Torture Report

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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:35 am

CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director’s Role in Torture

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s choice for the CIA’s number two position, was more deeply involved in the torture of Abu Zubaydah than has been publicly understood, according to newly available records and accounts by participants.

by Raymond Bonner, special to ProPublicaFeb. 22, 2017, 6 p.m. EST

Government employees gather around a seal inside the CIA in McLean, Virginia. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
Update, March 13, 2018: President Donald Trump has reportedly picked CIA deputy director Gina Haspel as the agency’s new chief. We published the story below on Feb. 22, 2017.

In August of 2002, interrogators at a secret CIA-run prison in Thailand set out to break a Palestinian man they believed was one of al-Qaida’s top leaders.

As the CIA’s video cameras rolled, security guards shackled Abu Zubaydah to a gurney and interrogators poured water over his mouth and nose until he began to suffocate. They slammed him against a wall, confined him for hours in a coffin-like box, and deprived him of sleep.

The 31-year-old Zubaydah begged for mercy, saying that he knew nothing about the terror group’s future plans. The CIA official in charge, known in agency lingo as the “chief of base,” mocked his complaints, accusing Zubaydah of faking symptoms of psychological breakdown. The torture continued.

When questions began to swirl about the Bush administration’s use of the “black sites,” and program of “enhanced interrogation,” the chief of base began pushing to have the tapes destroyed. She accomplished her mission years later when she rose to a senior position at CIA headquarters and drafted an order to destroy the evidence, which was still locked in a CIA safe at the American embassy in Thailand. Her boss, the head of the agency’s counterterrorism center, signed the order to feed the 92 tapes into a giant shredder.

By then, it was clear that CIA analysts were wrong when they had identified Zubaydah as the number three or four in al-Qaida after Osama bin Laden. The waterboarding failed to elicit valuable intelligence not because he was holding back, but because he was not a member of al-Qaida, and had no knowledge of any plots against the United States.

The chief of base’s role in this tale of pointless brutality and evidence destruction was a footnote to history — until earlier this month, when President Trump named her deputy director of the CIA.

The choice of Gina Haspel for the second-highest position in the agency has been praised by colleagues but sharply criticized by two senators who have seen the still-classified records of her time in Thailand.

“Her background makes her unsuitable for the position,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., wrote in a letter to Trump. “We are sending a classified letter explaining our position and urge that the information be immediately declassified.”

That’s not likely to happen. ProPublica has combed through recently declassified documents, including CIA cables and Zubaydah’s own account of what he endured, and books by officials involved in the CIA’s interrogation program to assemble the fullest public account of Haspel’s role in the questioning of Zubaydah. The material we reviewed shows she played a far more direct role than has been understood.

Asked to respond to the specific allegations about Haspel, a CIA spokesperson said only that, “Nearly every piece of the reporting that you are seeking comment on is incorrect in whole or in part.” We reminded the spokesperson that many of the specifics came from books written by former CIA officials and cleared before publication by the agency. He declined to say which aspects of the reporting, or those books, were incorrect but did provide a long list of testimonials to Haspel’s skills from present and former intelligence officials.

Critics of Haspel’s appointment argue that her past is particularly relevant in light of Trump’s shifting statements on the value of torturing terror suspects. During the campaign, former director of Central Intelligence Michael Hayden said in response to Trump’s endorsement of torture that “if any future president wants (the) CIA to waterboard anybody, he’d better bring his own bucket.” After he won the election, Trump said he was persuaded by his secretary of defense, James Mattis, that torture is not effective. The Trump administration recently drafted and then withdrew a draft executive order asking American intelligence agencies to consider resuming “enhanced interrogation” of terror suspects.

Much of the material we reviewed for this story referred to Haspel only by her title, chief of base, or “COB.” Three former government officials, however, said the person described by that title in books and declassified documents was Haspel. As chief of base, these officials said, Haspel signed many of the cables sent from Thailand to CIA headquarters recounting Zubaydah’s questioning. The declassified versions of those documents redact the name of the official who sent them.

One declassified cable, among scores obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the architects of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques, says that chief of base and another senior counterterrorism official on scene had the sole authority power to halt the questioning.

She never did so, records show, watching as Zubaydah vomited, passed out and urinated on himself while shackled. During one waterboarding session, Zubaydah lost consciousness and bubbles began gurgling from his mouth. Medical personnel on the scene had to revive him. Haspel allowed the most brutal interrogations by the CIA to continue for nearly three weeks even though, as the cables sent from Thailand to the agency’s headquarters repeatedly stated, “subject has not provided any new threat information or elaborated on any old threat information.”

At one point, Haspel spoke directly with Zubaydah, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown. In a scene described in a book written by one of the interrogators, the chief of base came to his cell and “congratulated him on the fine quality of his acting.” According to the book, the chief of base, who was identified only by title, said: “Good job! I like the way you’re drooling; it adds realism. I’m almost buying it. You wouldn’t think a grown man would do that.”

Haspel was sent by the chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism section, Jose Rodriquez, the “handpicked warden of the first secret prison the CIA created to handle al-Qaida detainees,” according to a little-noticed recent article in Reader Supported News by John Kiriakou, a former CIA counterterrorism officer. In his memoir, “Hard Measures,” Rodriquez refers to a “female chief of base” in Thailand but does not name her.

Kirakou provided more details about her central role. “It was Haspel who oversaw the staff,” at the Thai prison, including James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists who “designed the torture techniques and who actually carried out torture on the prisoners,” he wrote.

Kiriakou pleaded guilty in 2012 to releasing classified information about waterboarding and the torture of detainees, and served 23 months in prison.

The CIA officials in Thailand understood that the methods they were using could kill Zubaydah and said that should that happen, they would cremate his body. If he survived questioning, Haspel sought assurances that “the subject will remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life.”

So far, that promise has been kept. Zubaydah is currently incarcerated at Guantanamo. His lawyers filed a court action in 2008 seeking his release, but the federal judges overseeing the case have failed to issue any substantive rulings.

Zubaydah was seized in a raid in Pakistan in late March 2002, during which he suffered life-threatening bullet wounds in his leg and groin. The CIA had long been hunting for Zubaydah, who had worked as what one former government official described as “administrator” at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. The camp was started by the CIA during the Soviet occupation, was not under the control of al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden, the official said, but Zubaydah had on occasion supplied false passports and money to al-Qaida operatives.

American doctors saved Zubaydah’s life, and after he was stable enough he was drugged, gagged, trussed and blindfolded, and put on a CIA charter flight. In order to avoid being traced, the plane flew around the world, stopping in several places, including Morocco and Brazil, before landing in Thailand.

While still hospitalized, Zubaydah was interrogated by the FBI, led by Ali Soufan, an Arabic speaker. According to Soufan, Zubaydah, who was generally cooperative, provided the FBI interrogators with valuable intelligence on the overall structure of al-Qaida.

His information also confirmed what the CIA already believed, that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. A talkative sort who expressed a willingness to cooperate, Zubaydah gave the FBI information that led to the arrest of Jose Padilla for plotting to detonate bombs in the United States. Zubaydah, who was born in Palestine, said that while he believed in jihad, the 9/11 attacks were not justified because they killed innocent civilians.

CIA officials were convinced that he knew about plots in America, and with the horror of 9/11 still fresh, the agency was determined to prevent another attack. A month after Zubaydah was captured, Haspel drafted a cable titled “Turning Up the Heat in AZ Interrogations.”

Soon after, he was put into isolation for 45 days, kept awake with loud music and doused with cold water. During this time, the ALEC team at CIA headquarters, which was assigned to find Osama bin Laden, sent questions to Thailand for the team to ask Zubaydah; they went unasked, and unanswered, because he was in isolation.

The FBI and CIA clashed over whether or not Zubaydah was fully cooperating on the subject of possible future attacks. The agency’s view prevailed, and counterterrorism officials sought permission for harsher measures.

In late July, the CIA team conducted a “dress rehearsal … which choreographed moving Abu Zubaydah (Subject) in and out of the large and small confinement boxes, as well as use of the water board,” Haspel notified Washington.

A few days later, she wrote, “Team is ready to move to the next phase of interrogations immediately upon receipt of approvals/authorization from ALEC/Headquarters. It is our understanding that DOJ/Attorney General approvals for all portions of the next phase, including the water board, have been secured, but that final approval is in the hands of the policy makers.”

By this time, the source on whom the CIA had based its assessment that Zubaydah was number three or four in the al-Qaida organization had recanted his testimony, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture released in 2014. The agency would ultimately conclude that Zubaydah was not even a member of al-Qaida.

“So it begins,” a medical officer on Haspel’s team wrote on the morning of Aug. 4, 2002.

Later that year, when journalists began asking the CIA and the White House about a “black site,” in Thailand, the CIA rushed to close it. Zubaydah was again drugged, trussed, blindfolded, and put on another secret CIA flight to another black site, this time in Poland.

Haspel moved to cover up the agency’s operations at the Thai base. The chief of base told the security officer “to burn everything that he could in preparation for sanitizing the black site,” Mitchell wrote in his book, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America,” which was published late last year.

According to Mitchell’s account, the security officer asked the chief of base whether he should include the tapes; he was told to hold off until “she” could check with Washington.

She was told to retain them. A few years later when she was back in Washington and chief of staff to the director of operations for counterterrorism, Jose Rodriquez, the man who had sent her to Thailand, she continued to lobby for destruction of the tapes.

“My chief of staff drafted a cable approving the action we had been trying to accomplish for so long,” Rodriquez writes in his memoir. “The cable left nothing to chance. It even told them how to get rid of the tapes. They were to use an industrial-strength shredder to do the deed.”

Without approval from the White House or Justice Department, Rodriquez gave the order.

In a twist of fate, destroying the tapes drew more outside scrutiny of the program. Disclosure of the shredding prompted the Senate Intelligence Committee to begin its long-running examination of the torture program. The result was a 7,000-page report that drew on thousands of highly classified cables relating to the Bush administration’s rendition and detention program and concluded torture was not effective.
https://www.propublica.org/article/cia- ... in-torture



New CIA pick Gina Haspel ran Thailand prison where suspects were waterboarded

CIA’s new deputy director, Gina Haspel, is linked to waterboarding at secret prison

The new deputy director of the CIA is a career spymaster who once ran a CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded — the form of torture that US President Donald Trump has supported.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that he has selected Gina Haspel to be the first female career CIA officer to be named deputy director. She has extensive overseas experience, including several stints as chief of station at outposts abroad. In Washington, she has held several top senior leadership positions, including deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.

She also had a role in the CIA’s former covert programme where suspected terrorists were subjected to harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning. More than a decade after it was last used, the CIA is still haunted by the legacy of a tactic that the US government itself regarded as torture before the Bush administration authorised its use against terrorist suspects.

It’s unclear if Pompeo’s pick signals an attempt to restart the harsh interrogation and detention programme. Last week, news organisations obtained a copy of a draft executive order that would order up recommendations on whether the US should reopen CIA detention facilities outside the United States. It also orders a review of interrogation methods used on terror suspects and calls for suggested modifications that would not violate the US legal ban on torture.Mike Pompeo testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency on January 12. Photo: TNS

Haspel briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to current and former US intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. She also helped carry out an order that the CIA destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

Trump, who has pushed for tougher interrogation techniques, said he would consult with Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis before authorising any new policy. But he said he had asked top intelligence officials: “Does torture work? And the answer was ‘Yes, absolutely.’”

Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office, said he was “gravely concerned” about Pompeo’s decision to choose Haspel.

“Pompeo must explain to the American people how his promotion of someone allegedly involved in running a torture site squares with his own sworn promises to Congress that he will reject all forms of torture and abuse.”

Asked during his confirmation hearing whether he would restart the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques that fall outside what is lawful in the Army Field Manual, Pompeo said: “Absolutely not. Moreover, I can’t imagine that I would be asked that” by the president.

But Pompeo also said he’d consult with CIA and other government experts on whether current restrictions on interrogation were an “impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country or whether any rewrite of the Army Field Manual is needed.

In the CIA’s announcement, Haspel’s career was lauded by veteran intelligence officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who recently retired.

“It speaks well of him for picking a seasoned veteran of the agency who is widely and deeply respected by the workforce as well as those outside the agency,” Clapper said in a statement. “She has also been a strong proponent for integration, not only within CIA, but across the intelligence community.”
http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-s ... pel-linked




Who Are Jim Mitchell And Bruce Jessen?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=38612&p=631944&hilit=haspel#p631944
JackRiddler » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:23 am wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/22/cia-torture-gina-haspel-court-deposition-trump


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... tion-trump

DoJ moves to prevent CIA official from detailing role in Bush-era torture

Court filing from Trump’s justice department says government ‘anticipates asserting state secrets privilege’ to prevent CIA deputy director Gina Haspel from being deposed

Donald Trump’s justice department has indicated it will seek to prevent the new deputy CIA director from telling a court about her role in Bush-era torture.

In a Wednesday filing in a federal court in Washington state, a team of US attorneys and justice department officials said the government “anticipates asserting the state secrets privilege” to prevent Gina Haspel from being deposed by two former CIA contractor psychologists.

The psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, are battling a lawsuit by representatives for four men who seek to hold them liable for torture they experienced in secret CIA prisons. Mitchell and Jessen designed for the CIA the so-called “enhanced interrogation” program that three of the men endured and which killed one of them.

As part of their defense, Mitchell and Jessen are seeking depositions from several former CIA officials, in order to claim that their actions ought to be immunized because they were working in service of the US government.

Haspel, a career CIA officer whom Trump selected as deputy director on 2 February, is among them. Haspel has been linked to torture at a CIA black site in Thailand where Mitchell and Jessen’s first torture test case, a man known as Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times.

Years later, Haspel implemented an order by her then boss, Jose Rodriguez, to destroy videotapes of torture at the black site, an act confirmed recently by the former acting CIA director Michael Morell, who cleared Haspel of “any wrongdoing” in the tapes destruction.

In a 14 February filing, Mitchell and Jessen’s attorney, Brian Paszamant, said Haspel was “centrally involved” in the events leading to the torture of the men suing the contractors.

But on Wednesday, the justice department objected to Haspel’s deposition, as well as one from a serving CIA officer with experience in the Renditions Group, a person identified only as John Doe.

The justice department’s grounds for asserting the state-secrets privilege, long the target of criticism by human rights lawyers as a legal gambit for covering up wrongdoing under the veil of national security, is that the government “has never officially acknowledged whether either witness had any role in the former detention and interrogation program. To confirm or deny that fact would itself disclose classified information”.

The government asked the court to permit it to formally submit on 8 March its state-secrets argument preventing them and another CIA witness, James Cotsana, from being deposed.

It is believed to be the first assertion of the state secrets privilege under the Trump administration.

Thus far, however, the justice department is not seeking to prevent Haspel’s ex-boss Rodriguez or the former CIA top attorney John Rizzo from giving depositions in the case. Both Rodriguez and Rizzo have publicly discussed their roles in the torture program through published memoirs that went through CIA censorship screening.



The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40094&p=634547&hilit=haspel#p634547
. an architect of the torture and extraordinary rendition programme as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency? CIA operative Gina Haspel’s deviousness in ‘the company’ came early. As a top coordinator at a secret CIA prison in Thailand, the site of the torture of Abu Zubaydah, ...
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Re: Torture Report

Postby Grizzly » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:25 am

If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:19 pm

Fatima Boudchar Was Bound, Gagged And Photographed Naked. John McCain Wants To Know If Gina Haspel's Okay With That.

In a letter to Gina Haspel, Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, McCain describes a Libyan woman whose abuse took place in 2004 "as several American intelligence officers watched." He asked, "do you believe actions like these were justified?"

Originally posted on March 23, 2018, at 1:52 p.m.
Updated on March 23, 2018, at 3:04 p.m.
Thomas Frank

Sen. John McCain is linking President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director to brutal interrogations by the agency that he says “stained our national honor and threatened our historical reputation.”

McCain made the association in a two-page letter to Gina Haspel asking 12 questions about her role in the CIA’s interrogations of detainees who were held overseas in the early 2000s and in the destruction of videotapes showing those interrogations. Haspel was appointed the agency’s deputy director in February 2017; Trump said he intended to nominate her to the CIA’s top job last week.

McCain’s questions are mostly general and open-ended, except for a query about a pregnant Libyan woman who was detained with her husband and “was bound, gagged, and photographed naked as several American intelligence officers watched. Do you believe actions like these were justified, and do you believe they produced actionable intelligence?”

The incident involved Fatima Boudchar and her husband, a well-known Libyan dissident, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, who were detained in Bangkok in 2004 in a joint operation between the CIA and the British intelligence agency MI6, and rendered to Libya, according to Reprieve, a British human rights group. The couple was detained in Libya for six years. The case gave rise to a criminal investigation in Great Britain, and the couple is engaged in an ongoing legal effort to have a British intelligence officer charged with kidnapping.

It was not clear whether Haspel was involved in the case. McCain's office did not respond immediately to a request for clarification. The CIA's black site in Thailand was closed in December 2002.

McCain has not taken a position publicly on Haspel’s nomination, but his letter ties the 33-year CIA veteran to what he considers grotesque prisoner abuse. With the Senate split 51-49 between Republicans and those who caucus with the Democrats, a McCain vote against Haspel could doom her nomination. Republican Rand Paul has said he will vote against Haspel.

“Over the course of your career with the intelligence community, you have served in positions of responsibility that have intersected with the CIA’s program of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ ” McCain wrote. “These techniques included the practice of waterboarding, forced nudity and humiliation, facial and abdominal slapping, dietary manipulation, stress positions, cramped confinement, striking, and more than 48 hours of sleep deprivation.”

McCain wrote that the techniques “not only failed to deliver actionable intelligence, but actually provided false and misleading information. Most importantly, the use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation.”

Some intelligence officials believe that the enhanced interrogation provided valuable intelligence.

McCain holds unique stature in the Senate as a former prisoner of war who was held captive in Vietnam for five and a half years after his fighter jet was shot down over Hanoi. The Arizona Republican is chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an ex officio member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will hold hearings on Haspel’s nomination.

As Congress’s leading voice against torture, McCain nearly prevented a former Justice Department lawyer from joining the Trump administration in November. McCain gave an impassioned speech opposing Steven Bradbury, who in the late 2000s wrote legal memos justifying the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

“I will not support any nominee who justified the use of torture by Americans,” McCain said on the Senate floor. He also mentioned the detention of Boudchar and her husband in his speech. The Senate approved Bradbury on a 50–47 vote to become the Transportation Department’s general counsel.

McCain released his letter to Haspel on Friday, one day after the CIA provided a few details about her background, which had been almost entirely unknown because she spent so many years in the agency’s clandestine service. Among the details disclosed: Haspel, 61, is from Kentucky, unmarried, and the oldest of five children whose Air Force father moved the family to military bases around the world.

The new information, however, did not provide details of her CIA postings, which are known to have included a stint in Thailand at the first clandestine overseas detention center that the CIA opened after the 9/11 attacks to interrogate suspected terrorists. Her work there is largely unknown and classified, as is the bulk of her career.

McCain is asking whether Haspel ever imposed or oversaw enhanced interrogation, what her personal views were “at the time” of the techniques, and whether she thinks enhanced interrogation was effective. McCain also wants to know her role in destroying 92 tapes in 2005 that showed detainee interrogations in Thailand. Haspel’s then-boss, Jose Rodriguez Jr., has taken responsibility for destroying the tapes, but acknowledged in his 2012 book some assistance from Haspel, his chief of staff at the time.
https://www.buzzfeed.com/thomasfrank/fa ... ffvjNMNqJD
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:02 pm

Mark Udall: Senate must reject Haspel nomination to head CIA

The only way the American people can trust that our intelligence agencies are acting in-line with our values and laws is when we have strong congressional oversight and an executive branch that is dedicated to understanding past missteps and learning from them.

Torture is not in line with our values or laws, making President Donald Trump's nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA not only a repudiation of these core tenets of our democracy, but also an embrace of one of the darkest chapters of our nation. That Haspel — someone who is reported to have direct involvement in our nation's torture program — was nominated by a president who has voiced support for the practice of torture is deeply disturbing and wrong.

The U.S. Senate must embrace its responsibility and reject her nomination. A failure to do so will allow the CIA to continue to deny the simple fact that torture is ineffective, brutal, and contrary to our values.

I worked alongside my colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee on a comprehensive study of the CIA's use of torture — which covered the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program from its inception in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks until President Obama put an end to the program in 2009.

As incoming CIA director in 2009, Leon Panetta commissioned the agency's own secret, internal study — the Panetta Review — that affirmed the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings. Knowing how explosive its own study's conclusions were, the agency worked to bury them. In 2014, the CIA even went so far as to break into Senate computers in an attempt to hide the Panetta Review from our committee's staff investigators. None of this, however, has stopped CIA leaders from denying its contents as well as the conclusions of the Senate Intelligence Committee's definitive history of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program — which was based on more than 6 million pages of CIA and other documents, emails, cables, and interviews.

George Orwell once said, "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." Haspel herself has a vested interest in rewriting the narrative around torture. She herself was reportedly personally involved in destroying video evidence of waterboarding.

For too long, the CIA has literally and figuratively redacted its responsibilities to not only correct the record on its torture program, but also to hide the names and identities of those responsible. Real people — including those still working in the intelligence agency and whose names were blacked out in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report — approved, directed, or committed acts related to the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program.

I argued in my final days in the U.S. Senate that President Obama needed to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program. I urged him to force a cultural change at the CIA. Not only did that not happen, but soon after President Trump was sworn into office, Haspel was promoted to be the CIA's deputy director. With her nomination to lead the agency, it is clear that the culture has not changed, and worse, that those in positions of leadership during the CIA's dark times are being rewarded under this administration for their past actions.

In order for our nation to move past this dark chapter we need to stop installing those who authored it in positions of power. This is especially true given the current president's comments during the 2016 campaign and after taking office that he supports torture's use and believes in its efficacy.

Since the president won't embrace his own responsibility to learn from the nation's past mistakes, the Senate must force his hand. The U.S. Senate should reject Haspel's nomination and refuse to be complicit in the CIA's denial of the ruthless brutality and culture of conceit that is torture.

Mark Udall is a former member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 through 2015. He lives in Eldorado Springs.
http://www.dailycamera.com/guest-opinio ... ation-head
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 02, 2018 4:45 pm

Ex-CIA Official Says Some Torture Videotapes May Still Exist

A former CIA analyst’s account is the basis for a new legal filing from detainee Abu Zubaydah to retrieve any surviving tapes of his torture.


Some videotapes recording the torture of a CIA detainee may have survived the 2005 destruction facilitated by Donald Trump’s nominee to run the agency. That’s according to an ex-CIA analyst who reviewed massive amounts of internal CIA documentation about torture and said she was told by a colleague that some of the tapes survived.

The analyst’s assertions are the basis for a new motion filed in federal court by the legal team of tortured terror suspect Abu Zubaydah, whose waterboarding and other brutal interrogation was the subject of most of the 2002-era videos.

On Tuesday morning, an attorney for Abu Zubaydah, Joseph Margulies, requested a federal judge to permit the filing of a motion compelling the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to perform a search for the tapes and attest to the results of the search under oath. Should the tapes and related documents still indeed exist, the motion requests their immediate delivery to a court security officer.

“For years, the CIA told Petitioner and the rest of the world that it had destroyed the tapes of his torture,” Margulies writes. “We now know that a copy of the tapes likely exists. In this motion, we seek relief to correct this state of affairs.”

If any tapes still exist, their existence has implications for Gina Haspel’s potential CIA directorship. In November 2005, Haspel drafted a cable for her boss, clandestine-service chief Jose Rodriguez, ordering the destruction of the videotapes. For years Rodriguez had urged his superiors to destroy the tapes, out of a stated fear that the brutality depicted on them would inevitably leak and place the CIA interrogators, whose faces were supposedly visible on the recordings, in jeopardy.

The former CIA analyst does not have first-hand knowledge that the tapes survived. Her account comes from an April 2013 conversation with a CIA colleague who told her that some of Abu Zubaydah’s tapes still existed at the time of their discussion. Her colleague, whom The Daily Beast has not interviewed and whose identity The Daily Beast does not know, denied to investigators for Abu Zubaydah’s legal team any memory of telling the ex-analyst about the tapes.

But the now-retired analyst, Gail Helt, said she memorialized their conversation in a notebook she kept at the time, a copy of which The Daily Beast has seen. Haspel’s nomination has compelled her to disclose what she heard, Helt said.

“I’m coming forward with this now because I feel very strongly this come to light due to the nomination of Ms. Haspel to run the agency,” said Helt, who has never told this story to the press before.

“If she is connected to this [torture] program, and I certainly believe she is, and these tapes exist, it’s in the public interest that we all know what the government has done and could potentially do again. That really concerns me.”

Haspel’s nomination hearing before the Senate intelligence committee is scheduled for May 9.

Helt understood that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) had received the surviving tapes years ago. But Brian Hale, a spokesperson for the office, denied knowledge of ODNI’s custody of any Abu Zubaydah videotapes, he told The Daily Beast.

“Your source is wrong,” said CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani.

Additionally, Helt, whose final years with the agency saw her tasked with reviewing internal CIA cables about its former black-site prisoners, said that she saw repeated instances of the agency inflating the threat Abu Zubaydah supposedly posed to the U.S. that were unsupported by the underlying cables. That first-hand account bolsters a central claim of the Senate committee’s 2014 torture report: that the CIA lied about the men in its custody.

“I’m coming forward with this now because I feel very strongly this come to light due to the nomination of Ms. Haspel to run the agency.”

— Retired CIA analyst Gail Helt

The destruction of the tapes came despite the wishes of George W. Bush’s administration and hesitation from senior CIA attorneys. It was a watershed moment for oversight of post-9/11 torture, leading directly to a Justice Department special prosecutor’s investigation and the Senate intelligence committee’s landmark 2014 torture report. Ironically, destroying tapes of the brutal interrogations of both Abu Zubaydah and Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri led to additional disclosure of CIA torture.

Rodriguez, perhaps the CIA alumnus who defends torture most vigorously, was the central figure in the destruction of the tapes. As a self-appointed “chief operations officer” in CTC, who took over the center in May 2002, Rodriguez calls the program “legal, authorized, necessary and safe” in his 2011 memoir Hard Measures. There, he uses the cover name “Jane” to describe a “superstar” woman now known to be Haspel. Rodriguez “had her head one of our earliest ‘black sites,’” he writes, and “later she became my right arm as chief of staff when I led the clandestine service.”

Rodriguez assumed that position in November 2004. By then, he had already been pressing for two years to destroy 92 videotapes made at the Thailand black site that displayed the torture of Abu Zubaydah and Nashiri in 2002. The rationales for taping those early interrogations included, Rodriguez later wrote, showing that “if he died it wasn’t our fault.” But since the tapes showed interrogators’ faces, he and others at CIA had “serious safety concerns for the people depicted on the tapes and their families.” But Rodriguez said he received years of “hand-wringing and bureaucratic backpedaling” from CIA attorneys, including John Rizzo.

Rizzo’s memoir puts it somewhat differently. Rizzo likens the question of destroying the tapes to “a big turd dumped on my desk.” The two men are consistent in describing senior officials punting on the issue, rather than rejecting the destruction outright. But Rizzo wrote that “destroying the tapes was fraught with enormous risk for the Agency,” since “someone does something like that when he has something to hide.” It wasn’t until June 2004 that a different CIA lawyer informed his White House counterparts that the tapes existed and the agency planned to destroy them. “Their reaction was immediate and unanimous: ‘You plan to do what?’” Rizzo writes. (Rizzo’s memoir refers to 96 videotapes, while every other source, from Rodriguez’s book to a 2004 CIA inspector general’s report, pegs the number at 92 tapes.)

Neither Rizzo nor Rodriguez immediately responded to requests for comment.

By fall 2005, Rodriguez was beyond “frustrated,” he writes. His “chief of staff,” Haspel, held a meeting with CTC’s attorneys—not Rizzo’s in the CIA Office of General Counsel. To a presumably more receptive group of lawyers, or at least ones who weren’t teetering on the edge of refusal, she asked if destroying the tapes was legal and if Rodriguez had the authority to do it. When she got back a “yes,” Haspel drafted a cable granting permission for the field agents to destroy the tapes that “left nothing to chance. It even told them how to get rid of the tapes,” through use of an industrial shredder. Rodriguez describes himself as doing little more than “hit[ting] Send” on the Haspel-penned cable on Nov. 8, 2005, and learning the next day, Nov. 9, that the deed was done—meaning neither he nor Haspel personally witnessed the destruction of the tapes.

The following day, an unnamed CIA official wrote to the agency’s third-in-charge, Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, that he or she was “no longer feeling comfortable” about the tape destruction, which may have been “improperly” done. Their communication is partially redacted, after being declassified and released to the ACLU in a transparency lawsuit, but it seems to call Haspel’s honesty into question (PDF).

The cable was “apparently drafted by [redacted] and released by Jose,” as theirs were the only two names on it, the official wrote to Foggo in the first of several apparent references to Haspel. Either that unnamed official “lied to Jose” about clearing the cable with an unidentified colleague and the inspector general—which the official said was “my bet”—or “Jose misstated the facts.” The official added that “it is not without relevance” that “[redacted] figured prominently in the tapes, as [redacted] was in charge of [redacted] at the time and clearly would want the tapes destroyed.” Haspel briefly ran the black site where Abu Zubaydah was tortured, though she did so after his torture there occurred.

It took until December 2007 for word of the destruction to emerge—thanks not to any CIA declaration, but to a New York Times story.

From 2012 to 2014, CIA analyst Helt was assigned to the obscure Office of Detainee Affairs. It was a CIA bureau established to help implement President Barack Obama’s order to empty the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where Abu Zubaydah and other black-site denizens now reside. Since a portion of the office’s mandate was to aid Guantanamo defense attorneys’ requests for information they could present to the military commissions or their habeas corpus petitions in federal court, Helt and a colleague had access to millions of secret CIA records concerning the torture program.

In April 2013, Helt told The Daily Beast, her colleague informed her that some of “the tapes still exist.” The CIA colleague, in Helt’s recollection, archived the surviving tapes and sent them to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for storage at its headquarters complex in northern Virginia, known as Liberty Crossing.

Also, Helt said her colleague told her that the CIA had destroyed pages of a diary Abu Zubaydah had kept. Included in the pages was a drawing Abu Zubaydah had made, apparently depicting even more brutal torture methods than those exposed by the Senate report and authorized by the CIA and Bush administration. “He drew something like he was seated in an electric chair,” Helt said she learned from this colleague.

“We told DOJ [the Department of Justice] they didn’t exist and they did,” Helt recalled her colleague telling her about the tapes.

In advance of Haspel’s confirmation hearing, the CIA recently declassified a 2011 memorandum, penned by then-senior official Michael Morell, that concluded Haspel acted “appropriately” in facilitating the tapes destruction (PDF). Morell considered Haspel to be following Rodriguez’s orders, rather than acting on her own initiative. She acted, “incorrectly, it turns out,” based on a mistaken understanding that Rodriguez would obtain official approval from then-CIA Director Porter Goss for the destruction, Morell found.

“Although there is no ‘good soldier’ defense in the case of an act that violates the law or Agency regulations, the Special Prosecutor evidently found no prosecutable offense, nor did I find a violation of Agency regulations,” Morell wrote about Haspel.

Ryan Trapani, a CIA spokesman, defended Haspel’s role in the tapes destruction in an earlier conversation with The Daily Beast.

“With respect to the videotapes, Haspel has been consistent and clear about her role. She did not appear in the videotapes, nor did she make the decision to destroy them,” Trapani told The Daily Beast.

“That decision was made by Rodriguez, who has publicly taken responsibility for his decision. She made sure CIA lawyers were consulted. She made sure the affected officers, whose security was at risk from al Qaeda, were consulted. And she provided the draft cable to Rodriquez with the understanding that he would use the draft cable to raise the issue with Director Goss. When she subsequently saw that Rodriguez had sent the cable to the field, she asked Rodriguez whether he had raised the matter with Goss. Rodriguez told her that he had not talked to Goss and he had sent the cable out based on his understanding of his authority.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/ex-cia-of ... till-exist
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 07, 2018 8:48 am

The President of the United States starts the week by coming out in favor of torture.


Jason Leopold

The CIA torture tapes that were destroyed, an order carried out by DCI nominee Gina Haspel, were purged not b/c it showed detainees being subjected to brutal techniques but b/c there were many US intel/govt officials who appeared on tapes unmasked when interrogations took place.

There are at least 3K pgs of docs related to the torture tapes and its destruction, which CIA continues to classify top secret. The tapes were made in Thailand between April 2002 and late Nov/Dec 2002, when it was closed. Gina Haspel started there as chief of base in Oct 2002.

Also worth noting that when the Senate Intelligence Committee launched it's probe of the CIA torture program the committee the committee investigated the efficacy of the techniques, i.e. whether it resulted in unique and valuable intellgence, not the legality of the program.

I believe this other CIA torture report, which remains shrouded in secrecy, w/come up during Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing Wed

I filed a# FOIA lawsuit to pry it loose but CIA successfully argued to keep it secret

Here's the story about that report
https://twitter.com/JasonLeopold/status ... 7537716225



The Watchdog, the Whistleblower, and the Secret CIA Torture Report

On June 9, 2010, a CIA employee working on a secret review of millions of pages of documents about the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program contacted the CIA's internal watchdog and filed a complaint. The employee had come to believe that the CIA's narrative about the efficacy of the program — a narrative put forward by not just CIA officials, but also then-President George W. Bush — was false.

The CIA employee made the discovery while she was working on the Panetta Review. Named for former CIA Director Leon Panetta, the Panetta Review is a series of documents that top Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee say corroborates the findings and conclusions of the landmark report they released last December about the CIA's detention and interrogation program — that the torture of detainees in the custody of the CIA failed to produce unique and valuable intelligence, and that it was far more brutal than the CIA let on.

Panetta ordered the review in 2009 just as the Senate Intelligence Committee announced it would probe the efficacy of the CIA's detention and interrogation program. CIA employees were tasked with evaluating the cache of documents about the torture program that the agency turned over to the committee during the course of its probe; their goal was to compile the graphic and noteworthy aspects of the torture program — like the fact that detainees were fed rectally — on which the committee might focus.

Related: Senate Torture Report Finds the CIA Was Less Effective and More Brutal Than Anyone Knew

Senate Intelligence Committee staffers accessed a copy of the Panetta Review around the same time that the CIA employee complained to the watchdog. The CIA has maintained that the review is for CIA eyes only, and that Senate staffers who accessed it did not have authorization to read it.

The Panetta Review has served as the catalyst behind the near constitutional crisis between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA. It was the basis for former Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein's extraordinary March 2014 floor speech in which she accused the CIA of spying on her staffers. And it is what led the CIA to urge the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into the Senate staffers who accessed it.

The CIA's strong reaction seemed unusual considering the agency turned over to the committee 6.2 million pages of documents about the torture program that are far more damning than what's contained in the 1,000 or so pages that make up the Panetta Review. But documents VICE News recently obtained from the CIA in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, along with interviews with officials who have either read the Panetta Review or were briefed about it, shed light on why the CIA has fought so aggressively to keep the documents secret — even from some top CIA officials.

* * *

The CIA employee told the agency's internal watchdog that intelligence about a "second wave" of attacks al Qaeda planned in Los Angeles after 9/11 was misattributed. Interrogators had long claimed they learned about the planned attacks from accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad after he was tortured. But in actuality, that intel came from another detainee: Majid Khan, currently the only legal US resident imprisoned at Guantanamo, according to documents from the CIA's Office of Inspector General (OIG).

On June 9, 2010, she contacted the OIG via "the OIG Privacy Channel," and "alleged intelligence obtained under the [rendition, detention, and interrogation] program was misattributed between two high profile detainees," according to the inspector general's closing memorandum in the case.

Though the CIA employee's name is redacted from the report, officials knowledgeable about the complaint told VICE News that the employee is a woman who waswas assigned to evaluate the documents turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"Specifically, [redacted] alleged intelligence obtained through the Agency's [rendition, detention, and interrogation] program from detainee Majid Khan was misattributed in Agency reporting to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad," says the memorandum, which was titled "Alleged Misattribution of Intelligence." The CIA employee was interviewed by the inspector general's office on June 17, 2010. She "detailed [her] belief that intelligence obtained by Khan was misattributed to" Muhammad. Everything else she told the inspector general is redacted from the memo turned over to VICE News.

Before she reached out to the CIA watchdog, the CIA employee flagged for her supervisors the intelligence error, which made its way into a 2004 inspector general report about the interrogation program and a September 2006 speech delivered by Bush.She was assured the record would be corrected and she was given a cash award for her work. Later, she learned the corrections were never made,the intelligence sources told VICE News. Because the information they have disclosed is still considered classified, the sources requested anonymity.

The CIA claimed the intelligence that interrogators supposedly obtained from Muhammad thwarted the second wave of attacks and showed the effectiveness of the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by interrogators. But the fact that one of the CIA's own employees discovered that the information was collected from Khan while he was in the custody of a foreign government seems to support the Senate Intelligence Committee's conclusion that the program was mismanaged, and that the CIA provided an inaccurate portrayal to policymakers about the program's effectiveness.

Intelligence and US government officials told VICE News that the intel attributed to Muhammad after he was waterboarded — the intel the CIA employee discussed with the inspector general — had to do with information that led to the capture of an alleged al Qaeda terrorist named Mohd Farik Bin Amin, better known as Zubair. He was said to have been working for al Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate and was allegedly planning more attacks against the US. Bush pointed to the Zubair case in his September 2006 speech as evidence of the program's success.

Related: The Senate Report on CIA Interrogation Is About to Reignite Debate Over the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

But details about Zubair were actually obtained using rapport-building techniques by interrogators working for a foreign government, the CIA employee told the inspector general. There are also numerous other examples in the Senate report of the CIA claiming intelligence was obtained from Muhammad when in reality it was obtained from Khan.

The timeframe in which the CIA employee was interviewed by the inspector general also coincided with the Senate Intelligence Committee's discovery, unbeknownst to the CIA, of the Panetta Review. In her March 2014 floor speech, Feinstein said she believed committee staffers found it using a simple Google search tool — but she also left open the possibility that it was turned over by a whistleblower.

* * *

After the CIA employee was interviewed by the inspector general's office, its investigation into the employee's complaint lay dormant for two years. It's unclear why; the CIA would not comment for this story.

About five months after the CIA employee filed the complaint, the Panetta Review group was abruptly disbanded before it completed the review.

On June 24, 2012, six months before the Senate Intelligence Committee finished writing the first draft of its report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program, the inspector general interviewed CIA deputy general counsel for litigation and investigations Darrin Hostetler, who oversaw the work of both the Panetta Review team and monitored the Senate Intelligence Committee's probe. His name is redacted from the inspector general's report, but VICE News has confirmed with multiple sources that he is the CIA official with whom the watchdog spoke.

It was previously unknown that Hostetler had been a central figure in the ongoing battle between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the Panetta Review. But VICE News has learned that Hostetler is one of the agency officials who, upon learning that the committee obtained a copy of the Panetta Review, personally searched Senate Intelligence Committee staffers' computers without their knowledge.



Darrin Hostetler (Photo via Department of Defense)

He is also the CIA official who wrote up a criminal referral on February 7, 2014 that was signed by the CIA's acting general counsel and sent to the Justice Department, accusing the Senate report's principal author, Daniel Jones, of "fraud and related activity." Hostetler alleged that Jones and another Intelligence Committee staffer gained access to CIA computers, swiped a copy of the Panetta Review, and saved it to their side of a walled-off computer system shared with the CIA at a secure facility in Virginia. (CIA employees and contractors worked on the Panetta Review at the same facility, just a few feet away from where Senate staffers had been working on the torture report.)

The inspector general interviewed Hostetler in 2012 and again in 2013 about the CIA employee's complaint and the Panetta Review. Hostetler appeared to be dismissive of her discovery about intelligence misattributed to Muhammad, stating that the Panetta Review was an untrustworthy document that was still in draft form — it was, he said, never presented to the CIA director — and did not contain any findings or conclusions. He added that a "decision had been made" not to provide the Panetta Review to Congressional committees because it was deemed to be "internal deliberative documents."

Hostetler's assertion that the CIA decided not to share CIA documents, including the Panetta Review, with Congressional committees because they were "deliberative" documents does not square with the fact that the CIA had already turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee millions of pages of documents from the detention and interrogation program that were marked as deliberative.

Feinstein said as much in her floor speech last year.

"CIA has provided thousands of internal documents, to include CIA legal guidance and talking points prepared for the CIA director, some of which were marked as being deliberative or privileged," she said. In fact, Feinstein added, the CIA's June 27, 2013 response to the Senate's torture report, which Brennan personally delivered to her, is labeled "Deliberative Process Privileged Document."

US officials knowledgeable about the CIA employee complaint about misattributed intelligence told VICE News Hostetler was not being truthful to the CIA inspector general during an interview when he said that the Panetta Review was a collection of drafts that did not contain findings or conclusions. The officials said the Panetta Review, which the CIA refused to make available to its own inspector general, clearly contains both.

Hostetler's explanation lines up with a sworn declaration from a CIA lawyer filed in federal court in connection with a separate FOIA lawsuit filed by VICE News last year later seeking access to the Panetta Review. (Recently, a federal court judge sided with the CIA and said the agency does not have to publicly release the Panetta Review.) The lawyer explained that the group stopped working on its reports in 2010 because the work would have interfered with a separate, special prosecutor's criminal investigation into the CIA's torture program.

But US officials with direct knowledge of the matter told VICE News that Hostetler and other CIA officials disbanded the group because its members continued to find and document dozens of inaccuracies about the source of intelligence obtained from high-value detainees, the efficacy of the enhanced interrogation techniques, and evidence of detainees being subjected to interrogation methods that were never legally authorized. In short, CIA officials were publicly defending the use of enhanced interrogation techniques while CIA employees were drafting reports that contradicted what those officials were saying.

Many of the Panetta Review's findings about misattributed intelligence and the brutal treatment of detainees using unauthorized techniques singled out the CIA's chief of interrogations, Charlie Wise, who authorized the rectal feeding of Khan and other CIA captives, intelligence officials told VICE News. Wise — who was not named in the Senate's report — was the subject of at least one scathing complaint filed by another interrogator with the inspector general during the interrogation program's early days. The complaint remains classified. Wise died of a heart attack after retiring from the CIA.

Former Senator Mark Udall is the lawmaker who, in December 2013, first revealed the existence of the Panetta Review. In a December 10, 2014 floor speech before he left the Senate, he said, "the CIA is lying" about what the Panetta Review really is and "that is why I am here today to disclose some of its key findings and conclusions."

"The Panetta Review found that the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Congress, the president, and the public on the efficacy of its coercive techniques," Udall said. "The Panetta Review identifies dozens of documents that include inaccurate information used to justify the use of torture — and indicates that the inaccuracies it identifies do not represent an exhaustive list.

"I will tell you that the review is much more than a 'summary' and 'incomplete drafts,' which is the way [CIA Director John] Brennan and former CIA officials have characterized it in order to minimize its significance," Udall continued. "I have reviewed this document, and it is as significant and relevant as it gets."

A spokesman for Udall said the former senator was not available for comment.

* * *

On July 27, 2012, five months before the Senate completed the first draft of its report, according to the CIA documents VICE News obtained, the Office of Inspector General asked the agency what "corrective actions" it had taken related to "findings of misattribution of intelligence in Agency products Khan and Muhammad."

The CIA had taken none.

Nearly a year later, on August 28, 2013, the Office of Inspector General again met with Hostetler. Once again he impressed upon the inspector general that the Panetta Review was unreliable. The CIA's official response to the intelligence committee's report, delivered to Feinstein two months earlier, included the claim that Muhammad provided interrogators with intelligence that the CIA employee said had come from Khan. According to a footnote in the Senate's torture report, the CIA's response said Muhammad "provided information on an al-Qa'ida operative named Zubair.... This statement in the CIA's June 2013 Response is inaccurate."

It would not be until October 25, 2013, three years after the CIA employee complained to the watchdog, that the CIA would finally admit its mistake after being pressured to do so by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The footnote in the Senate report added that the CIA acknowledged the inaccuracy after the agency conducted another review of its records.

The CIA's Office of Inspector General closed the case on January 15, 2014, nearly four years after it was first opened, because the claims about misattributed intelligence "were sufficiently documented and addressed" in both the Senate's report on the CIA's torture program and the CIA's response to the Senate, the inspector general's office said after reviewing both documents.

"The OIG did not establish credibly information to warrant further inquiry," the closing memorandum in the case says.

The case was closed and signed off on the same day that Brennan requested an emergency meeting with Feinstein and her Republican counterpart on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Saxby Chambliss. At that meeting, he informed them for the first time that the CIA had searched the committee's computers as part of an investigation into how committee staffers obtained the Panetta Review.

CIA officials were publicly defending the use of enhanced interrogation techniques while CIA employees were drafting reports that contradicted what those officials were saying.
Hostetler and nine other CIA employees were lateradmonished by the OIG after it investigated the search of the committee's computers and found it improper. But an accountability review board, whose members were appointed by Brennan, cleared Hostetler and the other CIA employees of wrongdoing. Lending credence to the claims of Udall and other senators about the true substance of the contents of the Panetta Review, the accountability board concluded that the language in the Senate's blistering report on the CIA's torture program was "remarkably similar" to portions of the CIA-penned drafts.

The inspector general's July 2014 report into the computer search, declassified last January, included a copy of a five-page letter Hostetler wrote attempting to justify his actions. His name was redacted from the letter, but VICE News confirmed with intelligence and US officials that he wrote it.

"This memo reflects a disturbing tendency to treat oversight as a crime, which the OIG rightly rejected but the Accountability Board Report concludes was 'reasonable,'" wrote Katherine Hawkins in an article on the website Just Security. Hawkins is an attorney and the former lead investigator for the Constitution Project's Detainee Task Force, which examined the treatment of detainees in the custody of the CIA and military. Hawkins has closely followed the drama surrounding the Panetta Review.

She said the inspector general's memorandum about the misattributed intelligence clearly demonstrates that Hostetler has been trying to hide the Panetta Review for a long time — "even from officials within CIA."

Hostetler has since moved on to the Defense Department, where he now oversees both habeas litigation involving Guantanamo detainees and the Office of Military Commission prosecutions of the accused plotters of the 9/11 attacks. Like Muhammad, those detainees were named in the Senate report as having been tortured without providing CIA interrogators with valuable intelligence.

Hawkins, who has no personal knowledge that Hostetler was involved in the search of Senate Intelligence Committee computers, said it is troubling that he is now in charge of the military commissions cases. "He has a conflict of interest," she told VICE News.

"If that same CIA lawyer is in charge of overseeing discovery in the military commissions, it's a huge problem," she said. "I can't claim I ever had much confidence in the prosecution's providing the defense with the mitigation evidence it needs for a fair trial to begin with. But the person who oversaw the CIA's response to the Senate torture report is about the last person I'd trust to handle this.

Related: The Weird Saga of the Other 'Smoking Gun' Torture Report the CIA Still Has Under Wraps

"If Guantanamo prosecutors ever want the military commissions to go to trial, they need to provide discovery about what the CIA did to the defendants. It's a capital case, and defendants' torture is likely to be central to the argument against a death sentence. And there are Supreme Court cases that say that the government can't conceal evidence that the defense could use to prevent execution. The CIA's main goal with regard to its torture program has been to conceal as much evidence as possible, from as many people as possible, for as long as possible."

Recently, the military judge presiding over another military commissions case involving Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — the accused USS Cole mastermind whose torture during interrogations was laid bare in the Senate's report — ruled that the alleged terrorist's defense counsel cannot obtain a full unredacted copy of the intelligence committee's 6,700-page report. The military judge noted in his decision that prosecutors decide what the defense counsel for the accused terrorist is allowed to see. The Pentagon official the prosecutors answer to is Hostetler.

The Defense Department declined to make Hostetler available to VICE News for comment.

The complaint the CIA employee filed with the OIG about the misattributed intelligence was revealed to the Senate Intelligence Committee for the first time last January. But the CIA declined to provide the committee with a copy of the inspector general's closing memorandum in the case, which means they are reading it here for the first time. Some officials suggested to VICE News that the details articulated to the inspector general by Hostetler about the Panetta Review, and the fact that the CIA failed to act on the CIA employee's complaint, would have further angered Feinstein.

Last January, the new Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, indicated he intended to send copies of the Panetta Review back to CIA and asked all government agencies that received a copy of the committee's torture report to return it to the Intelligence Committee. US officials told VICE News it was Hostetler who advised Burr to make that call on both matters.

The Panetta Review and the drama surrounding it continues to be a sore point for Democrats, and has strained relations between lawmakers and the CIA. A couple of weeks ago, senators Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich, and Mazie Hirono sent a letter to Brennan demanding he issue a public apology over the agency's search of Intelligence Committee staffers' computers. The lawmakers want Brennan to acknowledge that the January 2014 search was improper, even though a CIA-appointed "independent" review board that looked into the breach absolved CIA employees of wrongdoing earlier this year. That finding reversed a decision by the CIA's internal watchdog, which said the search was improper.
https://news.vice.com/article/the-watch ... ure-report



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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 08, 2018 7:11 am

The Haspel Nomination as a Referendum on (Un-)Accountability

One of the consistent themes of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence over the past few decades has been aggressive hostility to “judge-made” remedies, i.e., the implication of causes of action in contexts in which the legislature has not expressly provided for them. Among lots of other cases, this trend manifested perhaps most powerfully in the Court’s (deeply problematic) ruling last June in Ziglar v. Abbasi, which made it much harder for courts to provide damages remedies for constitutional violations by federal officers. And just two weeks ago, the same hostility to judge-made remedies was on display in Jesner v. Arab Bank, in which a 5-4 Court slammed the door closed on suits against foreign corporations under the Alien Tort Statute.

In almost all of these rulings, the principal justification for skepticism of judge-made remedies is proper respect for the separation of powers—and the idea that, as Justice Gorsuch put it in Jesner, “separation of powers considerations ordinarily require us to defer to Congress in the creation of new forms of liability.” Put another way, it should be up to the political branches, in the first instance, to decide when, how, and where to hold defendants accountable for their misconduct. And as Abbasi suggests, this mentality has special force when the defendants are government officers being sued for acts within the scope of their employment.

This skepticism of judge-made remedies has a whole lot to do with why there’s been virtually no judicial accountability for torture of U.S. detainees in the aftermath of September 11. As I wrote at some length after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the Executive Summary of its far longer (and still classified) report on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program, the numerous failed efforts to hold anyone legally accountable for torture:

have not usually involved courts upholding the legality of these policies, but rather courts finding any number of justifications to dismiss the suit without even reaching the underlying legality of the government’s conduct. The doctrinal obstacles that have made it so difficult for these plaintiffs to recover are not all unique to the field of national security law, but for reasons both obvious and otherwise, they tend to produce the most comprehensive effects in that field, thereby creating a serious accountability gap for all government abuses in the field—and not just those arising from the CIA detainee program.

The upshot of these rulings is not that there should be no accountability. Instead, judge after judge has argued that we should defer to the political branches to provide meaningful accountability when it comes to these kinds of national security abuses. But for better or worse, the political branches have basically sat on the sidelines when it comes to providing new legal remedies for torture and other abuses carried out under the guise of government counterterrorism policies, and their track record with regard to other forms of political accountability is, well, not much better.

That’s why the upcoming confirmation hearing for Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to become CIA Director, is such a profoundly important moment for government accountability, writ large. Because of these judicial decisions, and because of the political branches’ unwillingness to develop other accountability mechanisms, one of the only real levers that’s left is the Senate’s advice and consent role—authority that has been used in lots of other contexts to extract other forms of accountability from the Executive Branch.

Put another way, for everything else that’s already been said (and that will surely be said) about the Haspel nomination, we ought not lose sight of just how much pressure is placed on the nomination process because so many of the other classical mechanisms for obtaining accountability have been either formally or functionally unavailable. Insofar as the Haspel nomination is a referendum on accountability for torture, a big part of why is because other, perhaps better, accountability mechanisms have been all-but useless.

All of this, of course, is no never mind to President Trump, who tweeted this morning that Haspel has come under fire for being “too tough on Terrorists.” As Laura Rosenberger (among others) has pointed out, unlike just about everyone else defending the Haspel nomination, Trump seems inclined to support her because of her involvement in torture, not in spite of it.

To me, a President who feels that way is all the more reason to want a CIA Director with less of a sordid history. But regardless of the case for supporting or opposing Haspel, it’s worth emphasizing that the reason that it’s come to this is, at least in my view, largely a result of the unavailability or inefficacy of other accountability mechanisms for government torture.

And for that failure, shame on us.
https://www.justsecurity.org/55830/gina ... re-courts/
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 08, 2018 9:19 am

Trump’s Shameful Choice of ‘Bloody Gina’

Leave it to Donald Trump, besieged by denunciations of his torturous behavior toward women, to have nominated a female torturer to head the Central Intelligence Agency. It was a move clearly designed to prove that a woman can be as crudely barbaric as this deeply misogynistic president. When it comes to bullying, Gina Haspel, whose confirmation hearing begins Wednesday, is the real deal, and The Donald is a pussycat by comparison. Whom has he ever waterboarded? Haspel has done that and a lot worse. Haspel is Trump’s ideal feminist, a point tweeted by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:


They call her “Bloody Gina,” and for some of her buddies in the torture wing of the CIA and their supporters in Congress, that is meant as a compliment. For a decade after the 9/11 attacks, Haspel served as chief of staff, running the vast network of secret rendition torture prisons around the globe. As a definitive Senate Intelligence Committee report established, torture is not legal, according to U.S. law and international covenants signed by President Ronald Reagan, nor does it produce any actionable information in preventing acts of terror.

After the public revelation of the vast extent of the torture program horrified the world, Haspel deliberately destroyed 92 videotapes depicting the barbaric practice, violating a Justice Department order that the tapes be preserved, and thus clearly obstructing a criminal investigation. Yet in March, Trump chose to nominate Bloody Gina to be the new head of our super-spy agency.

Give Trump credit for consistency: He did campaign on the theme that torture—or “enhanced interrogation,” as his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, justified it—is only wrong when nations other than our own do it. And by nominating Haspel to head the CIA, Trump is clearly seeking to take torture out of the covert dark side, as former Vice President Dick Cheney termed his revival of the medieval dungeon art; Trump has branded it as a legitimate, made-in-America weapon, wielded by a woman, no less. Trump seemed to be saying, “Label me a bully; I’ll show you what a woman can do!” When it comes to authorizing the near-drowning of shackled prisoners and smashing their heads against prison walls, this lady is the equal of any macho man.

The best witness to the crimes of Bloody Gina is offered by a true hero of the real war against terrorism, former FBI agent Ali Soufan, who is credited with having done the most significant interrogation of captured terrorist suspects. Soufan shunned torture and skillfully gained the confidence of prisoners who went on to provide reliable information.

“It is a matter of public record,” Soufan wrote in The Atlantic magazine, “that Gina Haspel … played a key role in the agency’s now-defunct program of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ an Orwellian euphemism for a system of violence most Americans would recognize as torture. … I know firsthand how brutal those techniques were—and how counterproductive. … Unsurprisingly, the CIA’s own inspector general concluded that the torture program failed to produce any significant actionable intelligence; and I testified to the same effect under oath in the Senate.”

While there is no evidence that this indelible stain on America’s legacy produced any reliable information, the nomination of Bloody Gina sent a message to the world from this president that torture is to be rewarded. There are many, including Republican Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in Vietnam, who raised questions about Haspel’s support of the torture program. “The use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation,” McCain said.

But even some Democrats may support Haspel’s nomination given that members of their party have been complicit in excusing the heinous practice of torture. After all, it was Democratic President Barack Obama who decided not to prosecute anyone for ordering or committing the torture that is one of the great stains on American history. In fact, Obama prosecuted former CIA agent John Kiriakou after he revealed the torture program’s existence to a journalist. He did so after President Bush’s memorable statement that the United States “does not torture people!” Ironically, the Bush Justice Department cleared Kiriakou of any charges, while Obama revived them two years later and sent the former agent to prison for 30 months.

Whether or not the Senate confirms Haspel, the very fact of her nomination defines Trump as a fatally callous leader totally contemptuous of basic human rights and the rule of law. Trump did not indelibly link America to torture; that disgrace is owned by George W. Bush, a “moderate” Republican, but it remained for this American President to brand torture as a favored American sport.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/08 ... oody-gina/
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
#WhyIDidntReport
‘empowerment through empathy’ #metoo.”

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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 08, 2018 9:07 pm

9/11 Planner, Tortured by C.I.A., Asks to Tell Senators About Gina Haspel


WASHINGTON — President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the C.I.A. has revived debate over the agency’s post-Sept. 11 interrogation program and still-murky questions about her involvement. Now, on the eve of her Senate confirmation hearing, a striking voice is trying to join that fray: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Mr. Mohammed, the principal architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, was captured in March 2003 and tortured by the C.I.A. This week, he asked a military judge at Guantánamo Bay for permission to share six paragraphs of information about Ms. Haspel with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Ms. Haspel ran a black-site prison in Thailand where another high-level detainee was tortured in late 2002. But it is not known whether she was involved, directly or indirectly, in Mr. Mohammed’s torture. Mr. Mohammed was held in secret C.I.A. prisons in Afghanistan and Poland.
In the weeks after his capture, an Intelligence Committee report said, Mr. Mohammed was subjected to the suffocation technique called waterboarding 183 times over 15 sessions, stripped naked, doused with water, slapped, slammed into a wall, given rectal rehydrations without medical need, shackled into painful stress positions and sleep-deprived for about a week by being forced to stand with his hands chained above his head.
While being subjected to that treatment, he made alarming confessions about purported terrorist plots — like recruiting black Muslims in Montana to carry out attacks — that he later retracted. They were apparently made up, the Senate report said.
Ms. Haspel is scheduled to appear before the panel for a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, and several Democratic senators have called for the Trump administration to declassify more information about her involvement in the program to inform the debate about whether she is the right fit for the post.
Mr. Mohammed’s request to provide unspecified information to the panel adds a new twist to that debate. It was described by one of his lawyers, Marine Lt. Col. Derek A. Poteet, who is helping to defend him from death-penalty charges before the military commissions system at the Guantánamo Bay naval station.
On Monday, Mr. Mohammed submitted a request to the judge overseeing pretrial hearings in that case, Army Col. James Pohl, Colonel Poteet said. While the file is not public on the commissions docket, Colonel Poteet said it consisted of an expedited motion for permission to provide the information to the committee about Ms. Haspel.
The motion, Colonel Poteet said, included an attachment, titled “Additional Facts, Law and Argument in Support,” containing “six specific paragraphs of information” from Mr. Mohammed that his client thinks the Intelligence Committee should know. After Mr. Mohammed raised the idea, his defense lawyers agreed that the information was important, Colonel Poteet said.
“I am not able to describe the information,” he said. He added that it came from Mr. Mohammed himself, not from files turned over by the government to defense lawyers about the treatment of their client in C.I.A. custody.
It is not clear whether Colonel Pohl would rule on the motion before Ms. Haspel’s hearing on Wednesday.
Asked whether Ms. Haspel had any involvement in Mr. Mohammed’s detention or interrogation, Dean Boyd, a C.I.A. spokesman, said he was prohibited from commenting on her activities in 2003 given the sensitivity of her work. But, he said, on Monday the agency had delivered to the Senate a set of classified documents that describe her 33-year career “including her time in C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center in the years after 9/11.” The files are available to every senator, not just committee members, he said.
Mr. Boyd also said the American people would get a chance to hear from Ms. Haspel directly at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
“She has indicated to the senators she has met with, and will reaffirm tomorrow, her commitment never to restart such a C.I.A. detention and interrogation program,” he said on Tuesday. “She remains fully committed to the U.S. laws and Army Field Manuals that govern interrogation — the legal framework in place today.”
During the Bush administration, the Justice Department wrote secret memos approving C.I.A. torture techniques as purportedly lawful despite anti-torture laws. The department later withdrew those memos, and Congress enacted a law limiting interrogators to techniques listed in the Army Field Manual.
The C.I.A. inspector general later found that agency interrogators sometimes exceeded the limits in the descriptions of techniques provided to the Justice Department for legal analysis. The Senate report also concluded that the C.I.A. misled the White House and other administration officials about its use of such techniques and portrayed them as more effective than they were.
Ms. Haspel ran a black-site prison in Thailand in late 2002 while a detainee being held there, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of orchestrating Al Qaeda’s attack on the American destroyer Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000, was subjected to torture techniques including waterboarding. She was also involved in destroying videotapes of interrogation sessions in 2005.
The agency closed the Thailand prison in late 2002, and Ms. Haspel returned to the Counterterrorism Center outside Washington as a senior operations manager but continued to do temporary assignments overseas. But the details of what she was doing in 2003 are not public.
This month, four Democratic senators on the Intelligence Committee — Kamala D. Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both of California; Ron Wyden of Oregon; and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico — wrote to Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, asking him to declassify all C.I.A. information related to Ms. Haspel’s involvement in the program before her hearing, since she, as acting director of the agency, has declined to do so on her own.
“The American people deserve transparency regarding the background of a nominee who will be asked to represent them, and their values, around the world,” they wrote, adding, “Without making this information available to the American people, Ms. Haspel’s nomination cannot be fully and properly considered by the Senate.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/us/p ... aspel.html
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 09, 2018 11:07 am

Haspel confirmation hearings




emptywheel


And ... @medeabenjamin is removed even before the Haspel hearing begins.

Probably not an accident she was the 2nd person removed.

Wyden and DiFi all chummy since they're on the same side in this hearing.

Haspel shaking every Senators' hand before the hearing starts, something I've never seen in any confirmation hearing.

CIA recruitment trick, I guess.

You can follow along the hearing here
https://www.c-span.org/video/?444988-1/ ... aring&live

or here
https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/hea ... nce-agency

Burr starts by telling people to get their loud protests out of the way early so he can have them removed.

Burr: This hearing's about, ... This hearing's not about long-shuttered programs. It's about Haspel.

"You have acted morally, ethically, and legally over a 30 year career."

Burr talking about how Haspel's supervisors said nice things about her.

Genius statement! People who don't have good personnel reviews don't get promoted up the ranks of a bureaucracy.

Feinstein sends Burr a note about something as soon as he finishes speaking.

Warner now raising concerns about someone who participated in RDI being head.

Warner: In your own view of RDI should the govt ever permit detainees to be treated as they were treated in RDI program. Was that program consistent with American values?

Warner asks Haspel how she works with Trump and whether she can speak truth. "Will you be in the room when it matters and will the President listen to you?"

Warner asks her to back both the SSCI and Mueller investigation, which is going to (possibly designed to) get her in trouble with Trump.

Saxby Chambliss, who backed a whole slew of policies that hurt women when he was Senator (including blaming sexual assault on hormones), talking about how nifty it is a woman will lead CIA.

Saxby suggests that not making Haspel D/CIA would amount to punishing her for stuff that was approved.

That misses the point: there are other people who didn't torture who are also qualified.

Saxby repeats again that Haspel will be first female D/CIA.

Evan: My father, Birch Bayh

Let me finish that for you, Evan, your father, Birch Bayh, was a much more noble man than you are.

"Who can forget the twin towers falling,... throughout it all this committee was an oasis of bipartisanship, no Democrats, no Republicans, just Americans."

Delivered in this creepy voice. Ick ick ick.

When they say Haspel is the most qualified person to have this job are they comparing her with Dulles, Colby, and Helms, or are they just making a distinction between DCI and D/CIA?

Note, another oddity abt this hearing: Haspel introduced by former committee members, not by a home state senator (I think).

Haspel: I think you will find me to be a typical middle class American, with a strong sense of right and wrong.

Haspel describing her first meeting with an agent on a dark moonless night, where she gave an extra $500 for the men he led.

It is not my way to trumpet fact I would first first woman, but woman across the IC consider it a good sign for their prospects.

"Reaction of work force to rare nomination of one of their own, someone who has been in the trenches, has been overwhelming."

Haspel now bragging about what is fundamentally selective declassification in support of her nomination.

Haspel talking about volunteering on 9/11. "I didn't leave for 3 years."

"It was CIA who identified and captured Osama bin Laden."

SEAL propagandists go nuts!

Haspel answers a different question than Warner asked: whether CIA will restart torture, not whether it was wrong.


"In retrospect it is clear CIA not prepared to conduct detention program."

LOLOLOL.

Rather than saying it is not legal to torture, she says it is not legal to use techniques not in AFM. VERY curious phrasing.

"CIA cannot be effective w/o people's trust."

Hailing Congressional oversight process.

Note, in her description of torture she didn't address destroying a video that Congress had asked for.

Gonna interject here: the moment to establish that we can't have torturers lead CIA was actually Brennan, not Haspel. Dems failed that test.

Burr: I would remind members that we are in an open session.

Did Burr actually give Wyden the side eye when he asked that?


Burr pitches the video destruction as entirely Rodriguez' decision.

"The tape issue had lingered at CIA for a period of about 3 years. A great deal of concern about security risk to CIA officers depicted on tapes."

Haspel: Rodriguez has made it very clear that he and he alone made the decision.

I did not appear on those tapes as has been alleged.

Note: the claim this was about protecting officers doesn't make sense for reasons I'll go into later.

Haspel: The official record is the cable record, we use that to detail all our operations.

[So why is that not sufficient to do a SSCI report off of? That makes NO SENSE.]

In her description of legal/policy issues behind destroying tapes so far, Haspel hasn't mentioned the active request from Carl Levin for tapes.

Haspel says there was a HPSCI investigation that never produced a report. She says HPSCI Chair found no problem.

That's VERY curious given that Pete Hoekstra had a briefing the day of the destruction.
2 replies 4 retweets 16 likes

Haspel: I knew there was disagreement about the issue of the tapes outside of the agency. We were working towards a meeting with the then Director. We were working through a process.

Warner: Do you believe program consistent w/American values?

Haspel: With some distance between events of 9/11, we've had debate about interrogation standards. We have decided to hold ourselves to stricter moral standard. I support US holding itself to stricter moral standard.

Warner: I need to get a sense of what your moral code says about this kind of action.

[Haspel taking notes abt Warner's comments abt Trump]

Warner: What will you do when you are D/CIA?

Haspel: My father served 33 years in AF, my parents gave me strong moral compass.

Haspel's answer is really about risk to CIA officers, not about morals.

So ... maybe her parents didn't give her a strong moral compass.

Haspel: My moral compass is strong. I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral. I believe CIA must undertake activities that are consistent w/American values.

[Terrible follow up from Warner, tho he had been doing unusually well up until that point]

Several minutes in Risch hasn't asked a question. Now asking a leading question about how oversight has changed.

Haspel: There is no more important partnership than the one between CIA and DOD.

Given reports of inadequate briefing on Niger operation this should get some follow-up.

Haspel: Intelligence services of our closest allies do incredible things for the national security of this country, particularly in proliferation and counterterrorism.

Feinstein: We asked agency that your record be declassified, to make informed decision and bc public should be informed. CIA declassified only small parts, hiding damaging aspects. I'm very limited in what I can say, I like you very much, probably most difficult hearing.

Haspel says she is not the CoS described in Rizzo's memoir.

Haspel: He issued a correction.

BREAKING JOHN RIZZO DOESN'T FACT CHECK!!

Haspel: I did not run the interrogation department.

Haspel: I was an advocate if we could within the law. I never watched the tapes.

Haspel: Tapes were recordings of only 1 detainee.

Meaning Haspel turned off the tapes when she oversaw torture of al-Nashiri.

Haspel refuses to confirm she oversaw torture of al-Nashiri.

Haspel: It is very important that D/CIA adhere to classification guidelines that all CIA officers abide by. [This is her excuse for not declassifying her own record -- the precedent.]
7:47 AM - 9 May 2018
6 Retweets 9 Likes beulahjetsonBarbara BruneauDerek LeoPat RichardsPost LiterateLillie Beinsjustine lee granasVengeful LibrarianFannie Lou Hamer stan

Haspel suggests it would be a security risk to declassify link between her and al-Nashiri.

There's only one risk here (because she's a target anyway): that she'd have to testify at Gitmo.

Haspel: I know we keep a very complete record in my cable traffic.

Again, if that's true, than the CIA has no business complaining that SSCI relies on it to do torture report.


Haspel points to leaks of IDs, and says someone was found guilty of unauthorized leak.

She's referring to Kiriakou, and events that happened years later.

Heinrich: Where was that moral compass?
Haspel: When you're out in the trenches, and they say the President says they're relying on you to prevent another attack.

Haspel answers categorically that she will not let CIA get back in interrogation business.

This is a dumb line of questioning, since she will also be asked to do other things that are inappropriate, like spying on Americans.

[A strong moral compass says it's cool to render detainees to torturers, yaknow]

Here's a question that should be asked, but won't be: would she go along with rendering detainees to coutries that do torture?

Haspel: told that I was interrogation experts designed it, that President approved it.

If we had real oversight, Collins's f-up would be to ask if/when she read finding and OLC memos.

Haspel says she was not involved in creation of torture.

Said she was not read in until a year after it started.

That ... says she considers the start date to be earlier than official record.

Wyden: When did you become aware of cable order being sent.

Haspel: Shortly after it was sent.

In response to Wyden's question about whether she asked for torture to be continued she said she didn't ask to be sent to Swiss desk after 9/11.
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
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‘empowerment through empathy’ #metoo.”

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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 09, 2018 1:37 pm

part 2 of the hearing


Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was forcefully removed from the hearing and arrested

empty wheel


In response to Wyden's question about whether she asked for torture to be continued she said she didn't ask to be sent to Swiss desk after 9/11.

Wyden: When did you become aware of cable order being sent.

Haspel: Shortly after it was sent.

Haspel says she was not involved in creation of torture.

Said she was not read in until a year after it started.

That ... says she considers the start date to be earlier than official record.

Haspel: told that I was interrogation experts designed it, that President approved it.

If we had real oversight, Collins's f-up would be to ask if/when she read finding and OLC memos.

Here's a question that should be asked, but won't be: would she go along with rendering detainees to coutries that do torture?

[A strong moral compass says it's cool to render detainees to torturers, yaknow]

Haspel answers categorically that she will not let CIA get back in interrogation business.

This is a dumb line of questioning, since she will also be asked to do other things that are inappropriate, like spying on Americans.

Heinrich: Where was that moral compass?
Haspel: When you're out in the trenches, and they say the President says they're relying on you to prevent another attack.

Haspel points to leaks of IDs, and says someone was found guilty of unauthorized leak.

She's referring to Kiriakou, and events that happened years later.

Haspel: I know we keep a very complete record in my cable traffic.

Again, if that's true, than the CIA has no business complaining that SSCI relies on it to do torture report.

King tries to ask whether she was in supervisory role over torture leading up to CoS role.

She declines to answer publicly. Instead talks about having Rizzo changing story.

King: Were the lawyers copied on the cable?

Haspel tries to dodge.

Haspel just suggested that it would be okay to have D/CIA approval for tape destruction even if WH lawyers were opposed.

While Lankford filibusters, here's what Wyden has made clear: When CIA got torture reapproved in 2005, Haspel supported it.

That's important for many reasons, including that CIA continued to lie to DOJ to get it reapproved.

Haspel says CIA has modest program to stop drugs flows.

This has to be classified.

Manchin must be a yes vote: his first question is an invitation to talk 9/11.

She says it was very important to ID who did it.

Earlier in the hearing she said she knew right away it was OBL.

Manchin says we've never repeated internment of Japanese -- the Muslims rounded up after 9/11 and Latinx citizens held as undocumented people might dispute that.

Side note: Can we talk about PRB process behind Rizzo's book that purportedly approved it w/false accusation about Haspel?

Haspel basically just confirmed that she'd do anything OLC approved.

Cotton's a flaming douchebag, but his line of questioning is right on: Dems confirmed Brennan w/his torture background.

Cotton apparently doesn't know that video recordings of court hearings are permitted in many jurisdictions

Harris: This hearing not about incredible sacrifice of CIA. It's about your stuiablity to lead CIA.

Harris: Do you believe techniques were immoral?

Haspel won't answer.

Harris: Given appearance of conflict, will you recuse yourself from declassificataion?

Haspel won't commit to it

Harris: Do you agree that Director Coats should have authority?

Haspel doesn't answer.

Harris: Does torture work?

Haspel: We got valuable intel.

Harris: Is that a yes?

Cornyn cites Ben Wittes to support case that Haspel would easily have been confirmed if Obama nominated her.

Cornyn also set up Haspel to talk abt AQ's nuke/BW program.

Haspel telling story of Jennifer Matthews' death. Some of the details she just included probably classified.

Reed: Have you ever been alone w/President?

She doesn't answer.


Haspel refuses to answer whether she'd inform if POTUS asks for vow of loyalty.
r CIA analyst Ray McGovern now being arrested

Reed asks if she'd consider waterboarding a CIA officer to be immoral.

She refuses to answer, but suggests she would find it immoral.

Reed gets her to agree that Rodriguez was insubordinate when he destroyed the tapes, and that she wouldn't countenance that.

Burr asks Haspel to explain who KSM and Nashiri were.

But NOT Abu Zubaydah (bc she'd have to admit that CIA got his role wrong).

Warner submits Brennan testimony to differentiate it from Haspel.

Cotton interrupts and lies.

Warner describes how Haspel would need to earn the trust of Congress and the public.

Warner: The willingness to lean forward on that declassification, I hope you'd reconsider some of your decisions there.

Wyden gets on the record that he wants Haspel's answers public before vote.

Shorter Burr: Many want to make your nomination about the small issue of torture, but I'd like to make it about the small issue of your gender.

Burr and Warner are still sitting on the dais talking. Warner may be explaining that Haspel just failed to do what she needed to.

https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/9 ... 7510018053
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 09, 2018 6:09 pm

RON WYDEN MAKES IT CLEAR GINA HASPEL PUSHED FOR TORTURE TO CONTINUE IN 2005

May 9, 2018/6 Comments/in emptywheel, Torture /by emptywheel

Among the many, many damning details of Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing, one sticks out. Ron Wyden asked her whether, during the 2005 to 2007 period, whether she ever asked for the torture program to be continued or expanded. She didn’t answer. Instead, she dodged:

Haspel: Like all of us who were in the counterterrorism center and working at CIA in those years after 9/11, we all believed in our work, we were committed, we had been charged with making sure the country wasn’t attacked again. And we had been informed that the techniques in CIA’s program were legal and authorized by the highest legal authority in our country and also the President. So I believe, I and my colleagues in the counterterrorism center were working as hard as we could with the tools that we were given to make sure that we were successful in our mission.

Wyden: My time is short and that, respectfully, is not responsive to the question. That was a period where the agency was capturing fewer detainees, waterboarding was no longer approved, and especially in light of that Washington Post story, I would really like to have on the record whether you ever called for the program to be continued, which it sure sounds to me like your answer suggested. You said, well we were doing our job it ought to be continued.

This makes it clear that Haspel was involved in reauthorizing torture in 2005, in a process that was as rife with lies to DOJ as the original authorization process had been.

It also makes Haspel directly responsible for the torture of people like Abu Farj al-Lbi, which the torture report describes this way.

On May 2005, one day after al-Libi’s arrival at DETENTION SITE BLACK, CIA interrogators received CIA Headquarters approval for the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Faraj al-Libi. CIA interrogators began using the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Faraj al-Libi on May 28, 2005, two days before the OLC issued its memorandum analyzing whether the techniques violated U.S. obligations under the Convention Against Torture.891

The CIA interrogated Abu Faraj al-Libi for more than a month using tlie CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. On a number of occasions, CIA interrogators applied the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques to Abu Faraj al-Libi when he complained of a loss of hearing,repeatedly telling him to stop pretending he could not hear well.892 Although the interrogators indicated that they believed al-Libi’s complaint was an interrogation resistance technique, Abu Faraj al-Libi was fitted for a hearing aid after his transfer to U.S. military custody at Guantanamo Bay in 2006.893 Despite the repeated and extensive use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques on AbuFaraj al-Libi, CIA Headquarters continued to insist throughout the summer and fall of 2005 that Abu Faraj al-Libi was withholding information and pressed for the renewed use of the techniques. The use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques against Abu Faraj al-Libi was eventually discontinued because CIA officers stated that they had no intelligence to demonstrate that Abu Faraj al-Libi continued to withhold information, and because CIA medical officers expressed concern that additional use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques “may come with unacceptable medical or psychological risks.894 After the discontinuation of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, the CIA asked Abu Faraj al-Libi about UBL facilitator Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti for the first time.895 Abu Faraj al-Libi denied knowledge of al-Kuwaiti.896

That Haspel appears to have pushed to use torture with al-Libi is significant for multiple reasons. First, as noted, the CIA tortured al-Libi immediately after taking him into custody. There was no show of seeing whether he would cooperate. The CIA used his claim of hearing problems — a claim that turned out to be true — as an excuse to do more torture. CIA apparently kept asking to resume torture with him, even though it didn’t work.

Really importantly for the legacy of the torture program, al-Libi not only didn’t reveal the identity of Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti while he was being tortured, he continued to lie about it after he was tortured.

But Haspel’s involvement in this might be most problematic given the timing of it. As noted, the CIA asked for custody of al-Libi while they were still getting torture reauthorized; the first two Bradbury memos, authorizing torture and then their use of them in combination, were approved on May 10. As further noted, however, CIA started torturing al-Libi before the last Bradbury memo was signed on May 30. We know from Jim Comey’s memos about that process that DOJ was pushed very hard to approve them. Critically important, however, is that Alberto Gonzales made a case against reapproving torture at the May 31 principals meeting. In spite of DOJ concerns, the principals committee reapproved all the techniques.

That’s because CIA had already started torturing al-Libi. Effectively, CIA (so, presumably, Haspel, among others), rushed to torture al-Libi so that the government would have no choice but to reauthorize it.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/05/09/r ... e-in-2005/
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 10, 2018 9:54 am

Gina Haspel Stonewalls on Discussing Her Role in CIA Torture

Trump’s CIA pick once ran a secret prison. Now she doesn’t want to talk about it.



Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) implored Gina Haspel to talk “seriously” about her long-hidden role in CIA torture and what she would do if torture enthusiast Donald Trump asked to return the agency to brutality.

“My vote on your confirmation will be greatly influenced by how you address these questions today,” the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said Wednesday morning. It spoke to the central question confronting Trump’s choice to lead the CIA: Does Haspel’s still-obscure involvement in torture disqualify her?

In what might foreshadow her directorship, Haspel issued a rote pledge not to “restart a detention and interrogation program”—conspicuously saying nothing about rendering people for others to torture. She told senators she didn’t think Trump would ask her to torture anyone (even though he’s said he wanted to bring back interrogation techniques that are “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”). And she assured her questioners that she wouldn’t act immorally even if, once again, she had legal cover.

Then she dodged or obscured any substantive perspective on the morality of the agency’s shuttered torture program and, especially, her role in it.

Haspel did so, over two hours, by washing herself and the CIA she has long served in the rhetorical blood of the 9/11 attacks. And she did so to such effect that she ended the hearing with indignation over a different senator’s question about her reaction should a CIA officer be waterboarded.

It was not the only time Haspel’s ire soared before the committee. It soared in a manner long familiar to those who have heard CIA officials lose patience when asked about their roles in torturing at least 119 men—through bombarding them with noise and cold; keeping them awake by suspending their arms above their head for long periods; “feeding” them through forced anal penetration; and, for three people, simulating the experience of drowning, an act known as waterboarding.

“Let me say this about myself,” Haspel told Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, who opposes her nomination, “After 9/11, I didn’t look to go sit on the Swiss desk. I stepped up. I was not on the sidelines. I was on the frontlines in the Cold War, and I was on the frontlines in the fight against al-Qaeda. I am very proud of the fact that we captured the perpetrator of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I think we did extraordinary work. To me, the tragedy is that the controversy surrounding the interrogation program—which, as I’ve already indicated to Senator Warner, I fully understand that—but it has cast a shadow over what has been a major contribution to protecting this country.”

That came after Wyden asked Haspel, in a manner suggesting he knows the answer, whether she had pressed internally to revive or expand the torture program during 2005-2007, a period when it was less operationally intense than at its outset. Haspel, for neither the first nor the last time in the hearing, did not answer the question.

Haspel, from October to early December 2002, ran a CIA black site in Thailand where, while she supervised it, interrogators tortured Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri—“immediately upon his arrival,” according to the CIA inspector general. Former top CIA lawyer John Rizzo, in a 2014 memoir penned before it was at all controversial, wrote that Haspel, as of 2005, had “previously run the interrogation program,” only to retract that statement after The Daily Beast called attention to it (and after he himself had reaffirmed his confidence in it). Haspel, reacting to that, twice told senators: “I did not run the interrogation department. In fact, I was not even read into the interrogation program until it had been up and running for a year.”

It was a curious and precise formulation, not least of which because there has never been known to be any entity inside the CIA called “the interrogation department.”

“The CIA has a serious, pervasive and corrosive accountability problem,” said Dan Jones, a former FBI counterterrorism analyst, the lead investigator for the Senate torture report and the resultant subject of CIA spying. “No one is ever sanctioned for wrongdoing, even when the CIA itself acknowledges gross misconduct.”

Haspel’s defiant tone crescendoed as the hearing persisted. In written answers to the committee about her time at the CIA Counterterrorism Center, which operated the torture program, Haspel would not give any public response beyond saying she was a Deputy Group Chief from 2001-2003 and later a Senior-Level Supervisor from 2003-2004—without saying what her responsibilities were (PDF). (It was during that time that she ran the black site.) Asked by Maine independent Angus King if she was ever in a “supervisory” or “management” position over the torture program, Haspel said, “we’ll be able to go over any of my classified assignments in classified session.”

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who spearheaded the Senate’s landmark torture investigation, and to whom many Democrats will look to as they consider Haspel’s nomination, asked her about “overseeing the interrogation of al-Nashiri.”

“Senator, anything about my classified assignment history throughout my 33 years, we can talk about in this afternoon’s closed session,” Haspel said, saying she is bound by “classification guidelines” even as she serves as acting CIA director and is herself involved in declassifying the portions of her history. (Wyden said those declassifications were “designed to get you confirmed.”)

Where Haspel was more forthcoming, she also blurred critical distinctions. Discussing the November 2005 episode in which she drafted a memo for her then-boss, Jose Rodriguez, ordering the destruction of 92 torture videotapes from the Thailand black site, Haspel said she had run it by “CIA lawyers” and was aware “there was disagreement on the tapes outside the agency.”

But there was disagreement within the CIA as well. Rizzo, who was a senior CIA lawyer at the time, had expressed years of reservations about the tapes’ destruction, and his and others’ slow-walking was the reason Rodriguez, aided by Haspel, sought to trash the tapes. Rodriguez writes in his own memoir that the lawyers Haspel consulted were the Counterterrorism Center attorneys—those representing the part of CIA that ran the torture program—not Rizzo’s in the Office of General Counsel.

Haspel also gave a less than definitive answer when asked if any “tapes of interrogation” haven’t been destroyed. “Senator, probably, I don’t know. I don’t know if there are any other tapes. I don’t believe there are any other tapes associated with the particular interrogation activity that was on the 92 tapes, but I simply don’t know if there are any other videotapes of any other activity,” she said. Last week, The Daily Beast reported that a CIA analyst was told by a colleague that some of the torture tapes survived.

While Haspel said at the start of the hearing that she wouldn’t permit the CIA to undertake “immoral” activity, and assured that her “moral compass is strong,” she ducked senator after senator who invited her to make a moral judgment about torture.

To West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, Haspel argued the CIA ought not return to interrogation because the agency hasn’t historically done it. To California Democrat Kamala Harris, she repeatedly refused to answer, instead praising the CIA’s “extraordinary work” and saying that now she accepts a “higher moral standard.” That was the same answer she gave Warner, which Warner called “legalistic.” When Martin Heinrich of New Mexico asked where her conscience was during the torture program, she ultimately answered with a reference to her parents raising her the right way.

Republicans, with the exception of Maine’s Susan Collins, were less interested in the question. Chairman Richard Burr, an opponent of the Senate torture report, said at the outset he supports Haspel, who has “acted morally, ethically and legally over a 30-year career.” Florida’s Marco Rubio referred to Haspel being “smeared” by the torture questioning. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, himself floated as a possible Trump CIA director, accused Democrats of hypocrisy in supporting Obama CIA Director John Brennan, whom Haspel quickly affirmed was the CIA’s fourth most senior leader after 9/11 (and whom has similarly refused to address his involvement in torture).

As Haspel gained more full-throated support from Republicans and deflected the Democrats, she felt emboldened enough to take umbrage at the torture questioning itself. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, said she “suggested that [torture] was good tradecraft” and asked if it would be moral if one of her officers “was captured and subjected to waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques which you, I believe, supervised.”

“Senator, I don’t believe the terrorists follow any guidelines or civilized norms or the law. CIA follows the law,” Haspel said.

“Excuse me, madam. You seem to be saying that you were not following civilized norms and the law when you were conducting those self same activities, if that’s the analogy you’re going to draw,” Reed said. “A civilized nation was doing it, until it was outlawed by this Congress.” (Torture was illegal before 9/11, though the Justice Department wrote a much-derided and ultimately retracted opinion blessing the CIA’s torture program.)

“Senator, I would never, obviously, support inhumane treatment of any CIA officers,” she said. “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed personally killed a Wall Street Journal correspondent and filmed that. I don’t think there’s any comparison between CIA officers serving their country, adhering to U.S. law, and terrorists who by their very definition are not following anybody’s law.”

Performances like that help explain Haspel’s extremely deep support within the CIA, as demonstrated by several open letters from agency veterans (PDF).

Haspel is as CIA as it gets: a 33-year operations officer, not an analyst, who would be the first such individual to lead the agency since the Church and Pike Commissions reined in the agency in the 1970s. She framed her recent opposition to torture in terms of “risk” to the CIA itself, not in terms of harm to its captives—one of whom died, while another was punched in the abdomen while pregnant.

Her combination of obfuscation, defiance, and explicit invocation of 9/11 to shut down torture questions echoed Brennan’s own response to the Senate torture report—which she referred to as the “SSCI Majority Report,” the language agency veterans and Republicans use when they want to dismiss it as shallow and partisan. And she echoed the CIA’s recent stance that it’s “unknowable” whether the torture the agency once portrayed as necessary actually worked, a position it adopted once agnosticism became more politically useful than endorsement.

Haspel entered the hearing with doubts about whether she wanted the directorship enough to subject herself to a grueling inquest into her background. She reportedly talked about dropping out as recently as late last week until the White House pledged full support.

But Haspel left the hearing with no doubt that she wants to run Langley—and did so while sparing herself any substantive public investigation. For good measure, in a nod to her new relationship with Trump, Haspel dismissed as a “hypothetical” questions about Trump asking the same personal loyalty of her that he asked of ex-FBI Director James Comey; declined to say she would inform Congress if he does; and said Trump, who has compared the CIA to Nazis, has shown the agency “enormous respect.”

Feinstein and Warner, critical Democratic votes in a Senate where Democratic support will determine her directorship, said after the public hearing they were undecided on Haspel. Manchin, whom Haspel physically embraced ahead of the hearing and whom Trump has recently attacked, said she had his vote.

“Confirming her,” said Jones, the lead torture-report investigator, “would send a terrible message to the CIA workforce, our citizens and the world. There has to be some level of accountability—or this, or something like it, will happen again.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/gina-hasp ... e?ref=wrap
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
#WhyIDidntReport
‘empowerment through empathy’ #metoo.”

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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 10, 2018 3:14 pm

The Banality Of Haspel

May 9, 2018John Feffer

by John Feffer

Gina Haspel is a consummate professional who has served the U.S. intelligence community with distinction for more than 30 years.

As the Trump administration’s nominee to head up the Central Intelligence Agency, Haspel has received endorsements from six former CIA directors, three former directors of national intelligence, and two former secretaries of state. It would be hard to find someone with more experience to run the CIA.

And that’s why she’s a terrible choice.

I’m not just talking about her involvement in the torture policy of the George W. Bush administration. I’m talking about her 33 years of quiet service to the Agency.

The CIA needs a Scott Pruitt or a Ben Carson. It needs someone who is dead set against the very nature of the organization, just as Scott Pruitt is anti-environment and Ben Carson could care less about housing and urban development (at least for the people who need it most).

Gina Haspel is just the type of status-quo choice that Donald Trump promised not to make. She’s not a swamp-drainer.

She’s a swamp thing.

That’s why I just love White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ confrontational tweet:

There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel. Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite.

Sanders is right — the Democrats probably would have tried to avoid the whole torture controversy if Obama had nominated Haspel. But that’s not the point. Trump was never about qualifications (or else he himself wouldn’t have made it past the primaries). So, let’s call the Dems partial hypocrites but reserve the attribute “total” for the current commander-in-chief for nominating a company woman when he pledged to shake up Washington.

And let’s take a closer look at just how Gina Haspel’s banality is the problem, not the solution.

Teaching Torture

The CIA didn’t suddenly discover torture after September 11. Throughout its history, the Agency has been intimately associated with operations that have involved torture and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” to use the banal phrase of the George W. Bush administration.

In the 1960s, the CIA developed a torture manual codenamed KUBARK that outlined various “coercive counterintelligence interrogation” techniques including sensory deprivation, threats and fear, “inducing physical weakness,” and, of course, pain. Although the manual details why inflicting pain is frequently counterproductive, many of the military regimes that drew on this manual ignored the caveats.

In 1983, KUBARK became the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, which U.S. allies used, often with the direct assistance of the CIA. Writes Laura Smith in Timeline:

The 1983 manual was discussed in Senate Intelligence Committee hearings in 1988 because of human rights atrocities committed by the CIA-trained Honduran military, Battallion 316, which the Center for Justice and Accountability called a “death squad.” CIA operatives trained them “side by side” with torturers from Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Demonstrations were done on live prisoners. Battalion 316 would arrive in unmarked cars and whisk people away for violent interrogations. They disappeared 184 people whose bodies were never found, not to mention the many who were tortured and survived? — ?many of whom were “peaceful leftists.”

So, after 2001, the CIA could draw on its own history and the experience of its own authoritarian allies to create black sites in various countries — Thailand, Poland, Romania, Morocco, Lithuania, Afghanistan, Bosnia — where it would send suspected terrorists, via “extraordinary rendition,” to be tortured.

This was no rogue operation, like Oliver North running his covert op within the National Security Council during the Reagan years. In summer 2002, the George W. Bush administration developed a legal rationale for torture. On July 24, Attorney General John Ashcroft approved the use of “the attention grasp, walling, the facial hold, the facial slap (insult slap), cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, use of diapers, and use of insects.” On July 26, he approved waterboarding. Once the CIA got this approval, the interrogators did the rest.

But not everyone in the Agency went along. Most notably, CIA agent John Kiriakou protested the use of waterboarding and then spoke to the press about it. Others within the Agency grumbled privately. By the time of the 2016 election, the climate of opinion had apparently changed within the CIA. The head of the Agency, John Brennan, declared in July 2016 that he would resign if the next president asked him to resume waterboarding.

Even those involved in torture seemed to have lost their taste for it. “I certainly think many of those who were connected to the [enhanced interrogation techniques] program over its six years’ span — and hundreds are still there — would resign or retire rather than having to go down that perilous road again,” former CIA lawyer John Rizzo predicted in February 2016.

Gina Haspel didn’t resign. She didn’t speak out. She worked quietly in the background.

“She is one of the most accomplished officers of her generation,” former director of the CIA Clandestine Service John Bennett says. “She has taken on some of the most demanding and least rewarding assignments in the War on Terror, not because she sought them out, but because she felt it was her duty.”

Her duty? To run a black site in Thailand? To cover up evidence of the torture that took place there?

She didn’t just obey orders as a lowly grunt, the defense used by Nazi underlings at the Nuremberg trials. She actively sought out the “most demanding” assignments and rose through the ranks accordingly. Advancement by demonstrating that you can do the dirty work without qualms: It’s the same path taken by Vladimir Putin, former KGB bureau chief, on his way to becoming Russian president.

You don’t make waves. You prove your indispensability. You are the irreplaceable cog in an organization doing reprehensible things.

You can’t get more banal than that.

Deconstructing the CIA

The tagline of the popular TV show House used to be: Everyone lies. In the world of geopolitics, the equivalent would be: Everyone spies.

A nation-state as large and powerful as the United States will require an intelligence service, if only to address potential threats to the homeland. But these intelligence agencies can certainly be reformed. Let’s say that former whistleblower John Kiriakou were chosen to head up the CIA. What could he do that Gina Haspel would shy away from even contemplating?

Gina Haspel, during her confirmation hearing, will likely renounce torture as an effective or morally defensible part of interrogation. But nominees will say practically anything to get confirmed. A different kind of nominee determined to transform the agency would take an unequivocal stand on expunging “enhanced interrogation techniques” from the CIA repertoire, counter Trump’s claims that “torture works,” and repudiate the memos Trump’s aides prepared in the early days of the administration on lifting the prohibition on torture.

Next, such a nominee would take a similarly clear stand against the black sites where such interrogations took place, including ships at sea. Also on this list should be Camp Delta in Cuba. The Guantanamo facility has always been an anomaly, a little piece of America in the corner of Cuba. Instead of continuing to hold detainees at the facility there, the United States should transform the base into a medical complex for the Americas. Cuba, a small and relatively poor country, has built a reputation for using its hard-won medical expertise for the benefit of its neighbors. A considerably wealthier country, the United States should do the same.

Transformation of the CIA should include prohibitions against destabilizing foreign governments, extrajudicial assassination, and cyberterrorism. A transformative leader of the Agency should close down the current drone program, which is run by some of the same people who headed up the torture program. The CIA should refocus on intelligence gathering instead of running roughshod over international law.

It’s difficult to know exactly how much money goes to the intelligence community and how it’s spent. A good chunk of the appropriations remains aggregated in a “black budget” that only some members of Congress can eyeball. For fiscal year 2019, Trump asked for $59.9 billion for non-military intelligence agencies and $21.2 billion for military intelligence.

That’s a 3.8 percent and 2.4 percent increase respectively over what Trump requested last year. For comparison purposes, $80 billion is more than what the State Department receives for all of its activities overseas. Reducing funding for the intelligence community would be a judicious husbanding of resources.

Ultimately, the most important CIA reform is for it to come clean about its past. It’s hard to criticize Russian meddling in overseas elections when the United States remains unapologetic about similar activities conducted in the past. It’s hard to push for other governments to adhere to strict human rights accords when U.S. intelligence services have bent the rules on innumerable occasions. It’s hard to join hands with other countries to combat common threats — the Islamic State, cyberterrorism from non-state actors — when there’s so little trust about what the United States is doing under cover of darkness.

Sure, Gina Haspel will embrace the mantra of “reform.” But that just means bureaucratic reorganization and modernization of capabilities. Haspel is not a force for change. Whatever her personal qualities and talents, she is the bland face of a bloated, often ineffectual, and frequently malign organization.

The EPA? The Energy Department? HUD? No, it’s the CIA that really needs a thorough rethink.
https://lobelog.com/the-banality-of-haspel/


Cheney calls for US to restart interrogation programs
BY MORGAN GSTALTER - 05/10/18 12:16 PM EDT 465

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the CIA should restart the controversial enhanced interrogation program used during the George W. Bush administration.

“If it were my call, I would not discontinue those programs. I'd have them active and ready to go,” Cheney said during an interview with Fox Business. “And I'd go back and study them and learn."

Cheney, a former secretary of Defense, has long defended the interrogation program that was launched after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While critics denounce the techniques that were used as torture, Cheney says the program was necessary to keep the nation safe.


“I think the techniques we used were not torture. A lot of people try to call it that, but it wasn’t deemed torture at the time,” he told Maria Bartiromo. “People want to go back and try to rewrite history, but if it were my call, I’d do it again.”
Following the capture of terrorist suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11, Cheney said the only method to collect information couldn't just be “please tell us.”

“You tell me that the only method we have is 'please, please, pretty please, tell us what you know?' Well, I don’t buy that,” Cheney said.

The Senate outlawed the use of torture and other brutal interrogation techniques like waterboarding and “rectal feeding” in 2015.

The move followed a scathing, 6,700-page report released by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee that detailed the brutal treatment of prisoners in the CIA’s former interrogation programs.

Cheney’s comment came during the Gina Haspel’s difficult confirmation process for CIA director.

“I think she’d be a great CIA director,” Cheney said of President Trump’s nominee. “I think she’s done a great job in terms of the career she’s built, and the people I know at the agency are very enthusiastic about having one of their own, so to speak, in the driver’s seat at the CIA.”

Haspel, who is currently the acting director, appeared before lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday to defend her past involvement in the interrogation program.

She vowed that she would not bring back the techniques, even though Trump has said in the past that "torture works" and he would bring willing to bring back waterboarding.
http://thehill.com/homenews/news/387109 ... n-programs
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
#WhyIDidntReport
‘empowerment through empathy’ #metoo.”

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Re: Torture Report

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 10, 2018 9:26 pm


emptywheel

This seems to suggest (what I feared) that the videos depicting Haspel torturing were among those that got damaged b4 anyone else at CIA could see them.

Image

A day after the woman nominated to be CIA Director's hearing, it seems most people are finding Jose Rodriguez' account of the torture tape destruction more credible than hers which is something, esp bc she was under oath.


Gina Haspel’s Testimony About C.I.A. Torture Raises New Questions

May 10, 2018

Gina Haspel’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday was laced with ambiguities about the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program and her understanding of limits on the agency’s powers.Tom Brenner/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A day after Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., refused during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday to condemn the agency’s torture of Qaeda suspects, several lawmakers and human-rights advocates said aspects of her testimony merited greater scrutiny.

While Ms. Haspel, the agency’s acting director, vowed never to start another detention and interrogation program, her testimony was laced with ambiguities about the program and her understanding of limits on the C.I.A.’s powers. For example, she promised to follow “the law” but insisted that the agency’s interrogations were legal at the time.

Against that backdrop, her critics pointed with suspicion to several of her comments during her testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

At one point, for example, she told Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, that “I was not even read into the interrogation program until it had been up and running for a year.”

Being “read in” means being briefed about classified information. The agency started its torture program in the summer of 2002, months after the capture of Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee the agency took into custody and for whom it initially developed its list of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, like waterboarding.

By late 2002, Ms. Haspel was running a secret C.I.A. prison in Thailand where another detainee in her custody, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was subjected to waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation and other such tactics.

Asked about the apparent discrepancy, Ryan Trapani, an agency spokesman, said in a statement, “Acting Director Haspel has said that she was briefed on some of C.I.A.’s more sensitive counterterrorism authorities and activities in October 2002.”

The C.I.A. considered its interrogations to be part of a detention and rendition program that operated under a then-classified memorandum that President George W. Bush issued in September 2001. It authorized the agency to capture and detain terrorists, but it did not mention interrogations, enhanced or otherwise.

Ms. Haspel later became chief of staff to the head of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez. In 2005, as the torture program was coming under investigation, she drafted an order, which he issued, to destroy 92 videotapes of interrogation sessions.

Ms. Haspel’s testimony about that episode also attracted scrutiny. For example, she told Ms. Feinstein that the destroyed videotapes “were recordings of only one detainee.”

“It was 92 tapes of one detainee,” she said.

But while most of the tapes depicted interrogations of Mr. Zubaydah, two were long believed to be of Mr. Nashiri, the detainee who was tortured in her custody.

Memoirs by Mr. Rodriguez and by John Rizzo, the C.I.A.’s top lawyer during much of the Bush administration, both said Mr. Nashiri’s interrogations were videotaped, although by late 2002 the agency had switched to a practice of taping over the previous recording each day.

C.I.A. documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit list two tapes for Mr. Nashiri marked “tape and rewind” and “use and rewind.” They do not indicate that their final sessions were taped over or otherwise destroyed, however.

“Gina Haspel supervised the torture of al-Nashiri, which raises the stakes on the question of whether there were or were not remaining tapes of his torture,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the A.C.L.U.’s national security project.

Asked about the apparent discrepancy, the C.I.A. pointed without comment to several pages of another document previously released under the Freedom of Information Act that discussed how the agency logged the contents of the 92 tapes before destroying them. It said 11 were blank, two were blank “except for one or two minutes of recording,” and “two were broken and could not be reviewed.”

Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Haspel were later investigated by John Durham, an assistant United States attorney. Mr. Durham ultimately recommended filing no charges over the tape destruction, but his report laying out his findings and reasoning is secret. (The New York Times lost a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to make it public.)

The Trump administration has disclosed the executive summary of Mr. Durham’s report to the Intelligence Committee, and on Thursday, Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for it to be made available to the full Senate, calling it “critically important” that all lawmakers have access to it. Several Democratic senators had already asked for that step.

Also on Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said he wanted to know more about an apparent discrepancy in how Ms. Haspel and Mr. Rodriguez have described their discussions about the tape destruction order.

In an interview published on Wednesday by ProPublica, Mr. Rodriguez said he told Ms. Haspel that he was going to take matters into his own hands because he had concluded that the director at the time, Porter Goss, would never approve their destruction. But Ms. Haspel said on Wednesday that the conversation never happened. She said that Mr. Rodriguez instead told her that he would discuss the issue with Mr. Goss before issuing the order, but then he sent it without having spoken to Mr. Goss.

Mr. Rodriguez’s comments were ambiguous, however. He also told ProPublica, “She may have thought I was going to talk to more people about it before hitting ‘send,’ but I had made up my mind.” But Mr. Wyden said that the Senate needed to clarify what happened.

“Gina Haspel has claimed for years that she believed her boss would get signoff before ordering the destruction of the torture tapes,” Mr. Wyden said. “But her boss says he told her otherwise. We need to get to the bottom of what Gina Haspel did, and what she knew, before the Senate votes on her nomination.”

Ms. Haspel seems likely to be narrowly confirmed. One Republican senator, John McCain of Arizona, said he would oppose her, but a Democrat, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, said he would support her. The Intelligence Committee is likely to receive written answers to its follow-up questions early next week, after which the panel would vote, leading to a full Senate vote late next week or, more likely, early the following one, congressional aides said.

At that pace, the Senate is unlikely to hear from an unusual voice trying to weigh in: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, who was also tortured by the C.I.A. His lawyers have asked a military judge at the Guantánamo Bay wartime prison to grant permission for their client to send six paragraphs of information about Ms. Haspel to the Senate.

But on Thursday, one of his defense lawyers, David Nevin, said that the judge had issued a briefing order for the request that requires the government to respond by May 15, with a defense reply due on May 21. Any ruling would come after that.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/10/us/p ... rture.html
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
#WhyIDidntReport
‘empowerment through empathy’ #metoo.”

on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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