as I note in “The Black Banners,” I sent daily reports from the secret interrogation location, to Washington, recording what happened, which the U.S. Government has in its possession. After I left the location in 2002, I wondered if they got anything of value. Until 2005, I was still in the government, and I know that nothing of value from E.I.T.s reached us. I thought perhaps the information was only shared with others. But with the declassification of previously secret memos, it became clear that every example given of claimed successes was factually incorrect—and I know this from firsthand experience of how those pieces of intelligence were really gained. It’s because of all this that I spoke out in 2009 to correct the false claims the American people were being told.

    “60 Minutes,” in a Web piece that accompanied its interview with Rodriguez called “Interrogations: The FBI’s side of the Story,” presented this as a he-said, he-said, or Agency-said, Bureau-said: “What really happened in the interrogation of high-level detainees like Abu Zubaydah? Depends on who you ask: the FBI or the CIA.” Is that what it comes down to?

    It was a factual mistake for “60 Minutes” and others to present it as an F.B.I. versus C.I.A. issue. They had in their possession the C.I.A. Inspector General’s report, the Department of Justice report, and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s information, all of which make this clear.

    The more accurate way to portray it is that it’s the professionals from the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. versus bureaucrats in Washington. The C.I.A. professionals in the field weren’t happy that outside contractors with no Al Qaeda or terrorism experience were put in charge and they were pushed out. One C.I.A. colleague even left the secret location where we questioning Abu Zubaydah before I did—in protest of what was happening. Mr. Rodriguez, too, was not an Al Qaeda or terrorism expert, as he himself writes.

    Because these C.I.A. professionals were unhappy with what bureaucrats in Washington were doing, they complained to their inspector general, John Helgerson. He looked into the program and issued a damning report about its lack of verifiable successes, among other things. This is why, back in 2005, still under the Bush Administration, the program was shelved.

    Today, those responsible for the program, who made a decision that was terrible for our national security—both in the short term and the long term—are doing their best to try to salvage their reputation. And part of their tactic is to portray this as F.B.I. versus C.I.A., but that’s dishonest.

    You mentioned the videotapes Rodriguez says he destroyed—ninety-two of them. Why would he do that?

    On “60 Minutes,” Jose said he destroyed the evidence of the interrogations “to protect the people” who worked for him, from Al Qaeda going “after them and their families.” But that’s not the reason Mr. Rodriguez gave at the time, and it’s a shame he wasn’t challenged on it.

    One declassified C.I.A. e-mail, dated November 10, 2005, and written by the deputy to Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, then executive director of the C.I.A., notes that Rodriguez thought that “if the tapes ever got into [the] public domain… they would make us look terrible.” It was about their reputation, not safety.

    The tapes also contained our interrogations, done with traditional techniques. The tapes would have shown under which circumstances Abu Zubaydah coöperated and when he stopped coöperating. But while the tapes were destroyed, our daily reports from the location are luckily safe and still in the government’s possession.

    And while Rodriguez claims he had approval to destroy the tapes, a second declassified e-mail from Foggo’s deputy shows that someone either “lied” to Rodriguez about approval, or Rodriguez “misstated the facts.” The C.I.A.’s then general counsel, John Rizzo, is recorded in the same e-mail as being “clearly upset” about the destruction.

    Is there a cultural difference between the F.B.I. and C.I.A. that played into decisions about torture and civil liberties? As Lawrence Wright wrote in The New Yorker, you also learned, after 9/11, that failures in intelligence—particularly in the investigation of the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, which you led—may have cost us a chance to stop the attacks. Is the situation better?

    As we discussed, there’s no difference between the views of the C.I.A. and F.B.I. professionals in the field, who know what works and what doesn’t. My colleagues and I in the F.B.I., however, were fortunate to have leadership that shared our views, with the Assistant Director of the F.B.I., Pat D’Amuro, saying to Director Robert Mueller, “We don’t do that,” and Mueller agreeing. Many of my colleagues in the C.I.A. turned to their C.I.A. Inspector General to complain about what was happening—which led to the eventual shelving of the program, in 2005.

    Regarding 9/11, I outline that sequence of events in “The Black Banners,” and it’s tragic. The 9/11 Commission listed that investigation as one of the best chances to stop 9/11. I often wonder how different the last decade would have been if we had been given the information we requested.

    I’m out of the government now, but I sincerely hope the situation is better today.

    I have to ask you about a small revelation in the military-tribunal arraignment of K.S.M. and other 9/11 suspects last week: the judge said that he had recently read your book, “The Black Banners.” Were you surprised?

    I was honored that Judge Pohl singled out “The Black Banners.” The book, as you know, covers the history of Al Qaeda, from its roots in 1979 through to the death of Osama bin Laden. (Harsh interrogation issues only make up a few pages.) The book, based on my personal experiences and information given to me and colleagues by Al Qaeda operatives, outlines how many of the people—who became the group’s leaders, and today are facing trial for the attacks of 9/11—like Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Khallad bin Attash were recruited to the group, how they rose through the ranks, and how they planned and carried out their operations. My aim with the book was to create a manual for anyone really wishing to understand Al Qaeda and our efforts against the group.

    I only hope that Judge Pohl will soon have the opportunity to read it unredacted.

    Your book was heavily redacted; why? And did Rodriguez’s book get the same treatment?

    The F.B.I. sent my manuscript to various departments in the Bureau, and after a three-month review process there was not a single redaction. Of course I had been careful not to put in any information that compromised national security, or sources and methods, and the F.B.I. recognized this.

    Right before publication certain people in the C.I.A. claimed authority over the entire manuscript—putting the book through “double jeopardy” of an unheard-of second full review. They issued redactions clearly aimed at controlling the narrative over key moments, like the events leading to 9/11 and what happened with the harsh techniques.

    Their redactions are a violation of the classification guidelines, which are designed to protect the public from agencies illegally classifying information for non-national-security reasons, such as trying to censor embarrassment or cover up mistakes.

    Some of the redactions are blatantly ridiculous even without knowing what’s underneath, such as censoring a portion of a public exchange between myself and U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham that was broadcast live on national television and that is still available on a government Web site. The redactions also expose double standards: while I’m prevented from talking about certain things, they allow others to talk about the same things, even to talk about me, as long as it fits their narrative.

    I’m requesting that these abuses of authority be reviewed by the F.B.I. and the government, and that the redactions on my book be lifted.

    The one piece of good news, through this effort to restrict the public from knowing that they deserve to know, is that while those trying to hide the truth may think they scored a success by redacting “The Black Banners,” ironically, in the long run, they’ve done a great service to the truth: Because you only redact what is true, when people eventually get to read the book unredacted, they’ll know it contains the truth. Also, despite the redactions, it’s pretty obvious what happened and what people are trying to cover up—so the thinking public can work it out.

    Incidentally, books defending E.I.T.s, like Mr. Rodriguez’s, don’t appear to have such redactions. After all, you can only redact the truth, you cannot redact fiction.

    What is your take on the military tribunals? How has the judicial handling of the 9/11 suspects been shaped, or warped, by their interrogation?

    I’m a believer in both federal and military courts. I think the focus should be on which venue would be most effective in insuring that the terrorist is locked up for as long as possible. I’ve been a witness in terrorism trials in both venues, and I know that federal courts are more effective, but sometimes military commissions are better.

    The use of E.I.T.s have made prosecutions more difficult, that’s one of the reasons why it’s taken so long to begin the trials—those behind the techniques never thought about the end game. Information from E.I.T.s is considered unreliable, it’s inadmissible in court, and is considered “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and so naturally it makes the process more difficult. Thankfully, in regard to those suspects, we have a considerable amount of evidence from pre-E.I.T.s to convict them.

    What do you say to Jose Rodriguez’s basic message: that in order to protect our country, we have to be willing to use torture?

    That’s not true. On the contrary, using torture only makes us less safe. Not only does it generate false leads and unreliable information, passing up chances to get actionable intelligence, it also helps terrorists recruit—as we saw with Abu Ghraib in Iraq. Under torture, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi gave the information they wanted to hear, which turned out to be false, and that information was used to justify the Iraq War—it even made it to Colin Powell’s speech at the U.N. When Ibn Shaykh was asked why he lied, to paraphrase, he said because you were torturing me and I wanted it to stop. How did that make us safe?

    We’re at our best and most effective when our laws and strategies are in sync.

    Does torture—our willingness to use it, our opposition to it—have an effect on things like the recruitment of sources, or the willingness of people in other countries to coöperate with us?

    It makes it very difficult. The top intelligence and law-enforcement agencies around the world don’t use torture, because it’s unreliable and ineffective. Those who do use it are looked down upon, and the information they provide isn’t trusted and can’t be used in their courts. And allied countries won’t hand over suspects to a country that tortures people—and the U.S. won’t, either.

    Do you think that we have put the darkest moments of the global war on terror—the black sites, the torture—behind us?

    I hope so. Given the conclusive evidence that damns the use of E.I.T.s, one would think no leader in their right mind would ever authorize it again. However, many of those behind E.I.T.s are still in influential positions, or are given free passes to spout their falsehoods, so it does worry me.[/I]
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #137
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Court blocks release of CIA interrogation methods

    By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
    updated 4:50 PM EDT, Mon May 21, 2012

    (CNN) -- CIA secret interrogation methods -- including detention and harsh questioning of suspected terrorists -- remain off limits to public release, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

    The agency was sued eight years ago to provide details of certain communications describing the use of waterboarding and other direct intelligence-gathering methods of foreign terror suspects. A three-judge panel from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled "intelligence methods" are not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request from the lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    "We give substantial weight to the government's declarations, which establish that disclosing the redacted portions of the (secret memos) would reveal the existence and scope of a highly classified, active intelligence activity," said the judges.

    The CIA has admitted as part of the lawsuit it destroyed videotaped interrogations of "high-value" terror suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The alleged members of the al Qaeda terror network are being held overseas, including most recently at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.

    The ACLU wanted transcripts of those tapes and a Zubaydah photograph, written summaries, or other information relating to the so-called "waterboarding" of suspected terrorists in U.S. custody. Some civil liberties groups have equated the methods to torture, and have argued that government and military officials should be held publicly accountable.

    "Public disclosure of certain government records may not always be in the public interest," Judge Richard Wesley wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. He said it was both "logical and plausible" for the CIA to control how it conducts intelligence operations, and how it works with foreign intelligence liaison partners.

    The judges also dismissed a lower federal court order to release two classified memos from White House attorneys, which discuss the legality of "enhanced interrogation techniques." The issue was whether the material was classified since the memos reportedly dealt not with specific methods, only their legality. The court said it was not its job to conduct a "complex inquiry" into government discussions of its intelligence-gathering.

    President Barack Obama has since disavowed the future use of waterboarding, where simulated drowning of immobile prisoners was conducted.

    The ACLU, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights and Veterans for Peace -- among other groups suing -- now have the option of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. The justices earlier Monday agreed to hear a case from the ACLU over whether a coalition of Americans can go to court and challenge a federal law allowing broad electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists and spies.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #138
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    US Senate panel to vote on CIA interrogations report

    (AFP) – 12 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — A Senate intelligence panel votes this week on findings of a three-year review of CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on terror suspects and condemned by some US politicians as torture.

    Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Tuesday the 6,000-page report looking into Bush-era counter-terrorism practices will not be released to the public this week, saying such a decision would be made at a later date.

    "The committee is, however, scheduled to vote to approve the report," she said in a statement emailed to AFP before convening a closed-door hearing of the committee scheduled for later Tuesday.

    "It is comprehensive, it is strictly factual, and it is the most definitive review of this CIA program to be conducted," she added.

    "Any decision on declassification and release of any portion of the report will be decided by committee members at a later time."

    It remains unclear whether the sensitive report will ever be made public, as several Republicans on the committee boycotted the investigation from the start, leaving it unclear whether the findings will be approved.

    Investigators analyzed millions of pages of intelligence records detailing the treatment of detainees.

    Top lawmakers said in April that the report will show that enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency were not effective in helping find terror suspects.

    The senators also probed the effects of "waterboarding," the simulated drowning technique which President Barack Obama and other US politicians have deemed to be torture.

    Earlier this year, an in-depth account of CIA interrogation operations in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks was published by Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA deputy director for operations, who defended waterboarding.

    He argued that top terror suspect and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the CIA says was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003, spilled key information as a result of the methods.

    But Feinstein and Senator Carl Levin said in April that statements by Rodriguez and others about the CIA interrogation program's role in locating Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US military raid in Pakistan last year, were "inconsistent with CIA records."

    The CIA used coercive interrogation methods on dozens of detainees at so-called black sites around the world.

    Rodriguez and others have said that information obtained from those interrogations led to bin Laden's courier, which in turn led eventually to the Al-Qaeda leader himself.

    Feinstein and Levin said the original information had no connection to CIA detainees, data which they said would be detailed in the report.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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