CIA "Errors"

In these same CIA documents that are said to damn Nancy Pelosi, the CIA identifies Porter Goss as a Congress Member receiving a briefing at the time that he was the Director of the CIA.



Video of Graham CIA Beatdown

Senator Graham makes his case. There is little doubt left that the CIA's pronouncements of who was briefed on what when cannot be taken as gospel.

MSNBC not Liberal Like Fox is Conservative / Falsehoods about Torture

Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah "were not asked" by the CIA about a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. In fact, according to a Senate report, the CIA questioned both about an Iraq/Al Qaeda relationship.

Of course, multiple sources confirm that both KSM and Abu Zubaida were interrogated with the Al-Qaeda/Iraq Link being a key area of interest. Remind me, when you torture someone to give you information that doesn't actually exist, what are the odds that you'll get an answer that's useful in any way other than politically?

Good old Media Matters. So useful.

Bob Graham Proves CIA Misleads

I think there's enough evidence to call it proven. Graham has been taking crap for keeping that diary for decades. It's nice for it to finally come in handy:
Graham told Greg Sargent this afternoon: "I do not have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them."

Greg adds that Graham denied being told about EITs, and argued that the presence of two staff members at the meeting (as indicated in the records) would have made it "highly unusual" for the briefers to divulge such sensitive info. "I don't recall having had one of those kinds of briefings with staff present," he said. "That would defeat the purpose of keeping a tight hold" on the info.
The pattern is established, I think.

Rockefeller Finds Errors in CIA Info

Senator Rockefeller, referring to a document released by the CIA covering the briefings they provided to Congress on interrogation:
We are not in a position to vouch for the accuracy of the document. We can tell you that in the particular entry stating that Senator Rockefeller was briefed on February 4th of 2003 with an asterisk also noting him as later individually briefed -- that is not correct, or at least is not being reported correctly by people reading the document. The Democratic staff director attended a briefing on Feb. 4, but Senator Rockefeller was not present and was not later briefed individually by anyone in the intelligence community. He was first personally briefed by the intelligence community on Sept 4th, 2003.
Chalk up another for Pelosi.

Obey Finds Errors in CIA Info

From Congressman Obey:
Dear Director Panetta:
In light of current controversy about CIA briefing practices, I was surprised to learn that the agency erroneously listed an appropriations staffer as being in a key briefing on September 19, 2006, when in fact he was not. The list the agency released entitled "Member Briefings on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs)", shows that House Appropriations Committee defense appropriations staffer Paul Juola was in that briefing on that date. In fact, Mr. Juola recollects that he walked members to the briefing room, met General Hayden and Mr.Walker, who were the briefers, and was told that he could not attend the briefing. We request that you immediately correct this record.


David R. Obey
Chalk one up for Pelosi.

Critical Reading Exercise

So, there's a little brouhaha regarding Nancy Pelosi and the veracity of the CIA's claims about its briefings to Congress. Perhaps you've noticed.

Republicans seem to think Panetta slammed Pelosi today, but let's do a little critical reading exercise here, shall we?
Message from the Director: Turning Down the Volume
There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I'm gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.

Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing "the enhanced techniques that had been employed." Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.

My advice--indeed, my direction--to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country.

We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is--even if that's not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.
Did he actually deny that the CIA had mislead Pelosi? No.

How is this America's Problem?

The Uighurs at Gitmo are not terrorists. Even the Bush Administration found them not to be enemy combatants. And yet the consequences of their wrongful detention at Gitmo isn't America's problem, according to the beautiful mind of Newt Gingrich:
"WALLACE: Well, let me get -- let's take one example, the Chinese Uighurs, Chinese Muslims...


WALLACE: ... who were arrested in Afghanistan, brought to this country. The Pentagon says they're not enemy combatants. At least one federal judge has said they're not a threat. But if they go back to China, they're going to be prosecuted.

GINGRICH: Why is that our problem? I mean, why -- what -- if the -- if the -- what -- what is it -- why are we protecting these guys? Why does it become an American problem?

WALLACE: So what, send them to China and...

GINGRICH: Send them to China. If a third country wants to receive them, send them to a third country. But setting this precedent that if you get picked up by Americans -- I mean, the Somalian who was recently brought here who's a pirate -- I mean, if you get picked up by the Americans, you show up in the United States, a lawyer files an amicus brief on your behalf for free, a year later you have citizenship because, after all, how can we not give you citizenship since you're now here, and in between our taxpayers pay for you -- this is, I think -- verges on insanity."
This verges on insanity, just not the way Gingrich meant.

And we wonder why the rest of the world grew to hate America during the Bush years.


Cheney Used Torture to Justify Iraq War

From the best damned journalists around, McClatchy:
WASHINGTON — Then-Vice President Dick Cheney, defending the invasion of Iraq, asserted in 2004 that detainees interrogated at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp had revealed that Iraq had trained al Qaida operatives in chemical and biological warfare, an assertion that wasn't true.

Cheney's 2004 comments to the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News were largely overlooked at the time. However, they appear to substantiate recent reports that interrogators at Guantanamo and other prison camps were ordered to find evidence of alleged cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — despite CIA reports that there were only sporadic, insignificant contacts between the militant Islamic group and the secular Iraqi dictatorship.
They tortured people to obtain false confessions to justify the Iraq War after the fact. And apparently, the mainstream media is fine with that. Accountability would just be so divisive.

Beck and Violence

Glenn Beck, who absolutely does not advocate for violence:
Gun sales are going up through the roof.

And let me tell you something, I really truly believe the reason why -- a lot of Americans aren't paying attention to this -- is because they...does anybody remember the poem, you know, first they came for the Jews and I didn't stand up because I wasn't a Jew? Do you know that -- from Germany?

In the end, I think this is the problem. First, they came for the banks. I wasn't a banker. I didn't really care. I didn't stand up and say anything.

Then they came for the AIG executives. Then they came for the car companies -- and I didn't say anything.

Until it gets down to you -- most people don't see they are coming for you at some point. You're on the list. Everybody's on the list.
The Nazi Democrats are coming for you, so gun sales are going through the roof!


torture view

Kevin Drum's view of torture is also mine:

OK, here's my view on ticking time bombs. It's not original:

Torture should always be illegal. But if you're really, truly convinced that a nuke is about to go off in downtown Atlanta and the human filth in your possession can tell you where it is, then do your worst. I'll cheer you on, the president will pardon you, and the nation will be grateful. OK?

I wish everyone could just agree on this. It's not as if it's ever going to happen, after all, and if it does, well, the guy who saved Atlanta really would get a presidential pardon, wouldn't he?

I don't see how people can't see the danger in institutionalizing the practice. It leads, inevitably, to Abu Ghraib.

CIA DOES, in fact, Lie on Occassion

Pelosi says the CIA sometimes misleads Congress. Republicans freak out. Bob Graham asks the CIA to use the same documents that prove Pelosi is wrong to tell him how many times he was briefed on the subject. They respond with a number that is two too high, and he can prove it.

Fallows on the Graham:
Part of the payoff of reaching age 72 and having spent 38 years in public office, as Graham has, is that people have had a chance to judge your reputation. Graham has a general reputation for honesty....If he says he never got the briefing, he didn't. And if the CIA or anyone acting on its behalf challenges him, they are stupid and incompetent as well as being untrustworthy. This doesn't prove that the accounts of briefing Pelosi are also inaccurate. But it shifts the burden of proof.
Yeah, no kidding.

Add that to the fact that the Republicans Hoekstra says they lied to him about a separate issue, and this outrage starts to look pretty standard for the right, in that it is manufactured.


Greenwald on Photos

Greenwald examines one of the excuses for not releasing the reams of additional photos of detainee abuse:
We're currently occupying two Muslim countries. We're killing civilians regularly (as usual) -- with airplanes and unmanned sky robots. We're imprisoning tens of thousands of Muslims with no trial, for years. Our government continuesto insist that it has the power to abduct people -- virtually all Muslim -- ship them to Bagram, put them in cages, and keep them there indefinitely with no charges of any kind. We're denying our torture victims any ability to obtain justice for what was done to them by insisting that the way we tortured them is a "state secret" and that we need to "look to the future." We provide Israel with the arms and money used to do things like devastate Gaza. Independent of whether any or all of these policies are justifiable, the extent to which those actions "inflame anti-American sentiment" is impossible to overstate.

And now, the very same people who are doing all of that are claiming that they must suppress evidence of our government's abuse of detainees because to allow the evidence to be seen would "inflame anti-American sentiment."

The real reason for the delay is that they want to slow roll accountability until after they have their domestic agenda finished. Or so we hope.


Abiogenesis, Here We Come!

Things are looking better and better for abiogenesis in the lab.
Having assembled RNA in the lab from a mixture that resembles what was likely the primordial soup. 'Until now,' Science News reports, 'scientists couldn't figure out the chemical reactions that created the earliest RNA molecules.' The new work started the RNA assembly chemistry from a different angle than what earlier work had tried.
So there's the basic building block of life, RNA, demystified. God's hand was not required, I'm afraid.


DailyShow Nails Cheney/Bush - Was Bush President?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Excuse Me Your Dick Is Out
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The Cheney quote they provide at the end makes the case that Dick Cheney was the acting President when it came to matters of National Security. Let us never again elect such a lightweight.

KO Takes Down Bill-O on Torture

Once again, Keith-O catches Bill-O wrongfully turning our friends into War Criminals. If you recall, he did the same thing with our own soldiers in WWII, when it was in fact the Nazi's that perpetrated the crimes at Malmedy he accused our boys of committing.

Once again, Keith is indispensable.


White House to Declassify CIA Torture Report

The Holy Grail of Torture Reports is apparently about to be released:

There’s a big piece of news about Dick Cheney and torture buried toward the end of this bigWashington Post piece about the torture wars.

Specifically: The White House has decided to declassify and release a classified 2004 CIA report about the torture program that is reported to have found no proof that torture foiled any terror plots on American soil — directly contradicting Cheney’s claims. The paper cites “allies” of the White House as a source.

Dem Congressional staffers tell me this report is the “holy grail,” because it is expected to detail torture in unprecedented detail and to cast doubt on the claim that torture works — and its release will almost certainly trigger howls of protest from conservatives. Tellingly, neither the CIA nor the White House knocked down the story in response to my questions, with spokespeople for both declining comment. Here’s the key nugget from the Post piece:

Government officials familiar with the CIA’s early interrogations say the most powerful
evidence of apparent excesses is contained in the “top secret” May 7, 2004,
inspector general report
, based on more than 100 interviews, a review of the
videotapes and 38,000 pages of documents. The full report remains closely held,
although White House officials have told political allies that they intend to
declassify it for public release
when the debate quiets over last month’s
release of the Justice Department’s interrogation memos…

Although some useful information was produced, the report concluded that “it is
difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided
information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks,”
according to
the Justice Department’s declassified summary of it.

This news is particularly timely in light of Cheney’s continuing high-profile claims that torture may have saved “hundreds of thousands of lives.” The report is the one I wrote about recently that the ACLU obtained through litigation in highly redacted form. It has an entire redacted sectionthat discusses the “effectiveness” of torture — or lack thereof.

Well done, Plum Line.