Blogs » Politcs Plus » Senate inquiry on torture and more photos


Yesterday,Senator Sheldon Whitehouse held the preliminary hearing on the U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects in the wake of 9/11.

Condoleezza Rice's former Deputy Secretary Phillip Zelikow was the first witness to strike a blow against the Bush Administration's use of torture. Mr. Zelikow was also the executive direction of the 9/11 Commission and in that role he admitted his panel had reservations about the harsh interrogations that were used and how those methods would affect the credibility of the information and the interrogators. He went onto say that he had written a memo saying that water boarding and the sleep deprivation methods being used were in direct violation of the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. You could make an argument that Mr. Zelikow is trying to cover his hide because he is the one that led the charge to oust President Clinton's al Qaeda counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke…Richard Clarke will have a story to tell later on.

I found it odd that FBI interrogator Ali Soufan was hidden behind an enclosed shelter, when he gave his testimony. Mr. Soufan gave the most damaging evidence against the use of torture to acquire actionable information. The witness said that when he used the legal techniques, Abu Zaubayha ousted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Seik Mohamed and Jose Padilla..The CIA wanted more; so they turned to two $1000 a day psychologists (with no interrogation experience) Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell; to direct their intense interrogation (torture) program.Abu Zaubayha stopped talking when he started receiving the 83 water boarding’s in August of 2002..FBI Director Robert Mueller did not want any part of it, so he pulled the FBI out.

This hearing took several talking points off the table for the next more serious hearings, possibly before a special prosecutor.

  1. This will eliminate the "ends justify the means" excuse.
  2. Retaliation as a threat will not work…On the house side Nancy Pelosi is saying "brings it on" followed by Senators Rockefeller and Bob Graham.
  3. This will stop the current administration's cover-up of its predecessor’s misdeeds.
  4. Senator Whitehouse has seen the information Dick Cheney wants released, so he more than happy to oblige.

*CNN just reported that the CIA will not release the classified documents Cheney is requesting..That is too bad. 1. It will fuel the GOP conspiracy theory 2. Dick Cheney deserves his day in court. 3. The president and Senator Whitehouse don't think Cheney can prove his case with the documents he is requesting. 4.I think the CIA is playing both sides of the fence to save their hide. ********** This is why I think the CIA is playing a serious game of CYA.

The CIA recently released a report detailing the dates that key members of Congress had been briefed about the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation program,” but acknowledged in a letter accompanying the report that they couldn’t vouch for its complete accuracy.

Graham’s pronouncement is startling in light of claims by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi contesting the accuracy of the CIA report, and may call into question the veracity of the report as a whole.

“When I asked the CIA what dates was I briefed, they gave me four dates, two in April, two in September of ‘02,” Graham said. “On three of the four occasions, when I consulted my schedule and my notes, it was clear that no briefing took place on that date, and the CIA eventually concurred in that. So their record keeping is a little bit suspect.

“I have no recollection during the briefing that I did receive on September 27 of ‘02 that the issue of waterboarding Zubaydah or other extreme interrogation techniques was discussed,” Graham added, referring to one of the Bush administration’s al Qaeda detainees. “I think I have a pretty good memory and if something as dramatic as that had been discussed at any level of specificity I would not only have remembered it but would have been motivated to do something about it. Get the Audio of Graham’s appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer show for the senator's version of the facts.

I have mixed feels about releasing the photos of the abused detainees but for now I will side with the president's recent reversal...Pakistan is a hot bed that could lead to civil war in that country, right now we don't need any more enemies in that region. My civil libertarian side thinks that the ACLU will take its case to the SCOTUS and win.