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CIA Confirms Torture, Destroys Evidence

I don't even know where to begin with this article so I guess I'll start from the top of the page and work my way down...to the bottom.

The CIA videotaped its interrogations of two top terror suspects in 2002 and destroyed the tapes three years later out of fear they would leak to the public and compromise the identities of U.S. questioners, the director of the agency told employees Thursday.

Knowing that these tactics are legally in question, the Director of the CIA has just admitted to destroying potential evidence. This is the director of one of the two leading intelligence agencies in the United States admitting to an act that would be considered obstruction of justice in a criminal probe. Astonishing, but it gets better.

CIA Director Michael Hayden said the CIA began taping the interrogations as an internal check on the program after President Bush authorized the use of harsh questioning methods. The methods included waterboarding, which simulates drowning, government officials said.

So, it appears as though we finally have official acknowledgement that the United States does indeed torture. John McCain publicly dressed down Mitt Romney in the last GOP debate for NOT understanding that such a tactic could be considered anything but torture. This is a guy who has personal knowledge of the subject and though I disagree with most political questions of the day, I'll take his word on this particular issue.

Video: McCain and Romney on Torture

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"The Agency was determined that it proceed in accord with established legal and policy guidelines. So, on its own, CIA began to videotape interrogations," Hayden said in a written message to CIA employees, obtained by The Associated Press.
In other words, even though the Boss said it was OK, we were worried enough about the practice to play some serious CYA by TAPING the questionable action.
The CIA decided to destroy the tapes in "the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them," Hayden wrote. He said the tapes were destroyed only after it was determined "they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative or judicial inquiries."

Ooops, what I meant to say was we taped these actions for intelligence gathering purposes. If we watched them enough the answers got better. Once we got the answers we wanted, we destroyed the tapes. This was definitely NOT a case of CYA.

Hayden said House and Senate intelligence committee leaders were informed of the existence of the tapes and the CIA's intention to destroy them.

WTF!?!?! If true, we may need to start this country all over again.

He also said the CIA's internal watchdog watched the tapes in 2003 and verified that the interrogation practices were legal.

There is no such thing as an "internal watchdog." That's an oxymoron. A watchdog, by definition, must be an outside, independent agent. Are we trapped in a real life Dr. Strangelove?

Rep. Jane Harman of California, then the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was one of only four members of Congress in 2003 informed of the tapes' existence and the CIA's intention to ultimately destroy them. "I told the CIA that destroying videotapes of interrogations was a bad idea and urged them in writing not to do it," Harman said. While key lawmakers were briefed on the CIA's intention to destroy the tapes, they were not notified two years later when the spy agency went through with the plan. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the committee only learned of the tapes' destruction in November 2006.
So a sitting Representative (senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, no less) and the CHAIRMAN of the Senate Intelligence Committee both knew this was going to happen and LET IT!?!?! Furthermore, they were told ahead of time!?!?! There is a severe misunderstanding of Congress' authority, mostly by its members.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from August 2004 until the end of 2006, said through a spokesman that he doesn't remember being informed of the videotaping program.
Pete Hoekstra might be a fucking liar.
The CIA only taped the interrogation of the first two terror suspects the agency held, one of whom was Abu Zubaydah. Zubaydah, under harsh questioning, told CIA interrogators about alleged 9/11 accomplice Ramzi Binalshibh, Bush said in 2006. Binalshibh was captured and interrogated and, with Zubaydah's information, led to the capture in 2003 of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the purported mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Here we have the right-wing escape clause. "Well, it worked, didn't it?" If it works, then why...
Hayden banned the use of the procedure in 2006, according to knowledgeable officials.
Maybe because it is against the Geneva Convention and all sense of decency...oh, and because torture is an unreliable interrogation tactic?
"What matters here is that it was done in line with the law," Hayden said. "Over the course of its life, the Agency's interrogation program has been of great value to our country. It has helped disrupt terrorist operations and save lives. It was built on a solid foundation of legal review. It has been conducted with careful supervision. If the story of these tapes is told fairly, it will underscore those facts."
And yet, the man who wrote these words banned the technique. Why would you ban a valuable technique, especially one that worked?
The CIA says the tapes were destroyed late in 2005...In May 2005, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered the government to disclose whether interrogations were recorded. The government objected to that order, and the judge modified it on Nov. 3, 2005, to ask for confirmation of whether the government "has video or audio tapes of these interrogations" and then named specific ones. Eleven days later, the government denied it had video or audio tapes of those specific interrogations.
What are the chances the destruction of those tapes happened right around the time of this order? How many times and in how many ways will the Bush Administration defy the checks and balances provided by the Constitution of the United States?
Last month, the CIA admitted to Brinkema and a circuit judge that it had failed to hand over tapes of enemy combatant witnesses. Those interrogations were not part of the CIA's detention program and were not conducted or recorded by the agency, the agency said. "The CIA did not say to the court in its original filing that it had no terrorist tapes at all. It would be wrong to assert that," CIA spokesman George Little said.
So much for following the spirit of the law and not just the letter. Criminals. Criminals.

Comments

This looks like an example of all the principled Republicans you respect so much putting their principles in action, Phil. We're in good hands with these guys...

Mike, don't even try to bait me on this. Put up all the straw men you like, I have bigger battles to fight.

OK, battle boy...

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