Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Non-News: Someone In Washington Is Lying; A Real News Event: Open Investigation Of Pelosi, The CIA And The Bush Administration On Torture.

The Non-News: Someone In  Washington Is Lying; A Real News Event: Open Investigation Of Pelosi, The CIA And The Bush Administration On Torture.


I don’t care who is lying; let’s just to the truth and hold everyone who is guilty of breaking the law and ignoring the Constitution to full account. Let the chips fall where ever they may.

The lies of the CIA and Nancy Pelosi

World Socialist Web Site - Oak Park,MI,USA
Democratic Speaker of the House 
Nancy Pelosi charges the CIA with lying to her about torture in a 2002 briefing, a charge denied by the agency. ...
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WASHINGTON — After many failed efforts, Republicans have finally found a weak spot in Nancy Pelosi’s political armor as a fight over detainee interrogations engulfs Ms. Pelosi, Republicans and intelligence officials.

The furor was heightened on Friday when the director of the Central Intelligence AgencyLeon E. Panetta, pushed back against an assertion by Ms. Pelosi, a Democrat who is the House speaker, that she had been misled by agency representatives seven years ago about harsh treatment of terrorism suspects, a claim that struck a raw nerve at the spy headquarters.

Mr. Panetta, a former Democratic congressman from California and a longtime associate of Ms. Pelosi, issued a statement that said the agency’s “contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that C.I.A. officers briefed truthfully,” a rebuttal of Ms. Pelosi’s claim on Thursday that intelligence officials had lied to her.

The deepening dispute over what Ms. Pelosi was told in September 2002 has challenged her credibility and raised new questions about whether she passed up an early opportunity to expose the Bush administration’s harsh treatment of detainees.

Lawmakers and senior government officials say the public furor could also give momentum to the push for an inquiry into the Bush administration’s interrogation policies as well as into what senior members of Congress knew about the treatment of detainees. In his statement, Mr. Panetta said it would ultimately be “up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.”

As for the speaker, she no doubt faces a difficult period. But few think the sharp focus on the interrogation matter is a serious threat to the authority of Ms. Pelosi, a powerful figure who weathered previous Republican assaults with hardly a scratch.

“It is an embarrassment,” said Ross K. Baker, an expert on Congress at Rutgers University, “and clearly nobody wants to be embarrassed, particularly a speaker of the House. But other than that, there is nothing here that threatens her job.”

Ms. Pelosi is not the only one with political exposure. Should any investigation determine that the C.I.A. misled members of Congress, the result could be severely damaging to the agency and to the Republican leaders who have relentlessly pressed the issue against Ms. Pelosi.

Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida, who as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee underwent a briefing similar to Ms. Pelosi’s about three weeks after hers, sides with the speaker. He said he recalled a “bland” session.

“I do not have any recollection that day of there being a discussion of something that would have been as neon as waterboarding or other torture techniques,” Mr. Graham said.

He said his confidence in the C.I.A.’s account of the briefings had also been shaken by what he said was an incorrect assertion by the agency that he had been briefed on four dates. Mr. Graham, who famously keeps a detailed record of his daily activities, checked and determined that the agency was wrong about three dates and that he had attended only one session before leaving the Intelligence Committee.

“This is just a small chapter of a long, long book of C.I.A. inaccuracies, particularly in the early part of this decade,” he said.

But Mr. Graham was not present for the briefing with Ms. Pelosi. The only other lawmaker present, Porter J. Goss, then a Republican congressman from Florida who was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and later became the C.I.A. director, has contradicted her account. He said he and Ms. Pelosi were told that the agency intended to use the harsh methods.

Republicans on Friday continued to dispute Ms. Pelosi’s assertion that at her sole 2002 briefing as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, she was told that the Bush administration had determined waterboarding was legal but that it was not being used.

Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said on the “Today” show on NBC: “I have looked at the underlying materials, not only the records they kept but the cables they sent out to the field. From what was apparently contemporaneous documents, it’s clear that they did tell her.”

The furor surrounding Ms. Pelosi’s claim that she was misled has obscured one undisputed fact about the briefings. The Sept. 4, 2002, session, the first given to anyone in Congress on the so-called enhanced interrogation methods, came weeks after the C.I.A. had started to use the methods. Even if Ms. Pelosi had taken action, it is doubtful it would have averted the firestorm about torture that was to come.

Fellow Democrats say they support the speaker, and they will probably become more united as she faces attacks from polarizing opponents like Newt Gingrich, who lashed out at the speaker on Friday, or faces calls from the right to step down. The Democrats say her predicament shows the perils of classified briefings, which can handcuff those who attend if they hear something objectionable.

Since Ms. Pelosi became speaker in 2007, Republicans have repeatedly sought to undercut her, questioning her use of government aircraft and accusing her of aiding pet interests and of acting high-handedly. But the assaults had gained little traction before this latest episode, and with their fortunes down, Republicans are doing what they can to keep the issue alive.

In Ms. Pelosi’s home state, California, residents say they are having a hard time accepting her account. “I’m very skeptical of what she’s saying, and when she goes to get re-elected, this could really damage her credibility,” said Delphine Langille of San Ramon, one of several people interviewed Friday outside of City Hall in San Francisco.

Mr. Panetta’s message to C.I.A. employees, under the heading “Turning Down the Volume,” appeared to be an effort to calm the dispute between the speaker and the agency and show that despite his outsider status he would stand up for his employees.

In a statement issued Friday evening, Ms. Pelosi also sought to quiet matters.

“My criticism of the manner in which the Bush administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe,” she said. “What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country.”

Scott Shane contributed reporting from Washington, and Malia Wollan from San Francisco.


Nancy Pelosi backpedals on CIA claims

Rebuffed by the Democratic head of the CIA and left hanging by a Democratic White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backpedaled Friday on her claims that the CIA lied to her about water-boarding.

Pelosi issued a statement late Friday shifting her criticism to the
Bush administration– hours after CIA Director Leon Panettadefended his agency against Pelosi’s charges.

“My criticism of the manner in which the Bush administration did not appropriately inform
Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe,” Pelosi said in a statement late Friday.

But she didn’t back off her central claim, that she wasn’t informed about the use of
water-boardingagainst a key terror suspect in September 2002.

In fact, Democratic insiders said Friday that before Pelosi made her dramatic statement on Thursday, her office dispatched an aide to
CIA headquarters to independently verify what she was told during the 2002 briefing based upon notes from the meeting.

“[Pelosi] wouldn’t say what she did without checking it first,” said a Pelosi ally.

Even with Pelosi’s attempts to turn down the temperature, however, the controversy continued.

Panettaissued a letter to all CIA employees Friday rebuffing Pelosi’s claim that she was misled about the use of harsh interrogation tactics.

“Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values,” Panetta wrote.

He also said agency records show that CIA officers “briefed truthfully” when they discussed the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, “describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed.’”

The Pelosi-Panetta dispute is by far the most serious Democrat-on-Democrat battle since President Barack Obama was sworn into office nearly four months ago, and has Republicans hoping – both publicly and privately – that Pelosi has permanently damaged her own credibility among her colleagues.

Pelosi opened herself up to searing criticism from the right, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accusing her of a “despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort” to hide what she really knew from the House. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) went so far as to suggest she could lose the speakership over this.

And if Pelosi was hoping the White House would rush to her defense, she was wrong. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pointedly declined to weigh in Friday, saying he wouldn’t talk about Pelosi’s initial claim that the CIA misled her.

"I think you've heard the president say this a number of times: the best thing we can do is to look forward,” Gibbs said. “I appreciate the invitation to get involved here, but I'm not gonna RSVP."

As for Panetta, the comments by his one-time House colleague presented him an opportunity too good to pass up – a chance to burnish his I’ve-got-your-back credentials with an agency that has viewed him with suspicion since he took the job.

Some agency employees and even some lawmakers publicly fretted that the eight-term Congressman and chief of staff to President Bill Clinton might be too political a choice to run the spy and intelligence service. Panetta’s letter, however, was a way for him to show he was behind them.

A former CIA counter-terrorism official, Vince Cannistraro, said he was impressed that Panetta delivered a fairly direct rebuke to his former House colleague.

“Some might think with his background as a Congressman from California, he might bend over to avoid stepping on Nancy’s toes, but . . . he didn’t hide from it,” Cannistraro said. “He could have rolled over and been ambiguous. He was pretty clear.”

But Cannistraro said Panetta is facing a serious predicament.

“This one is bad. You’ve got the Speaker of the House…saying the CIA lied to them. You know what that means for the House Intelligence Committee and relations with the CIA which it oversees?” Cannistraro said. “It’s a very serious charge and I don’t know that it’s been made in quite such graphic tones by anyone in the past.”

Panetta’s letter to CIA employees was entitled “Turning Down the Volume.” Its effect was to do anything but.

Instead, it pitted two of Obama’s allies against each other in a he-said/she-said that would keep torture in the headlines for another day, despite Obama’s continuing efforts to change the subject.

The Panetta-Pelosi battle has its roots in the House, where they served together for more than five years, representing two of the most liberal districts in Congress.

As the chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1997, Panetta witnessed Pelosi’s fight against liberalization of U.S. trade with China, a Clinton priority. Pelosi still bears the political scars from that fight.

Panetta also angered Pelosi by backing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) plan to create an independent panel to redraw the state’s legislative districts, a proposal that could have endangered Pelosi’s allies in the state legislature.

But Pelosi openly backed Panetta over Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) when the two were looking at entering the California gubernatorial race in 1996, and she offered nothing but praise for Panetta when he was nominated by President Barack Obama this year to take over the helm at the CIA.

“There is no love lost between Panetta and Nancy Pelosi,” said one Pelosi ally. “She was never even counseled that they were going to name Panetta [as CIA director] … They’ve never been close.”

Others like Barry Toiv, a longtime aide to Panetta in the House and in the White House budget office, said his ex-boss and Pelosi have been friendly for decades.

“They have a great relationship,” Toiv said. “They had lots of contact both when he was in
government, and a fair amount since as well.”

Republicans gloated over the fact that Pelosi was in the middle of the media maelstrom – and suggested the controversy would derail calls for a “truth commission” or other full-scale probe of the Bush years.

“They control the Congress, and they can have hearings if they want to,” said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on Fox News. “But if the inference is that maybe they'll be a little less anxious to have the hearings now that one of their own is caught up in this -- in fact, more than caught up in it -- it may well happen that they would decide that discretion is the better part of valor here.”

Congressional Republicans have also shifted their message during the Pelosi torture controversy. While adamantly opposing the idea of a “truth commission” to look into Bush detainee interrogation policies and other controversies from the last eight years, some Republicans now are calling for a special committee to look into what members of the Intelligence Committee were told – including Pelosi.

Pelosi is getting some backing in her own caucus. While Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) initially offered tepid support for Pelosi following her Thursday bombshell, Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) was much stronger in backing her the following day.

“I think Nancy Pelosi is a woman of great integrity, great intellect, and I do not believe that she would intentionally attempt to misled anybody,” Clyburn said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

Clyburn cited statements by former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who also disputed that he was told the CIA was actually waterboarding detainees when he was briefed by the agency during the same period, as further proof of Pelosi’s statement.

The South Carolina
Democratsuggested that Pelosi would “welcome” the opportunity to be questioned under oath about what she was told during the 2002 briefing, but added that former Vice PresidentDickCheneyand other Bush administration officials who knew the details of the detainee interrogation program should also face investigators.

“I think [Cheney] ought to talk about the role he played,” Clyburn said. As for Pelosi, he said, “I don’t think she has a single thing to hide, and I do believe she will welcome such an opportunity.”

Read more: "Nancy Pelosi backpedals on CIA claims - John Bresnahan and Josh Gerstein -" -


Media ignore question of whether Congress was briefed on torture dissent

May 15, 2009 7:01 pm ET

SUMMARY: Reporting on the CIA document detailing briefings members of Congress and staff received about harsh interrogation techniques, media outlets have largely ignored whether members were told there was significant disagreement within the administration regarding their legality and efficacy.


Media outlets have repeatedly reported on the recently released CIA document detailing briefings members of Congress and staff received about harsh interrogation techniques, including what and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other congressional Democrats knew about those techniques, but have largely ignored whether members were told there was significant disagreement within the administration regarding the legality and efficacy of these techniques. The issue is crucial to assessing whether congressional Democrats consented to the methods, as prominent Republicans and media conservatives claim. In the absence of full information, there can be no consent, a point the media have largely ignored in their coverage of the issue. If, as the evidence suggests, Congress was not told that experts within the administration strongly disputed the legality and efficacy of the methods, then the alleged failure on the part of members of Congress to object is irrelevant, and culpability for their alleged failure to respond lies with those who denied them information crucial to making a judgment about whether the administration was acting in the best interest of the nation.

For example, in its coverage of Pelosi's May 14 press conference, The Washington Post did not note that, during the press conference, Pelosi stated that Congress was not provided with "contrary opinions within the Executive Branch [that] concluded that these [enhanced] interrogation techniques were not legal." Moreover, according to a Media Matters for America review* of the Post's coverage over the past month of what Pelosi knew about these techniques, the Post has not reported on, or raised, the question of whether Pelosi was informed of any dissent within the administration over the use of these techniques. Those who dissented include legal experts from the FBI and military who contested the Justice Department's determination that these EITs were legal; FBI and CIA counterintelligence experts who had reportedly expressed opposition to, and disputed the effectiveness of, the methods; and experts from the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program who similarly expressed concerns about the efficacy of subjecting detainees to harsh interrogation techniques modeled after ones used in the SERE program. Media Matters has previously documented a recent pattern of the media minimizing the Bush administration's role in the torture debate.


In a May 15 Washington Post article on Pelosi's press conference, staff writer Paul Kane wrote that Pelosi's critics "contend that top Democrats were aware that CIA interrogators were using waterboarding, or simulated drowning, and that their support waned only after its use became public and led to an outcry from human rights activists." Similarly, in a May 15 Post analysis, national political correspondent Dan Balz wrote, "Conservatives say that, if Pelosi was so opposed to torture, she should have spoken out forcefully when she learned that these techniques were being employed. Her failure to do so then leaves her in a weakened position to protest now, they argue." But Kane and Balz did not note that, during her press conference, Pelosi stated that she was not told "there were other opinions within the executive branch that concluded that these interrogation techniques were not legal."

According to a May 2008 report from the Justice Department's office of the inspector general, following a meeting with FBI counterterrorism assistant director Pasquale D'Amuro "in approximately August 2002," FBI Director Robert Mueller determined "that the FBI would not participate in joint interrogations of detainees with other agencies in which harsh or extreme techniques not allowed by the FBI would be employed." D'Amuro recommended that the FBI not participate in part because "the use of the aggressive techniques failed to take into account an 'end game.' " D'Amuro added, "[E]ven a military tribunal would require some standard for admissibility of evidence. Obtaining information by way of 'aggressive' techniques would not only jeopardize the government's ability to use the information against the detainees, but also might have a negative impact on the agents' ability to testify in future proceedings." Additionally, in a November 27, 2002, legal analysis, FBI deputy director Marion Bowman wrote that several of the enhanced techniques -- including "[u]se of wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of drowning" -- "are not permitted by the US Constitution" and may violate the federal torture statute.

Further, a November 20, 2008, Senate Armed Services Committee report, released jointly by chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), documented concerns the military services expressed, including that the enhanced techniques -- requested for use at Guantánamo Bay and authorized by Donald Rumsfeld on December 2, 2002 -- could not withstand legal scrutiny. On November 1, 2002, the Air Force commented on the request by expressing "serious concerns regarding the legality of many of the proposed techniques." The Marine Corps stated in a memo that "several of the Category II and III techniques arguably violate federal law, and would expose our service members to possible prosecution," and that the Corps "disagree[d] with the position that the proposed plan is legally sufficient." The Army, in turn, replied that it "interposes significant legal, policy and practical concerns regarding most of the Category II and all of the Category III techniques proposed." The committee reportstated that a legal review subsequently initiated by Capt. Jane Dalton, legal counsel to the Joint Chiefs chairman, was "[q]uashe[d]" by Department of Defense general counsel Jim Haynes.

The committee report stated that Navy general counsel Alberto Mora testified to the committee that he told Haynes in December 2002 that he believed "some of the authorized techniques could rise to the level of torture," and that the Guantánamo staff judge advocate's legal opinion underlying Rumsfeld's authorization was "an incompetent product of legal analysis." In January 2003, according to the report, Mora gave Haynes a draft copy of a memo by Navy JAG Corps Cmdr. Stephen Gallotta, which summarized the military services' objections and concluded that several of the techniques may violate international legal standards, the federal anti-torture statute, and various articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and "could be determined to be torture." Mora also sent a draft memo to Haynes stating that "the majority of the proposed category II and all of the proposed category III techniques were violative of domestic and international legal norms in that they constituted, at a minimum, cruel and unusual treatment and, at worst, torture."

Moreover, the staff judge advocates general for the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy all wrote memos that were highly critical of the Office of Legal Counsel memos that provided legal authority for the enhanced interrogations. Then-Deputy Air Force Judge Advocate General Jack Rives wrote in a February 5, 2003, memo that "some of the more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amount to violations of domestic criminal law and the UCMJ (e.g., assault). Applying the more extreme techniques during the interrogation of detainees places the interrogators and the chain of command at risk of criminal accusations domestically." In a March 3, 2003, memo, then-Army Judge Advocate General Thomas Romig wrote: "I question whether this theory [that interrogators could use a defense of "necessity" based on the president's commander-in-chief power] would ultimately prevail in either the U.S. courts or in any international forum. If such a defense is not available, soldiers ordered to use otherwise illegal techniques run a substantial risk of criminal prosecution or personal liability arising from a civil lawsuit."


Objections from the FBI and CIA

In his May 13 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Administrative Oversight subcommittee (retrieved via the Nexis database), former FBI agent Ali Soufan stated that his interrogation team "gained important actionable intelligence" from their interrogation of Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah using the informed interrogation approach, rather than the enhanced interrogation techniques. But Soufan said his team was repeatedly "removed" from questioning Zubaydah and replaced with interrogators who used the harsh techniques. Soufan also said: "Throughout this time, my fellow FBI agent and I, along with a top CIA interrogator who was working with us, protested, but we were overruled. I should also note that another colleague, an operational psychologist for the CIA, had left the location because he objected to what was being done." Soufan added that "[a]s the Department of Justice IG report released last year states, I protested to my superiors in the FBI and refused to be a part of what was happening. The Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, a man I deeply respect, agreed passing the message that 'we don't do that,' and I was pulled out." Soufan also discussed his objections to the use of harsh interrogation techniques in an April 22 New York Times op-ed.

Further, the Justice Department inspector general's May 2008 report, which detailed Mueller's determination that the FBI would not participate in harsh interrogations, stated that D'Amuro's recommendation was based on the fact that "he felt that these techniques were not as effective for developing accurate information as the FBI's rapport-based approach, which he stated had previously been used successfully to get cooperation from al-Qaeda members." He added that he "did not think the [enhanced] techniques would be effective in obtaining accurate information":

[D'Amuro] met with Director Mueller and recommended that the FBI not get involved in interviews in which aggressive interrogation techniques were being used. He stated that his exact words to Mueller were "we don't do that," and that someday the FBI would be called to testify and he wanted to be able to say that the FBI did not participate in this type of activity. D'Amuro said that the Director agreed with his recommendation that the FBI should not participate in interviews in which these techniques were used. Based on D'Amuro's description of events and the dates of contemporaneous documents relation to the CIA's request for a legal opinion from the OLC [Office of Legal Counsel], we believe that D'Amuro's meeting with Mueller took place in approximately August 2002.


D'Amuro gave several reasons to the OIG for his recommendation that the FBI refrain from participating in the use of these techniques. First, he said he felt that these techniques were not as effective for developing accurate information as the FBI's rapport-based approach which he stated had previously been used successfully to get cooperation from al-Qaeda members. He explained that the FBI did not believe these techniques would provide the intelligence it needed and the FBI's proved techniques would. He said the individuals being interrogated came from parts of the world where much worse interview techniques were used, and they expected the United States to use these harsh techniques. As a result, D'Amuro did not think the techniques would be effective in obtaining accurate information.

In her 2008 book, The Dark Side (Doubleday), The New Yorker's Jane Mayer wrote that "many of the [CIA's] own scientists" objected to the use of harsh interrogation techniques, and that "[s]ome top CIA officers, including R. Scott Shumate, the chief operational psychologist for the CTC [Counterterrorist Center] from 2001 until 2003, left the Agency, apparently in disagreement over what he believed was a misuse of the SERE techniques." From The Dark Side:

It's not yet possible to pinpoint exactly how and when the CIA first turned to the SERE program for advice on how to interrogate its own captives. But a well-informed and reliable source who worked closely with the intelligence community after September 11 said that as the Agency struggled to design an interrogation and detention program on the fly, it turned to psychologists in its own scientific division for advice about what might work to "break" terror suspects. Leery about what they saw as potentially unethical and illegal uses of science, many of the Agency's own scientists recoiled. He said their reaction was 'Don't even think about this!' They thought officers could be prosecuted." Like the senior CIA officer who advised [CIA officer John] Kiriakou not to get involved as an interrogator, many in-house scientists sensed a boundary that the U.S. government shouldn't cross. Some top CIA officers, including R. Scott Shumate, the chief operational psychologist for the CTC from 2001 until 2003, left the Agency, apparently in disagreement over what he believed was a misuse of the SERE techniques. At the CIA, Shumate had reported directly to Cofer Black. Shumate then went to the Pentagon, where he became head of the Behavioral Sciences Directorate within the Counterintelligence Field Activity. He declined to comment, but associates described him as upset in particular about the treatment of Zubayda. [Page 162]

Concerns from experts in the SERE program

The Armed Services Committee report recounted how, in 2002, Dr. Jerald Ogrisseg, chief of psychology services at the Air Force SERE school, expressed doubts about the legality of using harsh interrogation techniques on detainees to Daniel Baumgartner, chief of staff to the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), which oversees the SERE program. According to the report, Ogrisseg further concluded that the psychological effects of resistance training "were not applicable to the offensive use of SERE techniques against real world detainees." From the report:

(U) The third attachment to JPRA's July 26, 2002 memo was a memo from the Chief of Psychology Services at the Air Force SERE school, Jerald Ogrisseg, on the "Psychological Effects of Resistance Training."207 That memorandum, which was generated in response to a specific request from the General Counsel's office, described available evidence on the long term psychological effects of Air Force SERE training on U.S. personnel and commented from a psychological perspective on the effects of using the waterboard.

(U) JPRA Chief of Staff Daniel Baumgartner said that when the General Counsel's office requested a memo on the psychological effects of resistance training, he called Dr. Ogrisseg at the Department of the Air Force's Air Education and Training Command.208 Dr. Ogrisseg said that Lt Col Baumgartner asked his opinion during the phone call about his thoughts on waterboarding the enemy.209 Dr. Ogrisseg recalled asking, "wouldn't that be illegal?"210

According to Dr. Ogrisseg, Lt Col Baumgartner replied that people were asking "from above" about using waterboarding in real world interrogations. 211 Dr. Ogrisseg recalled telling Lt Col Baumgartner, "aside from being illegal, it was a completely different arena that we in the Survival School didn't know anything about." 212


(U) Dr. Ogrisseg said that he was surprised when he found out later that Lt Col Baumgartner had forwarded his memo to the General Counsel's office along with a list of the physical and psychological techniques used in SERE school. 219 Dr. Ogrisseg said that his analysis was produced with students in mind, not detainees. He stated that the conclusions in his memo were not applicable to the offensive use of SERE techniques against real world detainees and he would not stand by the conclusions in his memo if they were applied to the use of SERE resistance training techniques on detainees.

In addition, in July 2002, a JPRA memo sent to the Pentagon general counsel's office warned that the use of "physical and/or psychological duress" during an interrogation could produce "unreliable information," and that "it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel." From the memo:

In essence, physical and/or psychological duress are viewed as an alternative to the more time-consuming conventional interrogation process. The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate information. History and a consideration of human behavior would appear to refute this assumption.


The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel.

In an April 25, 2009, article, The Washington Post reported that the memo, which it obtained, "was included among July 2002 memorandums that described severe techniques used against Americans in past conflicts and the psychological effects of such treatment." The Post also noted that the memo "was sent from the Pentagon to the CIA's acting general counsel, John A. Rizzo, and on to the Justice Department, according to testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee."

Media Matters searched the Nexis database of The Washington Post for Pelosi AND (interr! or waterb! or water board! or enhanced or detain! or harsh). 


Ex-CIA Official: Agency Brass Lied to Congress About Interrogations

Friday 15 May 2009

by: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report

    "A CIA employee of two decades, McCarthy became convinced that 'CIA people had lied' in that briefing, as one of her friends said later, not only because the agency had conducted abusive interrogations but also because its policies authorized treatment that she considered cruel, inhumane or degrading."

 Last month, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey sharply criticized President Obama's decision to release four "torture" memos, writing in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal that the "disclosure of the techniques is likely to be met by faux outrage, and is perfectly packaged for media consumption."

Buried in their column was the claim that the methods the CIA used against "high-value" detainees, such as waterboarding, beatings and stress positions "were disclosed repeatedly in more than 30 congressional briefings and hearings beginning in 2002, and open to all members of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress beginning in September 2006."

 "Any protestation of ignorance of those details, particularly by members of those committees, is pretense," the former Bush officials wrote.

Several prominent Republicans, including Rep. John Boehner, (R- Ohio) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan), the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, have echoed Hayden's claims in an attempt to show Democrats were complicit because they did not protest when they were briefed about the "enhanced interrogation" program and the techniques CIA interrogators intended to use.

"It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002," Hoekstra wrote in an op-ed also published in The Wall Street Journal last month. "We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe. After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, vehemently denied that she was told the CIA planned on waterboarding detainees or intended to use other brutal techniques to try and extract information from "war on terror" prisoners.

 "My colleague [Porter Goss], the chairman of the committee, has said 'if they say that it's legal you have to know they are going to use them,'" Pelosi said last month. "Well, his experience is that he was a member of the CIA, later went on to head the CIA and maybe his experience is that if they tell you one thing they may mean something else. My experience is that they did not tell us they were using that. Flat out. And any - any contention to the contrary is simply not true.

"They told us they had opinions from the [Justice Department's] Office of Legal Counsel that they could, but not that they were using enhanced techniques, and that if and when they were used, they would brief Congress at that time. As a member of Intelligence, I thought I was being briefed. I realized that was not true when I became ranking member."

 On Thursday, Pelosi held a news conference and accused the CIA of lying to Congress.

 The CIA "mislead us all the time," Pelosi said. "They misrepresented every step of the way, and they don't want that focus on them, so they try to turn the focus on us."

Questions about what the Democrats knew about the CIA's torture program were raised two years ago when it was revealed that the CIA had destroyed 92 interrogation videotapes in November 2005 and that the agency had informed Democratic lawmakers about its plans.

Following that disclosure, Representative Harman's office released a February 2003 letter she wrote to the CIA advising the agency against destroying the videotapes. The CIA declassified Harman's letter at the congresswoman's request.

"You discussed the fact that there is videotape of [high-level al-Qaeda operative] Abu Zubaydah following his capture that will be destroyed after the Inspector General finishes his inquiry," Harman wrote. "I would urge the Agency to reconsider that plan. Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future. The fact of destruction would reflect badly on the Agency."

Harman's letter raised concerns about the CIA's use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" and questioned whether President Bush had authorized the methods. In her letter, she advised the agency against destroying the videotapes out of concern the footage CIA agents captured "would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future."

Still, claims that Democrats were fully briefed on the Bush administration's torture program have been leveled as recently as last December by Vice President Dick Cheney and in books by former Bush officials such as John Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), who helped draft one of the four memos released last week.

But the veracity of those assertions have been called into question by former CIA official Mary O. McCarthy, who said senior agency officials lied to members of Congress during an intelligence briefing in 2005 when they said the agency did not violate treaties that bar, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees during interrogations, according to a May 14, 2006, front-page story in The Washington Post.

"A CIA employee of two decades, McCarthy became convinced that 'CIA people had lied' in that briefing, as one of her friends said later, not only because the agency had conducted abusive interrogations but also because its policies authorized treatment that she considered cruel, inhumane or degrading," The Washington Post reported.

“In addition to CIA misrepresentations at the session last summer, McCarthy told the friends, a senior agency official failed to provide a full account of the CIA's detainee-treatment policy at a closed hearing of the House intelligence committee in February 2005, under questioning by Rep. Jane Harman (California), the senior Democrat," The Washington Post reported.

"McCarthy also told others she was offended that the CIA's general counsel had worked to secure a secret Justice Department opinion in 2004 authorizing the agency's creation of "ghost detainees" - prisoners removed from Iraq for secret interrogations without notice to the International Committee of the Red Cross - because the Geneva Conventions prohibit such practices."

In 2004, McCarthy was tapped by the CIA's Inspector General John Helgerson to assist him with internal investigations about the agency's interrogation methods. The report Helgerson prepared remains classified, but the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to have it released publicly.

 “McCarthy was not an ideologue, her friends say, but at some point fell into a camp of CIA officers who felt that the Bush administration's venture into Iraq had dangerously diverted US counterterrorism policy. After seeing - in e-mails, cable traffic, interview transcripts and field reports - some of the secret fruits of the Iraq intervention, McCarthy became disenchanted, three of her friends say," the Post reported.

In May 2005, just a few months after the CIA briefed Congress on interrogation methods, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, requested "to see over a hundred documents referred to in [Helgerson's] report on detention inside the black prison sites," New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer wrote in her book, "The Dark Side." "Among the items Rockefeller specifically sought was a legal analysis of the CIA's interrogation videotapes.

“Rockefeller wanted to know if the intelligence agency's top lawyer believed that the waterboarding of [alleged al-Qaeda operative Abu] Zubaydah and [alleged 9/11 mastermind] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as captured on the secret videotapes, was entirely legal. The CIA refused to provide the requested documents to Rockefeller.

"But the Democratic senator's mention of the videotapes undoubtedly sent a shiver through the Agency, as did a second request he made for these documents to [former CIA Director Porter] Goss in September 2005."

 The May 2005, request from Rockefeller took place during the same month that Steven Bradbury, the former head of the OLC, wrote three legal opinions reinstating the torture techniques his predecessor, Jack Goldsmith, had withdrawn.

Bradbury's memos, released last Thursday, included several footnotes to Helgerson's report, one of which stated that the CIA used waterboarding "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" and used "large volumes of water" as opposed to the smaller amount the CIA said it intended to use. In fact, Bradbury's memos, while authorizing brutal techniques, also disputed the conclusions of Helgerson's still classified report that the interrogation techniques violated the Convention Against Torture.

 According to a November 9, 2005, story in The New York Times published the same month, 92 interrogation videotapes were destroyed. Helgerson's report "raised concern about whether the use of the techniques could expose agency officers to legal liability."

    "They said the report expressed skepticism about the Bush administration view that any ban on cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment under the treaty does not apply to CIA interrogations because they take place overseas on people who are not citizens of the United States," the Times reported. "The officials who described the report said it discussed particular techniques used by the CIA against particular prisoners, including about three dozen terror suspects being held by the agency in secret locations around the world."

Mayer reported that Helgerson's report "known as a 'special review,' was tens of thousands of pages long and as thick as two Manhattan phone books. It contained information, according to one source, that was simply 'sickening.'"

"The behavior it described, another knowledgeable source said, raised concerns not just about the detainees but also about the Americans who had inflicted the abuse, one of whom seemed to have become frighteningly dehumanized. The source said, 'You couldn't read the documents without wondering, 'Why didn't someone say, "Stop!'""

 Mayer wrote that Vice President Dick Cheney stopped Helgerson from fully completing his investigation. That proves, Mayer contends, that as early as 2004 "the Vice President's office was fully aware that there were allegations of serious wrongdoing in The [interrogation] Program."

"Helgerson was summoned repeatedly to meet privately with Vice President Cheney" before his investigation was "stopped in its tracks." Mayer said that Cheney's interaction with Helgerson was "highly unusual."

As a result, McCarthy "worried that neither Helgerson nor the [CIA's] Congressional overseers would fully examine what happened or why," according to the Post report.

 McCarthy told a friend, according to the Post's account, "She had the impression that this stuff has been pretty well buried. In McCarthy's view and that of many colleagues, friends say, torture was not only wrong but also misguided, because it rarely produced useful results."

In April 2006, ten days before she was due to retire, McCarthy was fired from the CIA for allegedly leaking classified information to the media, a CIA spokeswoman told reporters at the time.

In October 2007, Hayden ordered an investigation into Helgerson's office, focusing on internal complaints that the inspector general was on "a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs."

 The CIA said McCarthy had spoken with numerous journalists, including The Washington Post's Dana Priest, who, in November 2005, exposed the CIA's secret prison sites, where, in 2002, the CIA videotaped its agents interrogating a so-called high-level detainee, Abu Zubaydah.

Following news reports of her dismissal from the CIA, McCarthy, through her attorney Ty Cobb, vehemently denied leaking classified information to the media. McCarthy, who is now in private practice as an attorney, did not return calls for comment.

The CIA said she failed a polygraph test after the agency launched an internal investigation in late 2005. The agency said the investigation was an attempt to find out who provided The Washington Post and The New York Times with information about its covert activities, including domestic surveillance, and it promptly fired her.

 After Hayden launched an investigation into Helgerson's work, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed sources, that in 2002, Pelosi, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida), Rep. Jane Harman (D-California), and a handful of Republican lawmakers, were "given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make the prisoners talk."

"Among the techniques described [to the lawmakers], said two officials present, was water-boarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill," the Post reported. "But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two US officials said."

The Post story also made identical claims that Hayden and Mukasey leveled in their Wall Street Journal column: that Pelosi and other Democratic leaders were privately briefed at least 30 times. Those briefings, according to the Post, "included descriptions of [waterboarding] and other harsh interrogations methods."

    But Graham disputed claims that he and other members of Congress were briefed about the interrogation program.

 "Speaking for myself as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from mid-2001 to the end of 2002, I was not briefed on these interrogation techniques," Graham told National Public Radio on Thursday . "[I] am frankly very frustrated that there are these allegations made that everybody knew about it. I think the policy of the Bush administration was to try to bring as many people into the net when they were going to engage in some questionable activity in order to give them cover. In this case, I was not in the net."

 A declassified narrative released on Wednesday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said, about the politics of the Bush administration's torture program, Intelligence Committee chairs in both Houses were briefed about the interrogation program in 2002 and 2003. What they were told, however, remains a mystery.

In an interview with Newsweek last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who now chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and has launched a "review" and "study" of the CIA's interrogation methods, said, "I now know we were not fully and completely briefed on the CIA program."

 Feinstein was reacting to a secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that was leaked, which described, in shocking detail, the techniques used to interrogate 14 "high-value" detainees.

 Interestingly, the magazine quoted an unnamed "US Official" who disputed the charge, and claimed, in language nearly identical to what Hayden wrote in The Wall Street Journal and what was leaked to The Washington Post, "that members of Congress received more than 30 briefings over the life of the CIA program and that Congressional Intel panels had seen the Red Cross report."

 Whether that unnamed official was Hayden is unknown. A representative for the former CIA chief did not return calls for comment.

 Pelosi's Claims Getting Much More Media Scrutiny Than CIA's ...

By Greg Sargent 
Whichever side of the torture debate you're on, it's a simple matter of fact that 
Nancy Pelosi's claims about what she was told and when about torture are getting far more intense media scrutiny than the CIA's claims are.
The Plum Line -

The Political and Financial Markets Commentator: Nancy Pelosi Has ...
By The Political and Financial Markets Commentator 
This was the message from Leon Panetta, a longtime Democrat and now head of the CIA, to the Agency employees regarding the allegations of 
Nancy Pelosi. He doesn't seem to put much credence in her either. Nancy Pelosi's New Book: Abusing ...
The Political and Financial Markets... -

'Special Report' Panel on Speaker Pelosi Accusing the CIA of ...
BAIER: Recapping our top story, House Speaker
 Nancy Pelosi today accused the CIA and the Bush administration of misleading Congress and the country ...
See all stories on this topic

On This Date In History:On May 16, 1868 President Andrew Johnson escaped removal from office.  He been impeached for violating a law that has largely been determined by Constitutional historians to be Unconstitutional.  But, on this date the Senate acquitted him by one vote.  If you  don’t know about the basics of the case, including the infamous Tenure  of Office Act, you can check it out here at Johnson Impeachment.   What I want to talk about is something that probably doesn’t show up in too many texts.

Republican Edmund Gibson Ross was appointed as Senator from Kansas following the death of Republican Senator James H. Lane.  Lane had shot himself to death due to criticism against him for supporting Democrat President Johnson.  Ross had served as a loyal Republican since 1856 and had consistently voted against the Johnson agenda.  But when impeachment came around, he promised that the President would get a fair trial.  All of the Senators had made up their minds except for Ross, which made him the deciding vote.  He vowed to vote his conscience, knowing that he had hundreds of telegrams from home demanding coviction.  He also figured that if he voted to acquit,  His political career would be over.  After he went along with six other Republicans and voted not guilty, he and the other 6 were not brought back for another term.  Worse for Ross was that a Kansas Supreme Court Judge sent a telegram that said, “Unfortunately, the rope with which Judas hung himself is mislaid, but the pistol which Jim Lane killed himself is at your service.”

Yup….I’d say that pretty much means your political career is done.  Oh…he became a Democrat and tried to run for Governor but was trounced badly.  So badly, in fact, that he moved to the New Mexico Territory… 

Democrat President Grover Cleveland lent a hand by giving him a  job.  He appointed him territorial governor!  But he remained shunned in his home state until he received a message from the state of Kansas in appreciation for his conscientious efforts during the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson.  That message came just days before his death.    It reminds me of the baseball writers who hated Leo Durocher so much that they didn’t vote him into the Hall of Fame until the year after he died.  If Pete Rose ever goes in, I bet that’s how it will be.

Anyway, this is another example of how impeachment is not a criminal trial, but instead is a political tool. It was designed that way.  In both of our impeachments of our presidents (Clinton and Johnson), politics played a role in the impeachment proceedings and also in the subsequent acquittal.    So, if  you hear someone say “the impeachment was all about politics…” then you can say, “yes, absolutely, exactly as it was meant to be.” 

Impeachment Is Not The Answer For Judge Bybee; It's The Atomic Bomb Of American Politics.

WASHINGTON - The quest to impeach federal Judge Jay Bybee has moved beyond the blogosphere, with former President Clinton's chief of staff and a chorus of lawmakers calling for his ouster. They cite Judge Bybee's previous work as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, where he helped produce memos that green-lighted harsh treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, and elsewhere.

There's no doubt that the policies Bybee helped write spawned detainee suffering. Had the memos been public during his hearing, it's hard to imagine him being confirmed. But turning impeachment into a litmus test for revulsion over prisoner abuse is a constitutional mistake – and a political one as well.

Nobody should be above the law, but it's important to understand that impeachment was made cumbersome in order to discourage efforts to remove judges for partisan purposes. That's why so few judges have been impeached. Over two centuries, congressional interpretation of the Constitution has evolved to limit impeachment to occasions where there is a general consensus that the judge has committed a "crime" or "misdemeanor" serious enough to constitute a breach of the public trust. This high standard insulates courts from political pressure even when lawmakers find judges' views to be disagreeable.

The Constitution gives the courts extra breathing room, even in stormy or disagreeable circumstances. For example, after flirting with more partisan motives in the early 19th century, Congress has held off on impeaching judges on account of their decisions. And no federal judge has been impeached for conduct that took place before taking the bench, including legal work for the government.

It's not easy for Congress to discipline itself to keep partisan politics out of the courts. Unraveling that consensus, by attempting to impeach a judge before he or she is found guilty of a crime in court, could trigger an endless blood feud of politically motivated impeachments.

It was not so long ago that back in 2005 then-Congressman Tom DeLay was calling for widespread impeachment of judges, bragging about a file cabinet full of targets and saying that judges "need to be intimidated." Organizers of national "Justice Sunday" rallies called judges more threatening than terrorists.

In two states, lawmakers began moving toward impeaching judges after cable TV hosts assailed their criminal sentencing decisions. The frenzy reached a peak when majorities of both parties answered political pressure by passing a bill tampering with Terri Schiavo's end-of-life case.

In Bybee's case, so far, Congress has taken a different tack. It has wisely not moved to unseat him based on what is known. Meanwhile, lawmakers are using the impeachment process appropriately in two other cases, preparing potential impeachment proceedings against two judges who have been indicted on criminal charges.

Bybee can be prosecuted if the evidence warrants. Those who are appalled by his executive branch legal advice can pressure Congress or other fact-finders to scrutinize it for evidence of wrongdoing.

Impeachment could be merited if it is proved he committed a crime or lied at his confirmation hearing, or if a genuine bipartisan consensus emerges that he lacks the legal skills or integrity to render justice. In certain situations, impeachment investigations could also be warranted based on serious law enforcement inquiries.

But impeachment is the atomic bomb of American politics. Lawmakers need to take a deep breath before going nuclear, and think about whether they want their own favorite judges to face the fire next time.

Bert Brandenburg is executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign.



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