Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Torture Report: Time For Obama To Start Looking Backward

Our intelligence services have developed a culture of impunity; the only transgressions that ever get prosecuted are "leaks" from whistleblowers exposing the rampant violation of our laws, international law, and the Constitution.  It's long past time for Obama to start "looking backward"  . . . these unprosecuted crimes have infected our institutions like gangrene.  And it's not just the rank-and-file torturer that smust be charged, but also the executive level leaders and the politicians of the Bush administration that must be held to account.  And the lawyers who gave them cover.  John Yoo, for example, should be prosecuted, disbarred, and imprisoned.  Instead he's teaching law.
One official said that almost all of the critical threat-related information from Abu Zubaida was obtained during the period when he was questioned by Soufan at a hospital in Pakistan, well before he was interrogated by the CIA and waterboarded 83 times.
Information obtained by Soufan, however, was passed up through the ranks of the U.S. intelligence community, the Justice Department and Congress as though it were part of what CIA interrogators had obtained, according to the committee report.
“The CIA conflated what was gotten when, which led them to misrepresent the effectiveness of the program,” said a second U.S. official who has reviewed the report. The official described the persistence of such misstatements as among “the most damaging” of the committee’s conclusions.
Detainees’ credentials also were exaggerated, officials said. Agency officials described Abu Zubaida as a senior al-Qaeda operative — and, therefore, someone who warranted coercive techniques — although experts later determined that he was essentially a facilitator who helped guide recruits to al-Qaeda training camps.
The CIA also oversold the role of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. sailors. CIA officials claimed he was the “mastermind.”
The committee described a similar sequence in the interrogation of Hassan Ghul, an al-Qaeda operative who provided a critical lead in the search for bin Laden: the fact that the al-Qaeda leader’s most trusted courier used the moniker “al-Kuwaiti.”
But Ghul disclosed that detail while being interrogated by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq who posed questions scripted by CIA analysts. The information from that period was subsequently conflated with lesser intelligence gathered from Ghul at a secret CIA prison in Romania, officials said. Ghul was later turned over to authorities in Pakistan, where he was subsequently released. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in 2012.
What happens to untreated gangrene, anyway?

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