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Smoke in Our Eyes: CIA Torture Tape Story Attacks NIE, Pulls Bush-Cheney Feet From Fire

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:05 PM
Original message
Smoke in Our Eyes: CIA Torture Tape Story Attacks NIE, Pulls Bush-Cheney Feet From Fire
At the start of this week, the big news was the NIE Report which Dick Cheney had suppressed for up to a year by some accounts. While he and W. had attempted to sell the nation another war of choice in the Middle Eastthis time against a phantom nuclear armed Iran---the US intelligence community had already concluded that the Iranians had stopped their nuclear weapons program back in 2003. Maybe with Saddam no longer a threat, Iran did not need nukes as a deterrent against their biggest enemy. Maybe world pressure had worked. No matter what the cause, it was not news that the White House wanted to hear. The NeoCon agenda (which dates back to the first oil crisis of the 1970s) called for appropriating nationalized oil all around the world, including that which lies under Persian soil.

So, Dick Cheney kept Americans from hearing the truth---that Iran had no nukes and wasnt trying to build nukes---while he and W. went on a cross country tour for a solid year trying to instill the terrifying image of mushroom clouds rising over Israel or engulfing US troops in Iraq. As Keith Olbermann and others have made quite clear, Bush himself knew about the NIE at least by August. Calculated liar that he is, Bush continued to deceive to the public by innuendo and by withholding the truth for three more months---why? In hopes that he could provoke a war in the meantime that would render the NIE irrelevant? More than likely.

Finally, the report could be delayed no longer. The backlash was much worse that Bush and Cheney could have imagined. A majority of U.S. citizens had suspected all along that they were being lied to about Iran by an administration that wanted to start another war of choice for oil. Here was the proof, in black and white, from the same intelligence community which had possessed doubts about Saddams WMDs. Bush ignored the CIA back in 2003 and look what a mess that had caused. Never again!

Early last week, we heard speculation about Congressional investigations to find out about when and how much Bush and Cheney knew when they were giving their Iran is a nuclear threat speeches. There was renewed talk about impeachment. KO gave an impassioned special message about W.s lies.The press began to celebrate the end of Iran as a topic of public debate.

They forgot that Cheney is like the Terminator. He never, ever stops.

What happened next should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Bush family. Whenever a member of that self aggrandized clan is threatened in the eyes of public opinion by the fire of a scandal, another fire always springs up. The second fire is flashier and makes more smoke. It touches the Bush clan, but in a more peripheral way. The focal point of the scandal---the target, as it were---is generally some well chosen scapegoat or sometimes it is a war or a dramatic shift in public policy or a wild rumor or a federal prosecution of a high profile figure. If damning information must be revealed, it can be timed to coincide with something so big that it will be ignored by the public. The result--- everyone, the public and the press are required to turn their eyes from whatever the Bush family member wants ignored in order to stare at the bonfire which has been created expressly for their entertainment.

I illustrated this pr strategy at my cartoon website, Grand Theft Election Ohio. Smoke Got In Their Eyes Everyone who follows the Bush family should familiarize themselves with this tactic. Papa Bush uses it. Rove uses it. Cheney uses it.

http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/060127.htm

Now, I want to ask a basic question. How did a story about something that happened in 2005 suddenly become front page news, right when Bush and Cheney needed a media distraction the most? And why this story, which puts the credibility of the agency which threatens Bush-Cheney credibility on the line?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/washington/07intel.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

The New York Times informed the intelligence agency on Wednesday evening that it was preparing to publish an article about the destruction of the tapes. In his statement to employees on Thursday, General Hayden said that the agency had acted in line with the law and that he was informing C.I.A. employees because the press has learned about the matter.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7132000.stm

The New York Times, which broke the story, quotes current and former government officials as saying the CIA destroyed the tapes in 2005 as it faced Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention programme.


Could the NYT source be the same source as the one that talked to CBS?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/06/terror/main3586578.shtml


A well informed source tells CBS News the videotapes of U.S. interrogations of two high level al Qaeda operatives were destroyed to protect CIA officers from criminal prosecution, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.


CBS, as we all know by now, is owned by Viacom, which has been doing the White Houses bidding since well before 2004, when it media lynched Dan Rather in order to preserve its precious TV holdings.

I dont know about you, but I would love to know the identity of the current and former government officials who chose to tell CBS and the NYTs right now that the CIA destroyed its torture tapes back in 2005. While the NYT story is not written by Michael Gordon, the human voice activated tape recorder who is so fond of blindly repeating whatever lies the administration has to make about Iran, we have all witnessed that newspapers obsession with provoking US-Iranian hostilities. The NIE must have come as quite a blow. The NYTs loves to play politics. Did someone at the paper arrange to run this story in order to force the CIA to admit that they had destroyed the torture tapes?

This would accomplish two very important things. First, it would take the immediate heat off Cheney and Bush. As we are witnessing, Congressional Dems are now exclaiming Obstruction of Justice! With visions of Watergate dancing in their heads, they are demanding investigations, special prosecutors, the works. All talk of investigating Bush and Cheney lies have been put on the back burner. It is one thing to lie. It is quite another to destroy a tape.

And then there is this part to make the Democrats sit up and take special notice:

http://wcco.com/national/cia.videotapes.destroyed.2.606700.html

At least one White House official, then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers, knew about the CIA's planned destruction of videotapes in 2005 that documented the interrogation of two al Qaeda operatives, ABC news reported Friday. Three officials told ABC News that Miers urged the CIA not to destroy the tapes. White House officials declined to comment on the report.


That crumb might have been tossed out to lend some hope that the tape destruction might possibly be tied to the White House. Of course, later it would be revealed that she was the only WH official ever consulted, and all she did was tell them No as any good lawyer should.

Oh, and look, Congress is implicated, at least after the fact.

The Senate Intelligence Committee did not learn of the tapes' destruction until November 2006, and Chairman Jay Rockefeller, who then was the ranking minority member on the committee, said he was not told in 2003 of the plan to destroy them. The House Intelligence Committee learned of the tapes' destruction in March 2007.


This scandal is sort of muddy. Not all nice and clear like Bush Lied About Iran.

I can already tell you how this one will play out. Because I have seen it all before. Someone or a couple of someones at the CIA will be thrown under the bus. Maybe this man. Bonus points to the White House for finding someone with an Hispanic surname.

The decision to destroy the tapes was made by Jose Rodriguez, then the head of the CIA's clandestine directorate of operations under CIA Director Porter Goss.


The White House will be exonerated. The left wing bloggo-sphere will be convinced that Bush-Cheney got away with another crime, but what can you do? It must be the fault of the wimpy Democratic Congress. Congress will be pilloried in the press for knowing about it a year ago, but not doing anything about it. (By not doing anything about it, the press means not holding a loaded gun to the head of a NYT editor and forcing him to run the story before he felt like running it.) So, the public will be left with the impression that politics is a dirty, sordid business, and that Democrats are as corrupt as Republicans---which is exactly what the GOP wants Americans to believe. This fosters voter apathy, which makes people turn off the news and stay home on election day. Low turn out favors the Republican Party, since their base always votes.

And now, for the second and most important reason why the NYT and the White House wanted this two year old story broken now. If the CIA is discredited in public as a criminal enterprise, then the Republicans will be able to call the recent NIE a bunch of lies. Americans tend to see things in black and white. Early this week, Bush was a villain and the intelligence community was the hero. Now, the CIA is the bad guy. The press will be free to portray the CIA as a bunch of lawless rogues who do whatever the hell they please, based upon this one episode---and with their character reduced to an oil smear on the information highway, it will be oh so easy for the Republicans to convince at least their own base and a handful of Independents that you can not trust anything those spies do, even their intelligence estimates of Irans nuclear weapons program.

I do not know that Cheney is behind this story. It is possible that it comes from someone else in the White House. It is also possible that someone in Congress tried to interest the NYTs in the story a year ago, and the newspaper of record yawned over it---until they felt a need to discredit the CIA in order to help the White House in its push to war with Iran. It is even possible that the source come from within the CIA. That organization loves Papa Bush to death. Seeing his son threatened with impeachment and with public humiliation by the press, he may have called in favors from friends in the CIA and had them leak the story.

The reason I suspect Cheney is because the story benefits him more than anyone else. Also, there is someone in the White House who has a predilection for two-fer dirty tricks. An example was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon which was timed to occur on the last possible day when Valerie Plame could file her civil suit against Cheney. That invasion spared Cheney a lot of bad press, since it wiped her suit off the front page. It also was an attempt to draw Iran into a war with Israel, which might have allowed the US to finally engage that country in a war. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon was planned six months in advance, and the US knew about it in advance, which would have allowed Cheney to help coordinate the invasion date.

I know that Bush isnt smart enough to be Mr. Two-fer, but Cheney certainly is.

The moral is, we all have plenty of outrage to go around. Spend some of it on torture and obstruction of justice by the CIA, but do not forget the NIE , Iran and the latest Bush, Cheney lies. Or else, three months from now, you will find that the press has concluded that the latest NIE is a bunch of biased hooey written by a criminal organization, Iran is sitting on nukes, and we need to invade in March, before it gets too hot.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. The torture story by no means helps the White House.
I see both stories--the forced release of the NIE and the documentation of torture--as two shots fired from the same gun, namely, from the careerist, professional wing of the CIA. Bushco how has alligators on 2 sides, not just 1. They were trying to lie us into another war, and they were engaged in criminal--and totally ineffective--antiterrorist measures. I fail to see how having tow huge problems is better for them than just having one.

And furthermore, I predict at least one more big, crushing news dump from the CIA before Christmas. I don't know what it will be, but it will be devastating in its implications for the gang of criminals on top of our government.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Agree, the two stories are related
and enhance each other, not the other way around. And I also agree that both point to some form of rebellion within the intelligence community.

Rockefeller and Hagel (head and member of the senate intelligence committee) will be on Face the Nation tomorrow. I do not expect any revelations, but it should be interesting to see what each will have to say. Rockefeller's statements these last couple of days have been muddy at best, and Hagel has come out strongly in favor of unconditional talks with Iran, and that was a couple of weeks or so BEFORE the NIE.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. PS Freepers On the March: The RW Spin Always Starts Here, So I Went to See What They Are Saying
Just as I predicted...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1936459/posts?page=21

To: Kaslin
What almost all the MSM reporting fails to disclose is the congressional committee leaders "D" & "R" were briefed on this when it happened.

Amazing, it was not all foaming at the mouth Dims all the time when it was disclosed
17 posted on 12/07/2007 6:19:12 PM PST by Popman (My doohickey is discombobulated)



and then this one

To: Kaslin

So, is this the CIA we all love and trust, the one that did the NIE and is battling against Bushs lies, or the eeeeeevillllll CIA that does Bushs bidding? Which one lost the tapes?

20 posted on 12/07/2007 8:16:53 PM PST by Defiant (Huckabee puts the goober back in gubernatorial.)
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. my thanks to all of you brave enough, with strong enough stomachs, to wade into that cesspool.
Edited on Sat Dec-08-07 02:36 PM by niyad
have a nice drink on me!!
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. What part of "warring factions"
is beyond the cognitive capacity of these clowns?
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sicksicksick_N_tired Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Yes. They do. Explain WH assertion that NO APPROVAL was given to destroy that evidence. nt
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
3. I guess they realized releasing another OBL video probably wouldn't work anymore.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:38 PM
Response to Original message
6. I will believe that Miers warned the CIA...
...when I see evidence that has been forensically examined for authenticity of date.
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JustAnotherGen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
7. Couldn't agree with you more . . .
And that whole Freeper thread? Yuck.

The minute I saw the word "Islamofascist" my eyes started to bleed. Those people terrify me.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
8. If it was Cheney who is certainly suspect
to take the heat off, he forgot one very important thing that everyone knows..You don't screw with the CIA. I expect more this coming week.
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Stalwart Donating Member (180 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
9. Perhaps in this escalating game
of strike and counter strike one side holds a "nuclear option" that it is getting closer to using. Perhaps there is a MAD level that is being threatened but we know nothing about.

Unlike release of a real nuc which is highly controlled (?????) by two person rules, etc. the control of whatever "nuclear option" information one side has on the other is not so well controlled.

Maybe as each side gets closer some loose cannon will release (out of fear/hate/revenge/if I go down you go down) whatever their "nuc option" is and it will result in their MAD that will benefit all when their MAD reveals the truth.

Did I just forecast the biggest thing since....................
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
10. I was thinking the same thing. On a google news search....
the intelligence community is taking a worse hit than Bush and Cheney who once again have the media talking heads protecting them.

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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Maybe so...
I do not really know. But if that's the case, I do not think it will be for long.
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DeanDem10 Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
13. You raise some really good points...
You raise some really good points. However, the information about the content of the tapes is so overwhelming that I wonder if the motivation was as you suggest. Certainly part of the information released today at Huffington Post by Gene Posner, was known previously. But the news is so troubling and so systemic that it's doubtful that cover-up on such a wide scale could have occurred by the CIA alone. It goes to the close relationship with the Saudi's and the curious patience with Pakistan's leader as well.
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DeanDem10 Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
14. One more thing...
Your journals are superb. I look forward to reading them!
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wiggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
15. I think the tapes destruction story will end up helping the WH in a variety of
ways...

...the CIA once again is the dunce, not the WH

...I bet the tapes will show minor abuse, making the implication that this is the worst the administration has to hide regarding torture. Like the AWOL story for which there was a huge story underneath, the appearance of investigation and resolution will keep a cover on the rest.

...or I bet there's more on the horizon and this is an attempt to slowly acclimate the public to further allegations (this has happened numerous times previously...if they are admitting something you can bet there's more)

...the NIE takes a back seat, as you say

...the Justice Dept will investigate and will take months and will eventually be thwarted or will find minor wrong doing by underlings.
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sicksicksick_N_tired Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. The director was a bushite. eom
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
16. Fun WaPo chat about the CIA story.
Go here to post:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/washingtonpostinvestigations/2007/12/the_missing_cia_tapes.html

WaPo is reminding us that their own Dana Priest got a Pulitzer for telling us all the criminal stuff that the CIA (along with the WH) was up to in 2005. The part about Cheney's collusion is important.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2006/04/17/LI2006041700530.html Full list of stories

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/01/AR2005110101644.html Story about CIA secret prisons

The CIA and the White House, citing national security concerns and the value of the program, have dissuaded Congress from demanding that the agency answer questions in open testimony about the conditions under which captives are held. Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.

snip

Those concerns escalated last month, when Vice President Cheney and CIA Director Porter J. Goss asked Congress to exempt CIA employees from legislation already endorsed by 90 senators that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoner in U.S. custody.


Is the press going to remember that the real crime was using torture to extract the confessions, not the destruction of the tapes, and that the torture was done at the request of Dick Cheney?

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santamargarita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
19. Neocon Payback to CIA over NIE Report
They anthrax their political enemies and "out" a CIA agent. So why wouldn't this bunch leak this story as payback to the CIA for the NIE Report?
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
20. It is all coming true as I predicted yesterday....
Front page WaPo: Democrats knew all about CIA torture is the big story.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/08/AR2007120801664.html?hpid%3Dtopnews&sub=AR

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.



As I posted yesterday, this story is supposed to make the Democrats in Congress just as "guilty" as the White House and CIA, so that they will hesitate to investigate the WH or the CIA for the actual torture. It makes the public view torture as a bipartisan issue, taking it off the table as a campaign issue for 2008. It increases voter apathy. It does not, however, take the heat off the CIA for the destruction of the tapes, which is still obstruction of justice, even if torture is not considered a crime. Therefore, Cheney and Bush are free to continue their vendetta against the CIA that started with Plame.

Also in the WaPo, Bolton is allowed to call the NIE politically biased hooey

http://www.star-telegram.com/245/story/348890.html

Many involved in drafting and approving the NIE were not intelligence professionals but refugees from the State Department, brought into the new central bureaucracy of the director of national intelligence. These officials had relatively benign views of Iran's nuclear intentions five and six years ago; now they are writing those views as if they were received wisdom from on high. In fact, these are precisely the policy biases they had before, recycled as "intelligence judgments."



And if this editorial by Jim Hoagland is meant to balance out Bolton's, then the WaPo is going to roll over and sink faster than the Titanic, because this is a much more egregious piece of anti-CIA propaganda :

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/07/AR2007120701982.html

In an editorial called "The spies strike back" (you get this? This is war, not an agency doing its job or preparing a distillation of the truth. The CIA wants power.) he writes

But the CIA, DIA and 14 other agencies grouped under the director of national intelligence also delivered a riveting if implicit X-ray of the changing nature of leadership in Washington, where the White House's once-commanding authority over government has been smashed but not replaced by any other power center.
snip
This happens when intelligence agencies become traumatized by previous mistakes and overreact the other way the next time.
snip
The White House was powerless to prevent publication of a document that made Bush aides unhappy and uncomfortable. The administration went along because it knew that the document -- and any attempt to suppress it -- would have been immediately leaked.
snip
The intelligence community has made itself a separate agency of government, answerable essentially to itself. This NIE makes clear that for better or worse, spy agencies today make the finished product of policy rather than providing the raw materials.
snip
Hayden's appointment 18 months ago to replace the hapless Porter Goss, who replaced the devious George Tenet, began the chain of events that led to Monday's breakout of the analysts. The Air Force general immediately told associates that his mission was to reestablish the agency's credibility, which had been shredded by the failure to detect both that Iraq was working on nuclear weapons in 1990 and was not in 2003. That meant "low-balling" -- or being extremely conservative -- on intelligence estimates to restore confidence, Hayden remarked. Disclosures last week that the CIA had destroyed two videotapes of "severe interrogation techniques" being used on terrorism suspects show how far Hayden has to go and the need for a congressional ban on such practices.


Note that the author is already using the "the CIA destroys tapes, so we know they will do anything to protect their reputation, even cook up a fake NIE" argument.
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-09-07 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
21. K & R
This is an Outstanding post!

My alarm bells also went off when I heard that Harriot Miers had allegedly said "no" to the tape destruction. Right. That happened right after the big blue pigs flew out of my ass.
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