Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Connecting The Dots

There is a great Washington Post story today about those torture briefings to members of Congress. Several times in listing of the briefings there is a notation of "not available" in the category of who actually led the briefing. Well reporters Paul Kane and Joby Warrick have discovered that these briefings were led by none other than Dick Cheney:

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney personally oversaw at least four briefings with senior members of Congress about the controversial interrogation program, part of a secretive and forceful defense he mounted throughout 2005 in an effort to maintain support for the harsh techniques used on detainees.

The Cheney-led briefings came at some of the most critical moments for the program, as congressional oversight committees were threatening to investigate or even terminate the techniques, according to lawmakers, congressional officials, and current and former intelligence officials.

Cheney's role in helping handle intelligence issues in the Bush administration -- particularly his advocacy for the use of aggressive methods and warrantless wiretapping against alleged terrorists -- has been well documented. But his hands-on role in defending the interrogation program to lawmakers has not been previously publicized.

The CIA made no mention of his role in documents delivered to Capitol Hill last month that listed every lawmaker who had been briefed on "enhanced interrogation techniques" since 2002. For meetings that were overseen by Cheney, the agency told the intelligence committees that information about who oversaw those briefings was "not available."

Now why is this important?

In the CIA intelligence report there is a briefing on 7-13-2004 for Jane Harman and Porter Goss. At that meeting the notes say the information from the “Holy Grail” IG report on interrogations was put forth. Here is the actual notes on it.

1 IG presented report on interrogations.

2. Status update on interrogation process.

3. General Counsel informed of legal/policy

EITs were discussed, including a specific mention of waterboarding as one of the EITs. Discussion of CIA currently seeking reaffirmation from DOJ on use of EITs as well as renewed policy approval from NSC principals to continue using EITs.

Now here is how Greg Sargent of The Plum Line blog described the IG report.

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.

Now take note also of the last line

Discussion of CIA currently seeking reaffirmation from DOJ on use of EITs as well as renewed policy approval from NSC principals to continue using EITs

It would seem after hearing the CIA's Inspector General's report on torture techniques the proverbial shit had hit the fan. What other reason could you imagine that the discussion turned to "seeking reaffirmation from DOJ on the use of" torture?

Now when you go to the documents Dick Cheney wants declassified when do you think the first one is dated?


Just two days later on 7-15-2004 there is another briefing this time with Pat Roberts and John Rockefeller, but check out what shows up in the notes of that one .

Briefed on Interrogation Techniques, including waterboarding, abdominal slap, and sleep deprivation. Also briefed on actionable intelligence derived from use of EITs.

For the first time in the briefing timeline members of Congress were briefed on "actionable intelligence derived from" torture. I don't think it takes a great leap of logic where that information came from.

This was DEFINITELY propaganda material that Dick Cheney got the CIA to put together to “sell” members of Congress on torture. The second of the reports Cheney requested is dated 6-1-2005 and it just so happens that "not available" under the briefers section starts showing up in March of 2005 and continues through October of 2005. I guess the first iteration of the propaganda report just wasn't convincing enough so Cheney needed to add a few more "facts".

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. The reason why Dick Cheney only wants those two report declassified is because he himself was the one who helped put it together to sell members of Congress on torturing detainees. I can't see how those two reports would have any kind of credibility at this point should they ever be released. But once again the question will turn on how the media examines it. If they continue to perform as they have so far and take it and present it as a serious source of information I fear that they will once again fail the American people.

Demand better!

1 comment:

Come Hard Or Not At All!