Republicans Blamed the CIA, Now They Hide Behind The CIA and Blame Democrats

To the consternation of Republicans and the media – including CBS News and The Politico among other who have gleefully ran what sounds like something directly written from an RNC PR release – Democrats claim CIA out to get them. Democrats, also continue drive the media and Conservatives crazy by refusing to play good little lap dog. Now Republicans like cry-me-a-river baby House minority leader Republican Rep. John Boehner are f reigning some outrage – how dare Democrats question the word of the CIA, Rep. Boehner: Now and Then

John Boehner Now

John Boehner: “I’ve dealt with our intelligence professionals for the last three-and-a-half years on an almost daily basis, and it’s hard for me to imagine that our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress. [Boehner Press Availability via The Hill, 5/14/2009]

John Boehner Then:

December 9, 2007:

Wolf Blitzer: “Are you suggesting, as I think you are, that you don’t necessarily have confidence in this new NIE?” (NIE- the CIA’s national Intelligence Estimate)

Rep. John Boehner: “Either I don’t have confidence in what they told me several months ago or I don’t have confidence in what they’re telling me today.” [CNN, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, 12/9/2007; emphasis added]

It was literally just a few months ago that Republicans were point blank accusing the CIA of being out to get them and Bush. The editors at the far right National Review, CIA Run Amok, May 8, 2006

The reasons for Porter Goss’s abrupt departure as CIA director are shrouded in mystery. But its effect is not. It gives the impression that there has been a coup by the CIA insiders who have waged a covert policy war against the Bush administration for five years. The White House must act quickly to correct the impression that the renegades have won.

[ ]..During the Bush presidency, however, the agency has not been content with subtly pushing its own agenda while underperforming its nominal mission. It has run amok. In fact, it worked assiduously—though unsuccessfully—to depose the administration in the 2004 election, and since then has continued brazenly undermining Bush’s foreign policy.

In a post  by a far right Conservative blog called the Strata-Sphere, Rogue CIA Fires Back? May2, 2006 that engaged in some wild speculation of the motivations by the CIA in the investigation in the Rep Randy Cunningham’s (R) bribery scandal and echoing the thoughts of Drudge and a rabid right blogger called Macsmind, wrote,

Mac Ranger predicted the roque CIA agents trying to destroy this country through leaks would create some bizarre news. Sometimes we need to spell things out for the liberal puppets on the left, so I must point out again that the tools available to the CIA to gather information illegally and use it against people can be used by more than the President.

[   ]..The news that ex-CIA agents are talking to ABC News about an investigation into links between CIA contracts and Rep Randy Cunningham’s (R) bribery acts leads me to believe Cunningham may have been outed by some ex-CIA agents to send a message to the Reps and Bush.

John (AssRocket) at Powerline( once Time magazine’s blog of the year) wrote The CIA Comes Out of the Closet,September 7, 2004 Posted by John

Many people are unaware that the CIA is, and always has been, a liberal organization, its ranks dominated by Democrats.

[  ]..The CIA’s liberal orientation has been painfully evident over the last four years, as the agency has engaged in a virtual war with the Bush administration; its officials have been available 24/7 for anti-Bush leaks to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Many of these Republican editorials are are fact free, never the less, the accusations that the CIA was a far left organization out to get Republicans and Bush in particular were a common theme as late as recently as last year.Stephen F. Hayes who was a political consultant to the Bush 43 administration in a column for neocon Bill Kristals Weeekly Standard, Paul Pillar Speaks, Again – The latest CIA attack on the Bush administration is nothing new (02/10/2006)(Linked to by multiple right-wing sites)

Think about that: A senior, unelected CIA official–Paul Pillar–was given agency approval to anonymously attack Bush administration policies less than two months before the November 2, 2004, presidential election. That Pillar was among the most strident of these frequent critics–usually in off-the-record speeches to gatherings of foreign policy experts and business leaders–was well known to his colleagues in the intelligence community and to Bush administration policymakers. His was not an isolated case; CIA officials routinely trashed Bush administration policy decisions, often with official approval, in the months leading up to the Iraq War and again before the election. Pillar, who had complained to a CIA spokesman that someone had violated the ground rules by providing his name to Novak, simply got caught.

Pretty much standard rhetoric from the Right when it became known that Bush and surrogates such as Hayes told lies repeatedly in defense of lies about Iraq intelligence, WMD and non-existent al-Queda connections. The anti-Bush CIA was out to get the neocons. Hayes was and as far as I know continues to defend the Bush administration’s occupation of Iraq in 2003 as a couldn’t-wait-considering-the-urgent threat cheerleaders. laughable now to most Americans in hindsight, but a commonly repeated bit of propaganda at the time.

Neocon and plagiarist of fascist writers, Michael Ledeen at The National Review,Sixteen Words, Again
The myth of a great sin lives on, April 10, 2006
( again, linked to with great approval by multiple right-wing outlets)

The consensus at CIA was highly critical of these reports (most CIA officials were against the war and didn’t want to be blamed for it), but the White House, understandably very suspicious of the quality of CIA’s information and analysis, had pushed hard to get more information.

The Bush administration was using torture to produce false links between Iraq and al-Queda, thus Leeden and the Right accused anyone up to and including the CIA of being pro-terrorist. Leeden also managed, in the same column, to mangle and lie about every known fact concerning Joseph Wilson and the Niger yelllow-cake claims in one of the Right’s lamest attempts to smear Wilson and the CIA. He even gives more credit to some iffy French intelligence service reports then the CIA.

John McCain(R-AZ), who was against water boarding before he was for it is often given credit from moderates or condemnation from the freeper crowd for the charade known as the Detainee Treatment Act ( which Bush promptly arranged a photo-op then ignored via yet another signing statement) also thought the CIA was out to undermine the neocon agenda,

“McCain would be an absolute disaster,” says a second recently retired senior US intelligence operations officer. “He is prejudiced against the CIA. The day after the 2004 election when Bush won, McCain came on TV and gave an interview in which he said something to the effect of, ‘The CIA tried to sabotage this election. They’ve made their bed and now they have to lay in it.‘ I used to like McCain, but he is inconsistent.” Columnist Robert Novak quoted McCain in November 2004 as saying, “With CIA leaks intended to harm the re-election campaign of the president of the United States, it is not only dysfunctional but a rogue organization.”

McCain is influenced by a circle of hardline Republican legislators and congressional staff as well as disgruntled former Agency officials “who all had these long-standing grudges against people in the Agency,” the former senior intelligence officer said. “They think the CIA is a hotbed of liberals. Right-wing, nutty paranoia stuff. They all love the military and hate the CIA. Because the CIA tells them stuff they don’t want to hear.”

Many in the media want to portray Democrats as paranoid. If they keep at and cross their fingers and hope that most American’s memory is as long and credible as John Boehner’s that tactic may work. On the other hand if  anyone in the media wants to use Lexus-Nexus or Google for fifteen minutes they’ll find that until recently as far as most Republicans were concerned the CIA were all radical leftists out to get them. This year’s fashions have changed. Now that the CIA has issued some memos gathered from from memories of some nameless faceless sources, it is Democrats who are allegedly paranoid. The CIA is in many ways like a large corporation that employs thousands of people whose personal politics vary as much as any work place. There are probably factions within department and the entire agency that differ in opinion about how things should be run. Now, one gets the impression that more then a political left-right agenda they’re probably just looking out for their own, much like large police departments are known to have tense relationships with their internal affairs departments. A Truth Commission in which the CIA, former Bush officials including Bush and Cheney, and even Speaker Pelosi and former Senator Bob Graham – all under oath. Then let the truth fall where it may, but that is exactly what the former Republican CIA haters do not want, thus the continuing battle of media sound bites and editorials rather then testimony,

“What struck me(former Senator Graham)…was the fact that in that briefing, there were also two staff members,” he said. “As you know, the general rule is that the executive is to brief the full committees of the House and Senate Intelligence committees about any ongoing or proposed action. The exception to that is what is called “covert action,” where the president…only briefs the Gang of Eight, which is the four congressional leaders and the four intelligence committee leaders. Those sessions are generally conducted at an executive site, primarily at the White House itself. And they are conducted with just the authorized personnel, not with any staff or any other member of the committee…. Which leads me to conclude that this was not considered by the CIA to be a Gang of Eight briefing. Otherwise they would not have had staff in the room. And that leads me to then believe that they didn’t brief us on any of the sensitive programs such as the waterboarding or other forms of excessive interrogation.”

The remarks made by Graham bolster the comments offered by Pelosi on Thursday. The Speaker told reporters that during her briefing session in the fall of 2002 she was not just kept in the dark about the issue of waterboarding, she was assured that it had not been used.

“Yes, I am saying that the CIA was misleading the Congress,” she said.

The decider clown



Bush Lied Us Into a War and Promoted the Use of Torture, so Blame Democrats

Tortured logic

Unka Karl’s latest blather from the WSJ, Congress and Waterboarding – Nancy Pelosi was an accomplice to ‘torture.’

The Obama administration’s CIA director, Leon Panetta, and Mr. Goss have both disputed Mrs. Pelosi’s account.

The memo that Rove rests the entirety of his case has been acknowledged to be less then accurate by the CIA. Goss is a known liar and neocon shill who Bush appointed to the CIA for a brief tenure. he was found to be so incompetent that even Bush could not let him remain at that vital national security post. In yet another laughable echo from the Right’s spin machine, Bush and Company lied the nation into a trillion dollar quiqmire, squandered victory in Afghanistan, authorized torture and murder, shredded various parts of the Constitution, but it is Democrats that should be held accountable. If Pelosi is lying why are we having a trial by drive-by edittorials rather then a few hundred words in the WSJ rehashing the he said she said battle. Here’s the Right’s chance to supposedly take down one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington – ironically a centrist that took impeaching Bush off the table in 2006 – yet they prefer to prattle on and on about the contents of a briefing in which there does not seem to be a definitive account. Nothing that Speaker Pelosi has said thus far has been proved beyond doubt to be false. One could consider this episode a payback moement for Pelosi’s overly centrist conventional beltway menatlity; if she had decided to go forth with impeachment proceednings in 2006 she would not have this silly blame shifting by Republicans hanging over her head. Rove’s sub-headline doesn’t even make since. One, the Right claims that toture is the new virtue. Two, it also implies, in nonsensical and unintended Republican tradition, that toture is wrong. Finally, it also clearly means that if having knowledge of torture and not doing enough to stop it is a crime that Republicans such as Richard Shelby and Pat Roberts are equally as guilty as any Democrat.

Republicans have already been caught playing the torture argument both ways. They claim torture saves lives and in the same breath swear that revealing the torture that the world already knows about will damage our national security. What mental cage shrouds Republican minds, considering the  history of Watergate, Iran-Contra, Reagan’s HUD scandal to Nixon and Kissinger’s treachery with the Vietcong. Even whether the pictures that Obama had said he would release of prisoner abuse and then did a 180 are ever officially released by the government is a silly argument, they will find there way onto the net eventually. Charles Duelfer of the Duelfer Report on WMD has just made his way onto the hit list of conservative pundits, Cheney’s Role Deepens

*Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection.

*The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible.

*Much of the information in the report of the 9/11 Commission was provided through more than 30 sessions of torture of detainees.

That would be the false information given to iterogators to get the torture to stop. Which is the problem with the ticking time bomb scenario. With minutes left the tortured suspect gives a false location, bomb goes off. Cheney and Bush knew that when they tortured out false confessions, false information that feed the line of propaganda they fed the American public.

An extensive analysis I conducted as a reporter for NBC News of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report and its monograph on terrorist travel showed that much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was based on the CIA’s interrogations of high-ranking al Qaeda operatives who had been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

[   ]..Human-rights advocates, including Karen Greenberg of New York University Law School’s Center for Law and Security and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, have said that, at the least, the 9/11 Commission should have been more suspect of the information derived under such pressure.

Commission executive director Philip Zelikow (later counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) admitted, “We were not aware, but we guessed, that things like that were going on. We were wary…we tried to find different sources to enhance our credibility.” (Zelikow testified before the Senate on Wednesday, May 13, that he had argued in a 2005 memo that some of the tactics used on suspected terrorists violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.)

In a study domne by World Public Opinion in 2004, after the 9-11 Commision Report, a substantial number of American stills believded that there was a connection between Iraq,9-11  and al-Qaeda and that Iraq did have WMD that posed an urgent threat to America. Where would they get bizarre notions like that. From false confessions used in reports or referred to in speeches by the Bush administartion and repeated ad neaseum by right-wing pundits. Pelosi is some how probably responsible for that too.

Obama’s Sister Soulja Moment?

In releasing the torture memos, Obama had rejected counterarguments from CIA Director Leon Panetta. But he seems to have listened to similar warnings from his military commanders who argued that flooding the Internet with a new batch of photos of Americans engaging in shocking practices would put U.S. soldiers in danger without a commensurate public benefit.

Is this a “Sister Soulja” moment on national security, like bill Clinton’s famous criticism of a controversial rap singer during the 1992 presidential campaign — which upset some liberal supporters but polished his credentials as a centrist? We’ll have to wait and see, but certainly military officers I spoke with this week were pleased — even as the ACLU was indignant.

David Ignatius get s paid to write this hogwash. He, Dick Cheney, necons writing at The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, Hot Air, Karl Rove, The Weekly Standard, The National Review have and will continue to state that torture and deaths of prisoners occured in Afghanistan and Iraq. The words apparently lack the magic power of the photos, so everyone that is “pleased” can do what, continue to delude themselves.

Ignatius is yet another example of the musty and mildewed beltway mentality. Obama does something more as an appeasement to the far Right and their delusions which makes it a “centrist” thing to do. If the Right cared so much about the troops they would not have supported polcies that have killed or wounded so many, up to and including abusing prisoners. Glenn Greenwald has a great example in the case of Binyam Mohamed,Obama administration threatens Britain to keep torture evidence concealed

Ever since he was released from Guantanamo in February after six years of due-process-less detention and brutal torture, Binyam Mohamed has been attempting to obtain justice for what was done to him.  But his torturers have been continuously protected, and Mohamed’s quest for a day in court repeatedly thwarted, by one individual:  Barack Obama.  Today, there is new and graphic evidence of just how far the Obama administration is going to prevent evidence of the Bush administration’s torture program from becoming public.

[   ]…(from Glenn’s update at the bottom of his column)Andrew Sullivan’s suggestion that concealment might be necessary to protect the Pakistani government — made in the course of justifably condemning the Obama administration’s actions as “depressing news” — makes little sense to me, since (a) it’s possible (actually, quite easy) to detail what was done to Mohamed without disclosing in which foreign government’s custody he was when it happened; (b) why would evidence of the Musharraf government’s torture of Mohamed harm the current Pakistani government?; and, most of all, (c) it’s already public knowledge that Mohamed was seized, detained and abused in Pakistan (see paragraphs 59-68 of Mohamed’s complaint against Jeppesen, entitled “Detention, Interrogation and Torture in Pakistan”).

Its all a very obvious and outlandish kind of public theatre in which everyone is pretending information that is already widely avialable to anyone that caes to look will some how further damage our nation’s reputation or endanger someone. The damage has been done and the genuine endangerment started on Bush’s watch, by Bush and his supporters. Obama can only make our nation stronger and lessen risks to our troops by sticking to his promise of more transparency.

Color Rain Drops on Branch wallpaper

Color Rain Drops on Branch wallpaper

Remember Republican blogger Erick Erickson of Redstate who recently was about to pop in cap in someone for taking away his right to use phosphate laden dishwater detergent. Its turns out he has a secret liberal environmentalist streak. He’s raving about the public transportation available to those attending the new tea smokers events at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta,

* $109.00 room rate at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta. It’s one of the nicest hotels in the city and that is an amazing rate. It is very near MARTA, the public transportation system, on a straight line from Atlanta’s airport.

MoveOn and American Progress are fine progressive organizations, but as much as it pains me to say it, Republicans are better at recruiting liberals then liberals. Being a safety net capitalist I am a little concerned that it will be Republicans that push the United States of America into socialism, RNC Plans To Formally Rebrand Dems As ‘Democrat Socialist Party’ (Seriously)

Apparently, the Republican Party doesn’t care that the American public loathes them or believes they are not a serious party concerned about fixing the major problems facing the nation.

Here’s the latest from Politico’s Roger Simon (one of the few serious journalists at that publication):

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

Another pause and think moment

Now if we can just get the Right to admit that the last Republican that remotely invoked the values of the party of Lincoln was Dwight Eisenhower and it has been the Right-Wing party ever since.

Sarah Palin is writing a book. Besides the cash, this is required because Republicans always say what they mean and mean what they say, but always feel the obligation to clarify the absurdity that has been caught on tape, GOD IS MY GHOSTWRITER?

“There’s been so much written about and spoken about in the mainstream media and in the anonymous blogosphere world, that this will be a wonderful, refreshing chance for me to get to tell my story, that a lot of people have asked about, unfiltered,” the Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate said during a brief telephone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

No one understood those interviews she did on CBS and ABC or the local press in Alaska, so the book is basically about not believing your lying eyes. Also noted that her publisher did not ask for a written sample of the substance of what said book might be. Merit, orphaned again by a conservative.

Democrats Refuse To Roll Over and Play Dead for Suspect CIA Report

Top Dems: CIA trying to shift torture blame to us

“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the agency] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” Levin said Tuesday. The former chairman of the senate intelligence committee was briefed on interrogation techniques multiple times between 2006 and 2007.

Feinstein said the timing of the documents’ release showed the CIA wanted to deflect blame, while Durbin said he finds it “interesting” that the document detailing briefings was released as “some of the groups that have been responsible for these interrogation techniques were taking the most criticism.”

[  ]…Tuesday, Intelligence Committee member Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said that the 10-page  CIA document released late last week, which lists 40 times members of Congress were briefed on CIA interrogation practices between 2002 and 2009, “appears to come from the executive branch itself… I think it’s unbelievable.”

Politico reported that the document was prepared after an April 20 request by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.).

The Right’s spin on this is too predictable – Democrats, by questioning the accuracy and timing of the reports are suggesting the CIA is out to get them. That might fly if you’re one of those rare animals in politics or business or whatever that is filled with utter joy at the prospect of taking blame for someone else’s wrong doing. Its more of the same, much of the media, along with some conservatives who seem to be on permanent mental recess like  Pete Hoekstra(R-MI), Dick Cheney, Redstate and Rush Limbaugh among others, are trying a little propaganda jujitsu. Never mind that no member of The House or Senate can order torture, develop a program of torture or order the President’s Offgice of Legal Council to draw up some legal quackery to provide cover for said historically illegal activities. No, pay no attention to that America, look over here at whether Nancy Pelosi knew someone’s lug nuts were loose and didn’t force the car off the road and force the driver to tighten them immediately. Once again Republicans are treating America like a nation of bubble brained morons, i.e. whats important is not who did the deed, but who had knowledge after the fact. Furthermore, all us Democrats are supposed to be cowering in fear that Democrats might be forced to testify under oath. My only question is, why isn’t C-Span broadcasting the investigations right now, with those that lie under oath being found in contempt of Congress. If Speaker Pelosi or Jay Rockefeller get caught in a lie, OMG, they might get voted out of office and live in nice houses enjoying their free time. There is no legal penalty for keeping a secret the CIA tells you. Republicans, the grand pooh-pahs of national security should know that, but we are talking about the same people that were and are still are happy they sent thousands of Americans to their deaths based on cooked intelligence. Another Dem casts doubt on CIA briefing memo

Second, the senator takes issue with the description of the briefing as providing details of IETs.

Senator Rockefeller has repeatedly stated he was not told critical information that would have cast significant doubt on the program’s legality and effectiveness. With more information coming to light in 2004, Senator Rockefeller became increasingly concerned about the program, and in early 2005 he launched a full-scale effort to investigate. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s review is ongoing and he believes it is critically important that there be a full accounting of the Bush Administration’s interrogation policies.

Another very basic problem in this cooked up debate is the inability of Republicans and some members of the media to read a calender, CIA Says It Briefed Congressional Leaders

A recently declassified Justice Department memo on the CIA program dated May 30, 2005, states the CIA used waterboarding to interrogate Mr. Zubaydah “at least 83 times during August 2002.”

Note the dates in which Zubaydah provided the last good intel, before he was tortured and before a few members of Congress got some kind of briefing,

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.

The CIA briefed or did not brief or only partially briefed or waved at Pelosi as they passed by her office after the fact of EITs being used.

Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman Brendan Daly said of the September 2002 briefing, “The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used.”

September stills comes after August in the reality based community. If the CIA said waterboarding until Pelosi’s ear drums shattered in September, after the torture had already been done, the Right seems to feel she was complicit because she didn’t chain herself in protest to the fence in front of the White House.

Democrats Should Call Republicans Bluff on Torture Investigations

One has to wonder exactly what Michigan Congresscritter Pete Hoekstra(R) thinks he is accomplishing by pushing the idea that Speaker Pelosi knew about waterboarding prisoners thus is some how implicated in said torture.

Let’s take a moment to revisit the circle of torture meme. Bush said “we” do not torture. Bush and Cheney admit to EITs(enhanced interrogation techniques) – a cute euphemism, just like the kind they used to put in the window of downtown shops to attract customers. Cheney, Limbaugh and every other Republican starts to claim, darn right we tortured – torture is good, wholesome, all American, the best thing since those little slices of cheese wrapped in plastic. Torture was so good, that we’d all be dead if they had not used it. Ol Pete, among others, apparently thinks if he can some how get a few Democrats in the loop, oops bad news, Democrats dare not have any investigations that might involve prosecutions in particular, because the awful truth will hurt a few Democrats. Pete’s cycle of lunacy does not work for the obvious reasons – whatever Democrats knew or when they knew it, Congress does not have the authority to order torture and did not do so. Those orders came from an executive branch described by former Bush administration Office of Legal Counsel, in particular John Yoo, that Bush had nearly unlimited powers to do what ever he wanted in the infamous ill defined and never ending war on terror

These two disowned claims lie at the heart of the Cheney/Addington/Yoo theory of presidential power– namely, that when the president acts as commander in chief Congress may not restrict in any way his military decisionmaking, including decisions about detention, interrogation, and surveillance. The President, because he is President, may do whatever he thinks is necessary, even in the domestic context, if he acts for military and national security reasons in his capacity as Commander in Chief. This theory of presidential power argues, in essence, that when the President acts in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, he may make his own rules and cannot be bound by Congressional laws to the contrary. This is a theory of presidential dictatorship.

These views are outrageous and inconsistent with basic principles of the Constitution as well as with two centuries of legal precedents. Yet they were the basic assumptions of key players in the Bush Administration in the days following 9/11.

The truth matters and if Speaker Pelosi is not telling the truth, contrary to the Right’s bizarre attempt to use Pelosi and other Democrats as a shield, the Democrats in question should have to pay a political price, but the principles involed remain the same, the Bush administration was hardly at the mercy of an iron fisted Congress,

Pelosi has since offered a relatively detailed and, to the view of many observers, compelling defense of her participation in the CIA briefings. To wit:

Of the forty CIA briefings to Congress reported recently in the press, I was only briefed once, on September 4, 2002, as I have previously stated. As I said in my statement of December 9, 2007: ‘I was briefed on interrogation techniques the Administration was considering using in the future. The Administration advised that legal counsel for both the CIA and the Department of Justice had concluded that the techniques were legal.’ I had no further briefings on the techniques.

My understanding of the briefing I received is consistent with the description that CIA General Counsel Scott Muller provided to Congresswoman Jane Harman in a letter dated February 28, 2003, which states: ‘As we informed both you and the leadership of the Intelligence Committees last September, a number of Executive Branch lawyers including lawyers from the Department of Justice participated in the determination that, in the appropriate circumstances, the use of these techniques is fully consistent with U.S. law.’ As reported in the press, the accompanying memo from CIA Director Panetta concedes that the descriptions provided by the CIA may not be accurate.

Reasonable people may differ on whether the speaker is being as forthcoming as need be — although former Senate Intelligence Committee chair Bob Graham has stepped forward to corroborate her statements –– and on the extent to which she is complicit with the former administration. I remain disappointed about Pelosi’s decision to block the necessary accountability moment in 2007, and I remain genuinely concerned that her caution with regard to impeachment was influenced by personal and political considerations rather than by the best interests of the republic.

TPM talked with former Senator Graham and he is sticking to his guns thus far,

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.

And remember the recently released CIA memo the CIA could not vouche for its accuracy. Graham has more credibility then your average pol, he was one of a hand full of Senators who questioned the Bush administration’s story on WMD and the need to rush into a military operation when Afghanistan was still or should have been the major priority. People will inevitably cite the lack of Congressional oversight. There has actually been several reports on EITs, the OLC and Bush’s manipulating intelligence. What Congress seemed to lack, especially in the first six years of Bush’s terms, is the will to exert its power to curtail Bush’s agenda. Even Bush acknowledged that Congress had the power of the purse. Republicans marched in lock step to every Bush wish.  Democrats signed every check and wrote sternly worded letters. As Democrats grumbled and were relatively powerless during those first six years, the Right claimed daily in obnoxious chorus that Democrats were soft on terror.Torture Protest Improper in ’03

Steve Elmendorf, who served as chief of staff to former Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), said that in 2003, coming so soon after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it would have been difficult politically for Pelosi to do more to protest interrogation techniques the Bush administration was using.

[  ]..Harman(Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was so alarmed by what she had heard, she drafted a short letter to the CIA’s general counsel to express “profound” concerns with the tactic – going so far as to ask if waterboarding had been personally “approved by the president.”

[  ]..Hoekstra has asked the CIA for documents on its congressional briefings, and he told POLITICO Monday that he has made a request for e-mails from agency staffers detailing their interactions with Pelosi and other House and Senate members. Steve Elmendorf, who served as chief of staff to former Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), said that coming so soon after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it would have been difficult politically for Pelosi to do more to protest interrogation techniques the Bush administration was using.

“You have to remember, in the 2002 period, the whole atmospherics, it was all about scaring people every day,” said Elmendorf. “People were legitimately concerned that we were going to be attacked again, and there was a constant drumbeat coming from the Bush administration of, ‘Bad things could happen, bad things could happen.’ Nobody wants it to happen on their watch.”

Pete might get his way using blackmail to get Democrats into backing off, but everyday he opens his pie hole he just gives America another reason to demand a full scale Congressional investigation, with everyone, including Pete, testifying under oath.

The Right having declared victory in the dreaded Spicy Mustard Affair has moved on to some deeply hypocritical faux outrage over Wanda Sykes,What’s Good for the Goose…

I find it truly bizarre that far right Republican freaks who smile, wink, and nod approvingly (or at least sympathetically) when media pundits, sportscasters, political figures, and former government officials launch vicious ad hominem attacks on anyone who deviates by a hair from their narrow, hateful view of the world are now getting their dander up about Cheney, Limbaugh, and Hannity being skewered…

Prospect has a good satire up about the the Right’s attacks on Sykes, but its one of those where you have to read the set up and the pay off at the end, thus excerpts would ruin it,WANDA SYKES’ OFFENSIVE ROUTINE.

The Real Story Behind Spicey MustardGate

Spicy MustardGate

We are so lucky to have the conservative clowns and elitist police on the case. Dijon or spicey MustardGate has been exposed. It was yet another chapter in the annals of liberalism elitism and Obama’s unquenchable fetish to have himself filmed while getting lunch, DijonGate: What have we learned?”

I’m going to have a basic cheddar cheese burger, medium well, with mustard. . . . You got a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that?”
— Barack Obama, May 5, 2009

“The reaction proved one thing I already knew: The cult of personality surrounding Obama is real. And many of the cultists are demented, dangerous or both.”
— William Jacobson, May 8, 2009 – of a conservative blog called Legal Insurrection.
Congratulations to Professor Jacobson. Traffic at his Legal Insurrection blog, which was about 37,000 visits in February, surged to more than 107,000 in just two days Thursday and Friday, because he dared to point out how dishonest news coverage has become.

[   ]..A burger at Ray’s Hell-Burger costs $6.95, so lunch at the Arlington restaurant isn’t exactly the value menu at Mickey D’s. If the White House believed they could show Obama as a Regular Guy by having him eat at a place where the burgers are seven bucks, maybe they need to work on their definition of populism.

The Right gets to decide everything about your life – everything from acceptable countertops to mustard to what constitutes acceptable sports to  how much a real populist would pay for lunch. The cult of personality of Obama? Geez read some history on the genuflecting Cult of Bush. Presidents usually live in a bubble, as do some of their supporters – see Cult of Bush link – so when one goes out on a burger run, just like many Americans do at lunch, its news. It shouldn’t be, but because of the precedent it set it got some attention. As to being a cynical photo-op cheered on by the “demented, dangerous or both” – that kind of salivating hyperbole is better reserved for sending unqualified political cronies, with lives at stake, to rebuild Iraq. I searched for Legal Insurrection’s or The Other McCain’s equal or greater outrage expressed on Bush having such contempt for American troops, but no surprise that post is not to be found. Photo-ops? Bush’s pretending to care New Orlean’s charade is a classic. The photographic history of the Bush/McCain man love photo-ops are available for those that have the stomach. There are plenty of others, but a personal favorite was Bush praising miners’ rescue while cutting the budget for the department that saved them. Yet More Dijon

So, apparently, the point of obsessively focusing on Obama’s mustard choice wasn’t that he wanted dijon mustard.  It’s that he wanted dijon mustard and it wasn’t the lead story on every news channel in existence, which is a totally different thing.  Conservatives are totally accepting of his mustard choice, they’re just not accepting of the fact that his mustard choice wasn’t used to destroy and discredit every fiber of his being. It’s like “hate the sin, love the sinner”, except with more condiments and less sense.

Just remembered this bit of genuine cultish drool from Powerline,

It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile. – John Hinderaker, 28 July 2005

The pants that John was wearing that day, the one’s with the knees worn out, if he’ll part with them, might hang in the Bush library some day.

Thank You Very Much Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh

Thanks Dick and Rush

Some of the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include: failure to respect norms with respect to lawful behaviors, reckless disregard for the well being of others and a lack of remorse regarding behavior that has been indifferent to hurting others or rationalizing being partner to that harm. Cheney Has “No Regrets” Over Interrogation Policies, War On Terror

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said on Sunday, that he had no regrets about the course of actions he and the Bush administration pursued when it came to interrogating suspected terrorists or, more broadly, waging the war on terror.

“No regrets,” Cheney declared during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. I am convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.”

What a convient memory. Thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands maimed or wounded, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis – the ones Dick and George wanted to save from Saddam’s tyranny, supposedly. Dick and his small band of supporters ( a 20% approval rating in 2008) are like an arsonists who claims that burning down your house didn’t matter, what mattered is he killed a few rats. Cheney is the poster boy for the average rightwinger’s inability to understand the basics of costs benefit analysis. Just from a public relations point of view the only people that are happy to have an arsonist defend their counter productive and immoral agenda are fellow arsonists. In that context consider Cheney thinks that Rush Limbaugh is a better representative of the Republican party then Colin Powell. While Powell has made some attempts at redeeming his reputation, which is probably better then Limbaughs, Cheney inadvertently tells us how far far  Right conservatism has become and would like it to stay. Powell was neck deep in Iran-Contra, an episode in right-wing history that Cheney claims taught him a valauable lesson. Cheney Learned Iran-Contra Lessons

In a new article by Stephen “W.W. Beauchamp” Hayes, former Vice President Cheney gripes extensively about the Obama administration. It’s exactly what you’d expect.

But what you might not expect is that Cheney (seemingly inadvertently) confirms that there was a massive cover-up of the Iran-Contra scandal by the Reagan administration:

“I went through the Iran-Contra hearings and watched the way administration officials ran for cover and left the little guys out to dry. And I was bound and determined that wasn’t going to happen this time.”

Considering that two national security advisers (Robert McFarlane and John Poindexter) and the Secretary of Defense (Caspar Weinberger) were some of the “little guys” who were prosecuted for Iran-Contra, it’s obvious who Cheney is talking about as hanging them out to dry: President Reagan and Vice President Bush.

Here’s how journalist Robert Parry describes the conclusions of Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, as described in his memoir, Firewall: According to Firewall, the cover-up conspiracy took formal shape at a meeting of Reagan and his top advisers in the Situation Room at the White House on Nov. 24, 1986.

The meeting’s principal point of concern was how to handle the troublesome fact that Reagan had approved illegal arms sales to Iran in fall 1985, before any covert-action finding had been signed. The act was a clear felony — a violation of the Arms Export Control Act — and possibly an impeachable offense.

Though virtually everyone at the meeting knew that Reagan had approved those shipments through Israel, Attorney General Edwin Meese announced what would become the cover story.

According to Walsh’s narrative, Meese “told the group that although [NSC adviser Robert] McFarlane had informed [Secretary of State George] Shultz of the planned shipment, McFarlane had not informed the president. …

“[White House chief of staff Don] Regan, who had heard McFarlane inform the president and who had heard the president admit to Shultz that he knew of the shipment of Hawk [anti-aircraft] missiles, said nothing. Shultz and [Defense Secretary Caspar] Weinberger, who had protested the shipment before it took place, said nothing.

“[Vice President George] Bush, who had been told of the shipment in advance by McFarlane, said nothing. Casey, who [had] requested that the president sign the retroactive finding to authorize the CIA-facilitated delivery, said nothing.

“[NSC adviser John] Poindexter, who had torn up the finding, said nothing. Meese asked whether anyone knew anything else that hadn’t been revealed. No one spoke.”

When Shultz returned to the State Department, he dictated a note to his aide, Charles Hill, who wrote down that Reagan’s men were “rearranging the record.” They were trying to protect the President through a “carefully thought out strategy” that would “blame it on Bud” McFarlane.

It really is considerate of Cheney to tell the truth about this.

In the investigations that have taken place into Bush administration policy regarding abusive treatment of detainees,  only a few rank and file soldiers have taken any heat. Its pretty obvious that for Cheney powerful elitist and “little guy” are synonymous.

Cheney May Be Willing To Testify Under Oath About Torture Program. Which is about as sincere as Sean Hannity’s promise to be tortured to prove his point. Cheney and Limbaugh, two people generally disliked and strongly distrusted are the spokes people for the Republican party. Ann Coulter and Micheal Savage aside, there are no better Republicans in America at turning the public off of conservatism. They manage expose conservatism’s basic contempt for American values while simultaneously being in denial about their abject failure as a movement and the costly, frequently deadly consequences of their polices.

Lastly a big thinks to the big bad librul broadcast and print media for giving Cheney a never ending forum.

Pentagon Rejects Its Own Report on Military Analysts, Media Hack Fantasizes About Murdering Democrats

Moss and Stream wallpaper

Pentagon Rejects Its Own Pundit Program Whitewash

From 2002 to 2008, the Defense Department secretly cultivated more than 70 retired military officers who frequently serve as media commentators. Initially, the goal was to use them as “message force multipliers,” to bolster the Bush administration’s Iraq War sell job. That went so well that the covert program to shape U.S. public opinion — an illegal effort, by any reasonable reading of the law — was expanded to spin everything from then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s job performance to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan to the Guantanamo Bay detention center to warrantless wiretapping.

So the Defense Department Inspector General’s was asked to investigate the league of propogandists released by the Bush administration that the librul media was happy to use as independent analysts. The investigation was such an embarassing whitewash they decide not to release it,

“Shortly after publishing the report … we became aware of inaccuracies in the data,” states the “withdrawal memo” (pdf) from the Inspector General’s office. The office’s internal review of the report — which it has “refused to release,” according to the Times — “concluded that the report did not meet accepted quality standards.” The report relied on “insufficient or inconclusive” evidence, the memo admits. In addition, “former senior [Defense Department] officials who devised and managed” the Pentagon pundit program — including Victoria Clarke and Lawrence DiRita — “refused our requests for an interview.”

That’s OK because the socialists, facists, spicy mustard using anti-Americans( whatever conservatives are calling them this week) the  at the White House or the wild eyed lefty Congress will investigate the Soviet-style misinformation campaign to take America to war. Not so far.

CBS announcer: Any U.S. soldier would shoot Pelosi, strangle Reid. Vote Vets responds,CBS Sports Analyst Buys into “Crazy Vets” Meme, Insults our Professionalism and Mental Capacity.

What Mr. Feherty might not understand is that there are few Americans who have been as loyal to Veterans and Soldiers as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  If I found myself in that proverbial elevator, the first thing I would do is thank them both profusely. Why? Because when I was down range fighting a war in Afghanistan, Reid and Pelosi, with other legislative colleagues were shepherding through their respective houses of Congress the 21st Century G.I. Bill, which is now paying for my college education.

Here is another angle. Last month, around the same time Feherty made his comments about American Soldiers, the right-wing attack machine was busy attacking the Obama Administration and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano over a report requested by the Bush Administration which indicated that radical right-wing groups would attempt to recruit Iraq war Veterans.

First, troops overseas donated to presdient Obama 6:1 over McCain( the troops even donated more to staunchley anti-war candidate Ron Paul over McCain ). Which by logical extension means most of the rank and file military approve more of Obama and Democrats then the third term of Bush which McCain represented.

Many Democrats like Vice-president Biden and General Wesley Clark have family serving in Iraq.

I do, but don’t understand the demands following these eruptions of rightwing derangment, for a public apology. Coming from nuts like Feherty, it certainly would not be sincere. His repusive and obvious projections are an accurate reflection of Feherty’s bloody fantasies – judging by some of the commenters at The Hill story, fantasies shared by other Republicans. Most Republicans probably find Feherty’s sick projections revolting, but those would be the moderate Republicans that are no longer welcome in the Republican party.

Many vets have already heard something other then the version of Iraq spun by the 24/7 rightwing noise machine. Bush did lie and as a result fathers, mothers, sons and daughters died for those lies –Senate Report: Harsh Interrogation Tactics Used To Find Iraq-al Qaida Link

In my judgment, the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration’s interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse – such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan – to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as that made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a “few bad apples,” were simply false.

[  ]..A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

If Democrats Are As Dirty as Bush-Cheney Why Are Republicans Making Shrill Blackmail Threats

Pelosi was briefed on waterboarding in 2002, despite saying she wasn’t: report

The report purportedly focuses on a meeting on Sept. 4, 2002, between US intelligence officials and Pelosi, then Minority Leader, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss (who later became CIA director) and two aides. Pelosi was, at the time, the ranking member on the intelligence committee.

“The meeting is described as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed,” — with EIT referring to “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Last month, Pelosi denied having been told of the techniques or waterboarding.

“In that or any other briefing,” she said, “we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used,” Pelosi said at a news conference in April. “What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel . . . opinions that they could be used, but not that they would.”

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said Pelosi didn’t remember the meeting as it was described in the report.

“The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used,” Daly told ABC. He said “the report backs up Pelosi’s contention that she was briefed only once on “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

There is a problem, a  lack of analyisis and a sin of omssion so to speak with ABC’s original report. As The Plumline points out in a screen capture from the unclassified CIA briefings it does not say that Speaker Pelosi was briefed on waterboarding ,

member briefings EITs – those interested can get the original pdf at the Plum link. What it shows is that as Pelosi has previously described she was told that EITs ( Enhanced Interrogation Techniques – the word torture is never used in the briefing memo) were being discussed, but not being used and no one remembers, including her staff that water boarding was being used. Democrats.com also notes the dates,

Abu Zubaydah was the first prisoner waterboarded by the CIA. He was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002. Pelosi received her first briefing on “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (EIT) on September 4, 2002. But the CIA didn’t tell her they had just waterboarded Abu Zubaydah!

Here’s what Pelosi said on April 23:

“We were not, I repeat, we were not told that waterboarding or any of these other interrogation methods were used. What they did tell us was they had some legislative counsel opinions. And if and when they would be used, they would brief Congress at that time.”

Emptywheel notes that the CIA is not even vouching for the accuracy of this very down and dirty version of events,

First, there’s this paragraph the CIA included in the letter they sent with the briefing list to Crazy Pete (which ABC didn’t think important enough to include when they first posted this story):

This letter presents the most thorough information we have on dates, locations, and names of all Members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA on enhanced interrogation techniques. This information, however, is drawn from the past files of the CIA and represents MFRs completed at the time and notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals. In the end, you and the Committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened. We can make the MFRs available at CIA for staff review. [my emphasis]

The Right and a few liberals are ready to send Pelosi off to Seberia based on information the CIA admits might not be accurate. Petty the poor slob that has these people on their jury. Yes it is possible that Speaker pelosi is a an over flowing fountain of dark secrets, its just that thus far the proof that she has lied is lacking.

Not everything that politicians do is a paragon of logic, but the Speaker strikes me as too smart to hold to lying about what she knew or did not know about the specifics of the ‘EITs”, but according to an interview she did with Rachel Maddow she is for both a full scale congressional inquiry and prosecutions ( though with immunity on the table), Pelosi criticizes Truth Commission as inadequate, advocates criminal prosecutions

MADDOW:  Then in terms of your report, if the inspector general report that comes out this summer suggests that there has been criminal activity at the official level on issues like torture, or wireless wiretapping, or rendition, or any of these other issues…

PELOSI: No one is above the law. I think I have said that.

MADDOW: … you support a call for a criminal investigation, potential investigation.

PELOSI: Absolutely.

If this was all one big poker game and Pelosi is lying and bluffing, she deserves credit for nerves of steel. The pro torture/anti rule of law bloggers, also known as Republicans swear they’ve got something,

From Flopping Aces, Pelosi LIED About Interrogation Briefings!

Will she be held the the same standard of accountability the left demands of Republicans?

From Glenn Reynolds or at least a post from another blogger that he drools over, PELOSI LIED, THE  ATERBOARDING ISSUE DIED: CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of ‘Enhanced Interrogations’.

Commonsense Corner

Judging from this sample which pretty much sums up the gothca attitude of the Republican punditry, one would assume they would be salivating at the opportunity to have all kinds of investigations. Bring down Pelosi and maybe Rockefeller, plus really dominate the news cycle with all the potential spin. Who knows maybe even break out as a rallying cry for the mid-terms with a twofer – Pelosi and Dems are hypocrites and wedge in some of the usual national security chicken-little show and dance. No, Republicans are threatening to reopen investigations into Clinton era policies from the 90s if there are any large scale Congressional or DOJ investigations into Bush/Cheney law breaking,

Cautioning Holder that any potential investigation into the Bush administration’s torture program could result in Democrats being roped in, “Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Richard Shelby of Alabama pressed Holder on the CIA’s ‘rendition’ program that moved terrorism suspects from one country to another,” reported Domenico Montanaro with MSNBC.

“Didn’t that happen during the Clinton administration?

“Yes, Holder said.

“‘How many did you approve?’ they asked.

“Holder said he’d check the record.”

Despite frequent condemnation of the practice around the world, rendition — the secret capture, transportation and detention of suspected terrorists to foreign prisons in countries that cooperate with the U.S. — remains in the CIA’s playbook, thanks to a Jan. 22 executive order issued by President Obama.

Under President George W. Bush, renditions became “extraordinary renditions,” in which suspects were handed over to nations where torture was not illegal. Rendition under Presidents Clinton and Obama has not been linked to torture.


Why make such ridiculous threats to stop investigations when the Right thinks that Democrats would be snarled up in those investigations. Could be, to a marginally rational person they know there are degress of culpability and legal responsibility and the vast majority of that rests with Bush, Cheeney and the OLC torturteers. At Largely points out the obvious. If Republicans want to bring back investigations into past behavior, bring it on,

Sorry? Are Alexander/Shelby saying that if you investigate our (Republican’s) current crimes, then we will investigate alleged crimes from nearly a decade ago when you (Democrats’) had the presidency? Yes, that is exactly what they are saying. Now I have a few questions for Lamar Alexander and for Richard Shelby, who should both be marched out of government and escorted back to whomever is putting pressure on them:
1. If Clinton committed crimes, why did the Republicans not go after him then (aside from the oral sex issue), when he was in office?

2. Are you saying, Mr. Alexander/Mr. Shelby, that the rule of law means that you won’t investigate Democrats as long as they don’t investigate Republicans?

3. What is your oath of office Mr. Alexander/Mr. Shelby? Do you recall?