Tag: Enhanced interrogation techniques

The Surveillance State Advances

We continue to find out more and more about the encroaching surveillance state. In the UK, the GCHQ surveillance agency is collecting images from people’s webcams. In this country, they’ve talked about ways to disinform the public through comment boards and bogus conspiracy theories. The latter seems a bit much. Why would they need to go online to defend the surveillance state when there are plenty of genuine boot-licking government worshippers who will do it for them?

But now, the surveillance state may finally have gone too far:

The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.

The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.

The development marks an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the CIA and its congressional overseers amid an extraordinary closed-door battle over the 6,300-page report on the agency’s use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists held in secret overseas prisons. The report is said to be a searing indictment of the program. The CIA has disputed some of the reports findings.

The Senate was preparing a report on the CIA’s torture program that is expected to be devastating. Not only was the torture program worse than we were lead to believe, but the CIA misled Congress and President Bush about the extent and severity of it. In compiling this report, Congressional staffers went to the CIA to review documents. During that time, their computers were monitored.

Actually, it gets worse:

Several months after the CIA submitted its official response to the committee report, aides discovered in the database of top-secret documents at CIA headquarters a draft of an internal review ordered by former CIA Director Leon Panetta of the materials released to the panel, said the knowledgeable person.

They determined that it showed that the CIA leadership disputed report findings that they knew were corroborated by the so-called Panetta review, said the knowledgeable person.

The aides printed the material, walked out of CIA headquarters with it and took it to Capitol Hill, said the knowledgeable person.

You see that? The CIA is mad because Congressional staffers took documents showing that the CIA was lying its ass off to the committee, disputing things that it damn well knew were true.

I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg and the the CIA’s surveillance of Congress goes beyond just a few computers. They have every reason to try to downplay their complicity in the torture program and the President — you remember him? — seems more than happy to let them do so.

The Disgrace Ends

In prior threads I have praised Obama for putting on his big boy pants, trashing all those silly promises he made on the campaign trail, and growing a pair wrt protecting the nation. Say what you will about his lack of economic chops (we certainly have on this blog) but turning into a true blue John Wayne terror warrior, who saw that coming?

We have already chronicled most of his about faces:

1) increased funding for Special Forces
2) Re instituting military tribunals
3) Not abandoning Iraq
4) Gitmo still open for business
5) Continuing with the policies of rendition
6) Surging in Afghanistan
7) indefinite detention
8) Patriot Act and continued surveillance practices
9) the use of drones in killing terrorists

And now, finally, that shameful investigation to prosecute CIA operatives has been brought to an end:

The education of the Obama Administration on antiterror policy has been remarkable to behold, and the latest installment is Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to pull the plug on the investigation into most CIA interrogations. The disgrace is that this probe was ever undertaken.

In 2009, Mr. Holder appointed prosecutor John Durham to look into the possible mistreatment of some 100 detainees by the CIA, with an eye toward possible prosecution. On Thursday, Justice said it would proceed with investigations in two cases where prisoners died in CIA custody, but that any more investigation of the others “is not warranted.”

The Administration might have concluded that from the start if it had listened when seven former CIA directors urged President Obama to stop the probe. Reopening investigations into cases that had already been reviewed by career prosecutors at Justice “creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy” for agents who were operating under the legal guidance of the Bush Administration, the former directors wrote. Then-CIA director Leon Panetta objected on similar grounds.

Not doubt it was the advice of Panetta that finally killed this thing, and none to soon. This was a travesty from the get go, a blatant pandering to the anti war anti Bush crowd of his base. And even though they finally came to their senses, who knows what damage has occurred, operatives in the field saying ,”Screw this, you think I’m going to put my neck on the chopping block? I hear and see nothing”.

The last several CIA director’s have already made clear that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about AQ. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the directors, played a role in nearly every capture of AQ members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by AQ to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, were all ill conceived political moves that were not well thought out. These folks were acting within the law, they deserve better then what they got.

The probe has still done considerable harm by creating a culture of second-guessing and political retribution that CIA operatives must now consider as they try to protect against terror threats. We’ll never know what actions in the future won’t be taken, because of this culture, that might have saved lives.

You can bet that when Patreaus takes the helm, instilling some confidence and a blanket of security will be first on the agenda. We need these folks to stay vigilant and alert.