Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Extraordinary Rendition In U.S. | Let’s Start Taking A Good Look At Who Knew What When In Part One: The Intelligence Committee…Integrity?

Extraordinary Rendition In U.S. | Let’s Start Taking A Good Look At Who Knew What When In Part One: The Intelligence Committee…Integrity?

 There will More In the days ahead on each member of The Senate Intelligence Committee; their views, pronouncements and prior involvements in things they may well never want to see the light of day.  We want the entire mushroom, not the cap, not the stem and we will not settle for the bullshit manure in the Greenhouse.




Joint Hearing Before The Subcommittee On International Organizations, Human Rights, And Oversight And The Subcommittee On Europe Of The Committee On Foreign Affairs House Of Representatives One Hundred Tenth Congress First Session

APRIL 17, 2007

Serial No. 110–28

Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs


"But we are not asked to judge the President's character flaws. We are asked to judge whether the President, who swore an oath to faithfully execute his office, deliberately subverted--for whatever purpose--the rule of law," - John McCain arguing for the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury in a civil suit, February 1999.

"Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot," - John McCain, October 2007.

"We've got to move on," - John McCain, April 26, 2009, reacting to incontrovertible proof that George W. Bush ordered the waterboarding of a prisoner 183 times, as well as broader treatment that the Red Cross has called "unequivocally torture."

Dianne Feinstein

Feinstein: Debate Could Derail Torture Investigation

Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling for calm so Congress can investigate Bush-era interrogation methods.

During an appearance on CNN, California's senior Senator said Congress has access to classified information and the responsibility to provide oversight over the nation's intelligence agencies. 

 KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports

"And we have set upon a course -- a bipartisan course -- with a program scope approved by the Committee to review the conditions of detention and the techniques of interrogation of each of the high-value detainees."

Feinstein estimated a review by the Senate Intelligence Committee of the interrogation methods would take six to eight months.

"My hope is that the public debate quells, that we have an opportunity to do our work," said Feinstein, "the Committee will consider it, and then we will release, most likely, findings and recommendations."

The Senator dodged a question on whether she plans to run for Governor in 2010. Instead she went on the offensive against President Obama's critics in Washington, urging the Republican Party to "stop being the party of no."

Top Democrats took to Sunday political talk shows to address the growing fracas over release of Bush administration "torture memos." 

The memos detailed simulated drowning tactic and other harsh techniques on a captured suspected al-Qaida leader, Abu Zubayda.

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee says she hopes the public outrage over Bush-era interrogation methods subsides so Congress can calmly investigate the issue.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she wants congressional hearings to move forward on the interrogation techniques. The California Democrat says her committee already was investigating and that the White House didn't contact her before releasing the memos.

Related Stories 

Feinstein appeared Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Earlier top presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett also appeared on "State of the Union". Jarett said there's nothing in those newly released interrogation memos that the American people didn't already know about. Obama says it's up to the attorney general to determine who — if anyone — would be prosecuted, Jarrett said.

Copyright Associated Press


John D. Rockefeller IV



Today Chairman Dianne Feinstein and I, with the agreement of Vice Chairman Kit Bond, have posted on the website of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a document newly declassified by the Obama Administration. 


In so doing we conclude an effort that I began as Chairman of the Committee in the last Congress to provide to the public an initial narrative of the history of the interrogation and detention opinions of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).


Senator Rockefeller Statement:


“We have at last begun the task of fully setting the record straight, holding our government accountable, and learning from past errors in order to protect our country into the future. Thanks to the President’s wise decision to release four of the opinions discussed in the narrative and to the ongoing work of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – change has come. 

“In the wake of 9/11 we all wanted to leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of terrorists to prevent future attacks.  At that time and since, the Senate Intelligence Committee sought to work in partnership with the Administration to keep America safe.  But we now know that essential information was withheld from the Congress on many matters and decisions were made in secret by senior Bush Administration officials to obscure the complete picture. 

“It is my hope and intention that the document we release today helps to fill in some of the facts, even as many other pieces of the puzzle are brought forth.”   


The genesis of the attached narrative is as follows:  

  • Last year, I sought declassification of the August 1, 2002 OLC opinion, along with a short contextual narrative to accompany it.  While declassification of that opinion was resisted, we engaged instead in a joint effort with Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to declassify a broader narrative surrounding all of the OLC’s opinions on these matters. 


The objective was to produce a text that describes the key elements of the opinions and sets forth facts that provide a context for those opinions, within the boundaries of what the DOJ and the Intelligence Community would recommend in 2008 for declassification.


  • By late 2008, the DOJ, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) all had approved the public release of this narrative, but the Bush Administration National Security Council (NSC) held it and would not agree to its declassification.


  • I renewed the declassification effort as soon as Attorney General Eric Holder took office in early February 2009, and I am pleased to have received the support again of the DOJ, DNI and CIA, and now also of the NSC, for its release as a contextual description of the OLC memos. 


*Readers of the narrative should bear in mind that its text is current through President Obama’s Executive Orders of January 22, 2009, but has not been revised following the release of the four OLC opinions on April 16, 2009. While there is now more public information available about those four opinions, the narrative adds important facts about the approval of the interrogation program beginning in 2002 and about opinions subsequent to the four that have been released.

According to our sources and media reports we've corroborated, the classified briefings began in the spring of 2002 and dealt with the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, a high-value al Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan. In succeeding months and years, more than 30 Congressional sessions were specifically devoted to the interrogation program and its methods, including waterboarding and other aggressive techniques designed to squeeze intelligence out of hardened detainees like Zubaydah.

The briefings were first available to the Chairmen and ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees. From 2003 through 2006, that gang of four included Democrats Bob Graham and John D. Rockefeller in the Senate and Jane Harman in the House, as well as Republicans Porter Goss, Peter Hoekstra, Richard Shelby and Pat Roberts. Senior staffers were sometimes present. After September 2006, when President Bush publicly acknowledged the program, the interrogation briefings were opened to the full committees.

If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding. And if Democrats thought it was illegal or really found the CIA's activities so heinous, one of them could have made a whistle-blowing floor statement under the protection of the Constitution's speech and debate clause. They'd have broken their secrecy oaths and jeopardized national security, sure. But if they believed that Bush policies were truly criminal, didn't they have a moral obligation to do so? In any case, the inevitable media rapture over their anti-Bush defiance would have more than compensated.

Ms. Harman did send a one-page classified letter in February 2003 listing her equivocal objections to the interrogation program. She made her letter public in January 2008 after the CIA revealed that it had destroyed some interrogation videotapes. After lauding the CIA's efforts "in the current threat environment," she noted that "what was described raises profound policy questions and I am concerned about whether these have been as rigorously examined as the legal questions." Ms. Harman also vaguely wondered whether "these practices are consistent with the principles and policies of the United States," but she did not condemn them as either torture or illegal.

This wasn't the only time a politician filed an inconsequential expression of anti-antiterror protest. Mr. Rockefeller famously wrote a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney objecting to warrantless wiretapping, but then stuck it (literally) in a drawer. Like Ms. Harman, only after the program was exposed did he reveal his missive to show he'd been opposed all along, though he'd done nothing about it…..

Ron Wyden

Senator Ron Wyden doesn't often publicly discuss his work on the Intelligence Committee, but last night, he appeared on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow to discuss the torture controversy.

In his comments, Senator Wyden commented on Vice President Dick Cheney's recent request to release the "proof" that torture saved American lives:

First of all, it is very clear that waterboarding is torture. ...

I'm also very struck by the former vice president's comments. He said that we oughta make these documents public. Well, the fact is that there are thousands and thousands of documents involved here. I'm sure there are one or two pieces of paper out there that may support the vice president's position. But I do believe, consistent with national security, this oughta get out to the public.

As for investigations into the torture policy and possible prosecutions:

First, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - that I serve on - we are out of the gates now. We've got people in place. We're doing the inquiry. Given the fact that many of us protested these interrogation techniques as soon as we found out, we are very motivated to get to the truth.

When we get that information, certainly if there are matters that need to be followed up on, such as matters before the Justice Department, we'll get to 'em.

MADDOW: ...Does that mean that if the inquiry warrants, you would support potentially referring things for prosecution?

Absolutely. The Justice Department is an independent agency. It's our job to find the facts. At this point right now, what's needed is an infusion of good information. The American people want to know who ordered this, what exactly was done, under what legal authorities. It's time to get to the bottom of it.

Wyden also criticized the Obama Administration for allowing John Rizzo to continue to work as the acting general counsel at the CIA:

Rachel, this is bizarre even by the standards of Washington, DC. His nomination was withdrawn. I led the effort in the Intelligence Committee to have it withdrawn. Had it gone to a vote, I think it would have been overwhelmingly disapproved on a bipartisan basis. But he's still there. I do think that the President's intelligence team should take steps to get somebody in there who will make judgments in line with the law.

Watch the full clip. Wyden appears about three minutes in:


Ron Wyden calls Dick Cheney's bluff

BlueOregon - Apr 24, 2009

As Capitol Hill pundits and lawmakers debated whether those actions were illegal or were tortureWyden said it's important for the results of the “enhanced ...

The trail to torture

Hillsboro Argus - OregonLive.com - Apr 23, 2009

Ron Wyden, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has helped launch a bipartisan committee review of the CIA's interrogation program, ...



Thank you for contacting me regarding the Bush Administration's recent draft amendment to the War Crimes Act. I appreciate your thoughts and understand your concerns. 

As you know, this amendment (Section 2441 of Title 18 U.S. Code) would retroactively protect political appointees and CIA personnel from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees. The proposed legislation amends Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which includes provisions that prohibit US officials from inflicting violence to life and person, taking of hostages, outrages upon personal dignity, and the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court. 

As a proud member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Intelligence, I believe that we need to draw the line bright and clear between permissible interrogation techniques and abuse. We need to acquire actionable intelligence against committed terrorists, but must always stand for freedom, honor, and democracy. I believe very strongly that our cause is morally superior to our adversaries', both the terrorists we fight and those who now seek to undo efforts to stabilize Iraq . Gratuitous torture undermines our moral clarity and does not gain us reliable, actionable intelligence. 

You may be interested to know that I supported Senator John McCain's amendment to the FY2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. The amendment, which successfully passed the Senate, states that no person in the custody of or in a Department of Defense facility shall be subjected to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation. I believe this language gives us the necessary balance between moral leadership and information needed to defeat those wishing to do us harm. 

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope that the information I have provided is helpful. My website, 
http://bayh.senate.gov , can provide additional details about legislation and state projects, and you can also sign up to receive my monthly e ‑newsletter, The Bayh Bulletin, by clicking on the link at the top of my homepage. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you. 

SFRC Investigations: New Iran report, and the past statements on torture of an SFRC investigator

SFRC Investigations: New Iran report, and the past statements on ...

Foreign Policy - 21 hours ago

Evan Bayh (D-IN), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) are introducing an Iran sanctions resolution this week that would aim to target those entities ..

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has taken a lot of heat from the netroots ever since heannounced the creation of a moderate caucus intended to push back against Pres. Obama's budget proposals. On Friday, Bayh incited a fresh round of blogger criticism when he and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) became the only two Senate Dems to vote against Obama's budget. Liberal bloggers are calling Bayh "the new Lieberman" and are blasting him for siding with the GOP "on the most important domestic policy vote of his career." Lefty bloggers don't buy Bayh'sclaim that he voted against Obama's budget out of genuine concern about the growing deficit, since he also voted for an amendment that would cut taxes on multimillion-dollar estates (and deprive the government of an estimated $250B in revenue). Matthew Yglesias points out that "someone horrified by the prospect of increased deficits wouldn't be pushing for estate tax cuts," while Ezra Kleinobserves that Bayh's voting record seems to swing to the left or the right depending on what office he's running for.

BAYH: Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Bayh

Liberal bloggers are criticizing Bayh after he and Nelson became the only two Senate Dems to vote against Obama's budget. Lefty bloggers are also angrythat Bayh and Nelson voted for Sen. Mike Johanns' (R-NE) amendment, which "would have resulted in a budget that all-but-froze non-defense discretionary spending":

  • The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen: "Yes, Bayh is the new [Joe] Lieberman."
  • Oliver Willis: "Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson should just be Republicans. Because not only did they vote against the President's budget, they voted for the Republican budget from planet insane. On a defining document like that, to be against the ideology of what we're trying to do here is just simple betrayal and a desire to put your own political capital ahead of fixing the country. I feel totally justified that my 'Oh Hell No' sense went off the charts when Bayh was being bandied about by the media as a possible veep choice."

Bayh defended his "no" vote by arguing that the budget would cause our national debt to "skyrocket." However, liberal bloggers aren't buying Bayh's rhetoric about fiscal responsibility, since he also voted for the Lincoln-Kyl amendment that would cut taxes on multimillion-dollar estates (and deprive the government of an estimated $250B in revenue):

  • dday: "So how did [Bayh and Nelson], who voted affirmatively for a Republican budget, justify their votes? They said it costs too much. [...] These same two Senators, the ones whining and crying about fiscal responsibility, voted last night to shield millionaires from taxes on their estates, costing the government $250 billion dollars."
  • Think Progress' Yglesias: "[S]omeone horrified by the prospect of increased deficits wouldn't be pushing for estate tax cuts. More broadly, someone specifically horrified by deficits would be concerned not only about reducing spending but about increasing revenues. I, for one, am inclined to agree that the long-term deficits envisioned in the Obama administration's budget plan are too high. I would advocate lower spending on the defense side than Obama's envisioning, and more revenue through any of a number of possible mechanisms. Bayh, by contrast, seems to have a rather one-sided aversion to spending on domestic programs. That's not a unique sentiment in the United States congress, but it's a curious belief set for a Democrat."
  • Klein: "I understand Evan Bayh's decision to vote against the budget. In a Senate with 59 Democrats, the opportunity to emerge as the marquee swing vote is undeniably attractive. It brings with it real power over policy and real celebrity in Washington. And there's even a legitimate argument that Bayh developed in his statement today. [...] But then why vote -- on the very same day -- for the Kyl-Lincoln bill lowering the tax rate on estates over $7 million from 45 percent to 35 percent and reducing charitable giving? That's $250 billion more debt over 10 years. It's in direct conflict with Bayh's statement on the budget. It makes him look insincere."
  • Obsidian Wingshilzoy: "I really do have to give a special shout-out...to those Senators who go on and on about fiscal responsibility and yet found it in their heart to vote for [the Lincoln-Kyl] amendment."

BAYH II: What's Really Motivating Him?

Several liberal bloggers are speculating about Bayh's motives for voting against the budget:

  • The Democratic Strategist's Ed Kilgore: "Best as I can tell, Bayh's vote was motivated by a sincere horror of deficits and debt, which is so strong that he doesn't mind abandoning his party and indeed, his fellow 'centrists' on what was, after all, the most epochal budget vote since at least 1993 and probably since 1981. For that very reason, he ought to step back from his leadership role in the Senate 'centrist' group, in favor of senators whose agreement with and loyalty to the Obama agenda is much less in question. If this group remains the 'Bayh group,' it will struggle to achieve the credibility it needs to become anything other than a crude power bloc looking to shake down the administration and the congressional leadership for personal, ideological, and special-interest favors."
  • Atrios: "Bayh already announced that he and the rest of the Bayh Dogs have no agenda, which means he gathered a bunch of people together and said, 'Here's my plan to make us more powerful and give us more leverage.' Maybe they'll figure out an actual agenda eventually, but for the moment the agenda is whatever Bayh says it is. Whether his yapping puppies follow along on a regular basis remains to be seen..."
  • Klein: "[Bayh]'s running for reelection in Indiana this year, but this is also the year that Indiana's tectonic plates shift and the state chooses that Obama guy. So I'm not going to pretend that I fully understand the motivations behind the sharp swings in Bayh's voting record. But they're undeniably present, and seem to be keyed to political campaigns. Bayh is much steadier during the 107th and 108th Congresses, when no elections loom."
  • BooMan: "Ezra Klein wants to know why Evan Bayh was uncharacteristically liberal in 2005-2008 and why he is uncharacteristically conservative now. Simple. Between 2005 and 2008, Evan Bayh was either thinking of running for president or auditioning for vice-president. As such, he did not want to appear too conservative. When he got passed over by Obama for the veepee nod, he decided to exert his revenge by organizing a caucus of 'moderates' to screw everything up and maximize his influence."

Yglesias: "I've heard some see this as an act of political cowardice on Bayh's part, but I think that's wrong. Obama carried Indiana. There are many Senate Democrats in more vulnerable states who voted 'yes.' Bayh just made a decision of conscience and principle to stand with [KY Sen.] Mitch McConnell and [SC Sen.] Jim DeMint on the most important domestic policy vote of his career. It's not clear to me where this leaves the Bayh Bunch of 'practical' moderates, since virtually none of its members followed their leader."

 There will More In the days ahead on each member of The Senate Intelligence Committee; their views, pronouncements and prior involvements in things they may well never want to see the light of day.  We want the entire mushroom, not the cap, not the stem and we will not settle for the bullshit manure in the Congressional Greenhouse.

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