Daily Revolt

December 08, 2007

Did Bush Know About the CIA Tapes?

It looks like Congress will finally do the right thing and begin an serious investigation into the criminal conduct of the administration involving those destroyed CIA interrogation tapes. I think this time around Mr.Bush won't be able to escape legal accountability:
In an e-mail distributed to CIA employees yesterday in advance of a New York Times report, Hayden wrote: "When President Bush officially acknowledged in September 2006 the existence of CIA's counter-terror initiative, he talked about Zubaydah, noting that this terrorist survived solely because of medical treatment arranged by CIA. Under normal questioning, Zubaydah became defiant and evasive. It was clear, in the President's words, that 'Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking.'

"That made imperative the use of other means to obtain the information - means that were lawful, safe, and effective. To meet that need, CIA designed specific, appropriate interrogation procedures." (Here is a link to Hayden's entire email, annotated by legal blogger Marty Lederman.)

Indeed, in his September 2006 speech on treating and trying terrorist suspects, Bush proudly described how Zubaydah -- "a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden" -- was questioned using the CIA's new "alternative set of procedures" and then "began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th."

But soon after that speech Bush's statements about Zubaydah were almost entirely contradicted by authoritative accounts from two investigative reporters: author Ron Suskind and Times reporter David Johnston.

Zubaydah, it turns out, was a mentally ill minor functionary, nursed back to health by the FBI, who under torture sent investigators chasing after false leads about al-Qaeda plots on American nuclear plants, water systems, shopping malls, banks and supermarkets.

[...]Mark Mazzetti writes in the New York Times: "The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency's custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

"The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects -- including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody -- to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said. . . .

"The destruction of the tapes raises questions about whether agency officials withheld information from Congress, the courts and the Sept. 11 commission about aspects of the program. . . .

Then there was the White House news briefing by the Press Secretary Dana Perino, that sounded like a panicked administration in full-fledged damage control:
"The only thing Bush didn't get then, she explained, were 'the raw detail in terms of the sources and methods' and what sort of checking was going to be done.

"'I can see where you could see that the president could have been more precise in that language,' she said. 'But the president was being truthful.'

[...]Loven also points out that Perino actually had to correct herself about something after the briefing: "During her daily briefing with reporters, Perino initially said that 'what we know right now, for sure, is that Iran is enriching uranium, which is fissile material, to get a bomb.'

"Later, she said that what she meant was that Iran is enriching uranium 'which can lead to fissile material to get a bomb.'"

Here's the transcript of the suspicious press briefing by Perino

Read the entire Washington Post Article...

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home