Torture, Republicans and National Security Party Games

Republican party games

Hannity Offers To Be Waterboarded For Charity (By Charles Grodin!). Chuck should have stipulated that the waterboarding be under real world conditions. It stops when the waterboarders decide to stop, not when Hannity’s mascara starts to run.

Should Joe Scarborough be congradulated for apparently working without a script. If he was working from a script, his producers might have given some actual facts before the craziness was verbalized,

Scarborough: And you know, David, there are people I have great respect for that believe that waterboarding is torture and what makes this issue, and I would actually like to have a public debate about waterboarding. What makes waterboarding such a complicated issue is that it was in fact the most effective technique that led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by its use on prisoners before Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured and then it led to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealing some of al Qaeda’s greatest secrets afterward through waterboarding.

Former F.B.I. supervisory special agent from 1997 to 2005 Ali Soufan writes in My Tortured Decision

One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.

Scarborough must be suffering from some kind of mental disconnect. In order to have an honest debate, both sides have to be honest. To date there is no evidence that information gathered from any detainees, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed(KSM). The FBI does not believe that torture per se produced any singular actionable results that could not have been obtained through methods outlined in guides like the Military Field manual,

The second-guessing of the C.I.A.’s methods inside the government began long before Mr. Obama’s election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government agency with the greatest knowledge of Al Qaeda in 2001, chose not to participate in the C.I.A. interrogation program after agents became uneasy about the earliest use of harsh methods in 2002 on Abu Zubaydah, a long-sought terrorist facilitator.

In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, the F.B.I. director since 2001, Robert S. Mueller III, was asked whether any attacks had been disrupted because of intelligence obtained through the coercive methods. “I don’t believe that has been the case,” Mr. Mueller said. (A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, John Miller, said on Tuesday, “The quote is accurate.”)

The question as to whether torture works or has produced actionable intelligence has always been a red-herring. Once the torture is done it is relatively easy to claim you had no choice or that in your defense, it saved lives. You cannot turn back the clock and try again using the methods that worked for Mr. Soufan. Matthew Ygleias notes how torture wrecks havoc on any checks and balances in the legal system, in addition to putting those that use such tactics in the position of trying to cover their tracks. The start of the troture begin before the tortured legal reasonong of the Bybee/Bradley memos from the OLC and the decision to toture was not motivated by pure as the driven snow thoughts in the vain of some mediocre spy program to save thousands from a ticking time bomb. Torture was used as a form of pressure on detainees to confess to connections between al-Qaida , Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link

“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.

“There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.

Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies.”

Why is the Right, ranging from Cheney to Joe Scarborough and Hannity pushing back so hard on the torture emeos and the possibility of a special prosecutor. National security and Iraq and is their legacy. Scarborough has already run out the predictable fringe Right response. Investigating the criminal acts and cover up of those acts by administration officals and lawyers is to “criminalize political differences”. A few thosand Americans have been killed in a trillion dollar war by an administration that acted more in the their poltical interests then the interests of the country. The politicalization of America’s common good was trashed by Joe’s friends. If Bush, Cheney, Bybee, Yoo and the rest are held accountable it will be because they mixed in a pinch of national security to justify their purely political acts. If President Obama should back down because he is afraid these guys won’t like him anymore. In a bizarre way Karl Rove maks the case in his latest hachtacular column for the WSJ ( notice that even out of power the Right still has more voices on more prime media soapboxes then Democrats) “Great leaders aren’t defined by consensus”. Ignoring the last few weeks of Republicans claiming that Obama has not been bipartisan enough, Karl is right in general, not the specifics, Obama should not seek consensus on doing the right thing. he should speed along the appointment of a special prosecutor. The we can most assuredly read Karls’ column about the sudden importance of consensus.

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