“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

CIA Keeps Secrets Secret by Burning Tapes.

In Shredders We Trust

A couple of comments for the New York Times:

The CIA is not the Village Voice. It is a clandestine intelligence agency designed to protect the USA from foreign enemies. It does so in secrecy. They have shredding machines and burn bags. They practice the "need to know." The CIA is supposed to destroy tapes to keep them out of the way of irresponsible parties such as the agenda driven New York Times that gives not a whit about the consequences of irresponsible reporting.

Given a choice between trusting the New York Times or the CIA would be a toss-up on many matters, but deciding which agency is more trustworthy with classified information? You must be joking.

C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations

Published: December 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.

The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.

The existence and subsequent destruction of the tapes are likely to reignite the debate over the use of severe interrogation techniques on terror suspects, and their destruction raises questions about whether C.I.A. officials withheld information about aspects of the program from the courts and from the Sept. 11 commission appointed by President Bush and Congress. It was not clear who within the C.I.A. authorized the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials said it had been approved at the highest levels of the agency.

The New York Times informed the C.I.A. on Wednesday evening that it planned to publish an article in Friday’s newspaper about the destruction of the tapes. Today, the C.I.A. director, General Michael V. Hayden, wrote a letter to the agency workforce explaining the matter.

The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the Sept. 11 commission, which had made formal requests to the C.I.A. for transcripts and any other documentary evidence taken from interrogations of agency prisoners.

C.I.A. lawyers told federal prosecutors in 2003 and 2005, who relayed the information to a federal court in the Moussaoui case, that the C.I.A. did not possess recordings of interrogations sought by the judge in the case. It was unclear whether the judge had explicitly sought the videotape depicting the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah.

Mr. Moussaoui’s lawyers had hoped that records of the interrogations might provide exculpatory evidence for Mr. Moussaoui — showing that the Al Qaeda detainees did not know Mr. Moussaoui and clearing him of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot.

General Hayden’s statement said that the tapes posed a “serious security risk,” and that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

“What matters here is that it was done in line with the law,” he said. He said in his statement that he was informing agency employees because “the press has learned” about the destruction of the tapes.

General Hayden said in a statement that leaders of Congressional oversight committees were fully briefed on the matter, but some Congressional officials said notification to Congress had not been adequate.

“This is a matter that should have been briefed to the full Intelligence Committee at the time,” an official with the House Intelligence Committee said. “This does not appear to have been done. There may be a very logical reason for destroying records that are no longer needed; however, this requires a more complete explanation. “

Staff members of the Sept. 11 commission, which completed its work in 2004, expressed surprise when they were told that interrogation videotapes existed until 2005.

“The commission did formally request material of this kind from all relevant agencies, and the commission was assured that we had received all the material responsive to our request,” said Philip D. Zelikow, who served as executive director of the Sept. 11 commission and later as a senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“No tapes were acknowledged or turned over, nor was the commission provided with any transcript prepared from recordings,” he said.

Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed.

If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.

General Hayden said the tapes were originally made to ensure that agency employees acted in accordance with “established legal and policy guidelines.” General Hayden said the agency stopped videotaping interrogations in 2002.

“The tapes were meant chiefly as an additional, internal check on the program in its early stages,” his statement read In October, federal prosecutors in the Moussaoui case were forced to write a letter to the court amending those C.I.A. declarations. The letter stated that in September, the C.I.A. notified the United States attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., that it had discovered a videotape documenting the interrogation of a detainee. After a more thorough search, the letter stated, C.I.A. officials discovered a second videotape and one audio tape.

The letter is heavily redacted and sentences stating which detainees’ interrogations the recordings document are blacked out. Signed by the United States attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, the letter states that the C.I.A.’s search for interrogation tapes “appears to be complete.”

There is no mention in the letter of the tapes that C.I.A. officials destroyed in 2005. Mr. Moussaoui was convicted last year and sentenced to life in prison.

John Radsan, who worked as a C.I.A. lawyer from 2002 to 2004 and is now a professor at William Mitchell College of Law, said the destruction of the tapes could carry serious legal penalties.

“If anybody at the C.I.A. hid anything important from the Justice Department, he or she should be prosecuted under the false statement statute,” he said.

A former intelligence official who was briefed on the issue said the videotaping was ordered as a way of assuring “quality control” at remote sites following reports of unauthorized interrogation techniques. He said the tapes, along with still photographs of interrogations, were destroyed after photographs of abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib became public in May 2004 and C.I.A. officers became concerned about a possible leak of the videos and photos.

He said the worries about the impact a leak of the tapes might have in the Muslim world were real.

It has been widely reported that Mr. Zubaydah was subjected to several tough physical tactics, including waterboarding, which involves near-suffocation. But C.I.A. officers judged that the release of photos or videos would nonetheless provoke a strong reaction.

“People know what happened, but to see it in living color would have far greater power,” the official said.

Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been pushing legislation in Congress to have all detainee interrogations videotaped so officials can refer to the tapes multiple times to glean better information.

Mr. Holt said he had been told many times that the C.I.A. does not record the interrogation of detainees. “When I would ask them whether they had reviewed the tapes to better understand the intelligence, they said ‘What tapes?’,” he said.


  1. Mr. Holt said he had been told many times that the C.I.A. does not record the interrogation of detainees. “When I would ask them whether they had reviewed the tapes to better understand the intelligence, they said ‘What tapes?’,” he said.

    At least the CIA that knows how to zip it. It's Cheney and Armitage and Scooter and Rove and Novak who can't maintain the cover of field agents.

    Changing the subject a little:

    Iran is signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article IV of the NPT states, Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.

    Article I forbids the transfer of nuclear weapons, and Article II forbids the manufacture of nuclear weapons. The Dec 2007 NIE states "with a high degree of confidence" that Iran is in compliance with Article II, and therefore Article I as well. As a result, Iran is authorized to continue enriching uranium.

    Israel, on the other hand, has declined to sign the NPT despite Olmert's admission that Israel is a nuclear power.

  2. And, as mat told us, Israel has a "Plan" to disperse biolocical weaponry to kill off the worlds' population, if they are on the verge of military defeat.

    I believe he called it "Samson Option", as in pulling down the temple, upon themselves and everyone else.

    Which, if true, calls for preemptive nuclear strikes against Israel and it's capabilities, by US, now.
    We should burn those viruses in nuclear flames, if the Israeli do not come clean about that plan.

    Doubt that mat would have told us a falsehood, about Israeli plans, if he really knew them. But maybe it was just rhetoric, to assure US support out of fear of the retribution.

    Israel has the capability and capacity for the biological weaponry, the question being, would they trigger the apocalypse out of spite?

    As likely as not, aye?

  3. Helicopters, the "good guys" need them in Afghanistan and in Darfur.

    UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that a new peacekeeping force for Darfur could fail unless it gets 24 critically needed helicopters and he appealed to all countries for help.

    Ban urged U.N. Security Council members to use their influence to turn international concern for Darfur into concrete offers of aircraft.

    "While helicopters alone cannot ensure the success of the mission, their absence may well doom it to failure," he said in a letter to Council members.

    With only three weeks left before the 26,000-member U.N.-African Union force is scheduled to start deploying, Ban lamented the U.N.'s failure to get a commitment for even one helicopter.

    Ban said he had personally contacted every country with the potential to contribute a helicopter _ from industrialized to major developing nations _ "to no avail."

    He said he was sending two high-level envoys to a summit of European Union and African leaders in Lisbon, Portugal, this weekend "to directly engage with as many key leaders as possible on this subject."

    "We are at the critical moment for Darfur," Ban said. "Member states have spoken clearly about what must be done. It is time for them to walk their talk."

    Send in the AU troops, but forget the aviation support. Same goes for the Canadians in Afghanistan, aye.

    So, so sad, the way this "War on Terror" has progressed.

    Cannot get a single helicopter to support the stopping of a genocide.

    So where in the world is the fishing, surfing & scuba best?

    Even if the oceans rise twenty feet, like AlGore warns, life on a boat would go on.

    Like in that "Waterworld" movie, rather than "The Day After"".

  4. Israel has a 'Samson Option'? I never heard Mat say that. Kinda like the that rumored soviet megabomb, end the world.

    Meanwhile, Bernie has pled innocent of course, using the old 'just researching a book' defense. And sharing the results of the 'research' with other inquiring minds.

    Also, the Bush persecution defense.

    Now if they could just get rid of Ray Talafero, they'd have a chance of putting together a moderately decent radio station, there at KGO.

  5. I'm an equal opportunity persecutor--I'll give Bernie the same benefit of the doubt that I gave Craig. Lord, you should have heard Bernie drone on and on and on about Craig and the hypocritical republicans.

  6. Bobal: Now if they could just get rid of Ray Talafero, they'd have a chance of putting together a moderately decent radio station, there at KGO.

    I used to listen to the mighty KGO on night road trips, from Portland to Seattle to as far away as Denver.

  7. Desert Rat: Israel has the capability and capacity for the biological weaponry, the question being, would they trigger the apocalypse out of spite?

    If they even have the germs in reserve, they deserve all the shit that happened to them the last 3,500 years.

  8. Mat brought it up once, I replied in the same vein, it is worthy of preemption.

    But like in Iran, who really knows what goes on behind the opaque windows.

    Both countries have attacked US assets, during the past 40 years.

    One excused for it, one not.

    I still carry a grudge over both.

  9. Savage is 'praying to God', that the news about Bernie is not true. Hopes to God he hasn't been set up. Feels terrible for the children, nicest kids on earth. Bernie used to curse Savage on the air, Savage taking 'the high road'--Bernie has beautiful kids--they're going to be confused. Praying to God for the kid's sake poor Bernie is innocent. ---

  10. DR: Both countries have attacked US assets, during the past 40 years. One excused for it, one not.

    If we catch Iranians spying on US, we know that's how the game is played. Sun Tzu devoted an entire chapter to espionage. It would almost be an insult if they didn't spy on us. But to use a Cedarfordism, when we caught our "special friend" Israel spying on us (Jonathan Pollard), that was stupid and unforgivable, like when Fredo Corleone betrayed his brother Michael. Every Israeli prime minister nags every US president to pardon Pollard, but it has about as much impact as Connie begging Michael to forgive none. In fact, every time they do it, they risk having Michael give Al Neri that look that says "rub out dis guy."

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Especially if they let 'em loose, on US.

    Which is what happens with biological weaponry.
    No stopping the Black Death, once it's released.

    The bugs know no borders.

    More dangerous than nukes, really.
    Designer ebola viruses, while the standard type killed this fellow

    The ebola virus is the most recent uncontrollable virus known to man.

    The ebola virus is an African originated virus. It was first detected in the Zaire River in the northern part of Zaire. This virus has no cure and has the most contagious chemicals of any virus.The first symptoms of the ebola virus are that the skin turns a very dark shade of purple and the victim's temperature goes significantly above the normal temperature. After getting infected, the victim dies about two days later. The body decomposes very fast, and the victims lungs collapse, forcing them to die in pain.

    There are not any effective treatments for treating the ebola virus

  13. They have the broadcast antennas set so the signal goes mainly up and down the coast, but after the sun goes down I can get it here, sometimes clearly later in the evenings. Insomia got me hooked on it. Bernie and Ray keep by blood pressure up so's I don't get gangrene.

    Read an article about ebola today. Bad stuff, but burns itself out fast, killing people so soon it doesn't have much chance to spread. In village situations anyway.

    Whooping cough, along with TB, are making a comeback in the USA, some blaming the illegals.

    How many illegal aliens were given sub-prime loans, do you think?

  14. According to Weinberg,(Ward's lawyer) Ward was exploring “hypocrisy in America”, and decided to look at child porn – how it’s acquired and hidden from society. As part of the research for the book, Weinberg says Ward acquired several images of child porn from websites, and “he exchanged them with adults who do the same thing.”

    Bernie needs a new lawyer, and right now.

    Why do all these child porn folk always share?

  15. Bobal: Why do all these child porn folk always share?

    The "I was just doing research" defense never works.

    1. At the time of his arrest, [Pete] Townshend admitted using his credit card to visit a web site offering child porn, but told cops he was just conducting research.

    2. In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico said he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity."

    And so on, and so forth...

  16. The weaponized bugs don't die off, bob. They keep on truckin'

  17. "If they even have the germs in reserve, they deserve all the shit that happened to them the last 3,500 years."

    You should think about that statement teresita. Does the rationale apply to all countries, including the U.S. and Russia?

    The U.S. - from the CDC website...

    In 1978, biosafety level 4 containment laboratory was opened in the CDC Atlanta headquarters. Then as now, this is one of only a handful of level 4 labs in North America. Other similar facilities are present in San Antonio, Texas, at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland, and in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It is only at these facilities that highly infectious and lethal viruses and bacteria can be safely studied and treatments devised. At CDC, for example, the Special Pathogens Branch studies the Ebola, Marburg, and Hantaviruses.

    Russia -
    Simply google Ken Alibek's book Biohazard, about the former Soviet Union's Biopreparat

  18. Elijah said...

    > I said:

    >> "If they even have the germs
    >> in reserve, they deserve all
    >> the shit that happened to
    >> them the last 3,500 years."

    > You should think about that
    > statement teresita. Does
    > the rationale apply to all
    > countries, including the U.S.
    > and Russia?

    It's one thing to develop the capability to respond in kind in case the other side initiates the use of biologicals, but I'm talking about the scenario where the Zionists wipe out all of humanity with an engineered visus just because they finally lose one of those almost perennial Arab-Israeli wars, or use the mere threat of doing so to keep the military and financial aid coming from America in the ultimate extortion scheme. Hardly the character one would expect from Yahweh's chosen people.

  19. my misunderstanding and apologies

    by the way, your link from the past discussing hypersonic bomb release

    odd the technique before the air platform to deliver it



  20. Well, I'll put these here for the record 'tho I knew that if this came out very long ago, AlBobAl would be all over it.
    KGO Host Bernie Ward Indicted on child porn... Developing...
    Self described progressive and former Catholic priest...
    Surrendered to federal authorities...
    Drinks all around, AlBob!
    While reading that, I heard a few seconds of his disgusting little moralistic voice.
    Savage has the high road covered so old victims can revel in well-earned schadenfreud.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Here's to Bernie-er, here's to Bernie's arrest--barkeep!

  23. Some Jews desire to establish a separate Jewish state in Samaria, Judea---

    But the revenants are not sitting idly by. They have a different plan: A Jewish state in Judea and Samaria:

    SOS Israel is planning a campaign to choose a flag and anthem for the new Jewish state it plans to erect in the West Bank in the event of an Israeli withdrawal from the territories.

    The initiative will be published in this week's "Our Land of Israel," a pamphlet distributed in synagogues on Shabbat. A prize of several thousand shekels will be awarded to the participant whose design is adopted.

    In an article entitled "The Coming Earthquake," Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe [pictured above. CiJ] writes: "In the wake of the Annapolis Conference at which the Israeli government agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and the defense minister's (Ehud Barak) proposed 'evacuation compensation' law, many are asking themselves 'what can I do now?'."

    "Are we just going to stand aside like lambs to the slaughter while the malicious government destroys the lives of tens of thousands of Israeli families, as we did to our brothers in Gush Katif? Are we going to surrender to the 'axis of evil' in Jerusalem and help it turn 120 thousand Jews into refugees in their own land, hundreds of thriving communities into mere rubble? Is it possible to lend a hand to something which threatens the very physical existence of millions of Jews?" [120,000 is - if I am not mistaken - the number of Jews who now live outside the route of the 'security fence.' So much for anyone who deluded themselves that it was not intended to be a border (and yes, there were people who bought that delusion five years ago). CiJ]

    Before hordes of anxious talkbackers hit reply, the rabbi has his own answer to these questions: "The answer is simple," he writes. "First of all we must understand that 'it will come to pass,' in other words- to internalize the lessons of the cruel expulsion from Gush Katif and to cease living in illusions. It is upon us to choose if we want to be brought to the slaughter, God forbid, or to stand up for our lives against the government's intentions.

    "There is no doubt then that the only solution is to immediately declare the establishment of an autonomous Jewish state in Judea and Samaria. The time has come to seriously consider erecting a legal body that will unite the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria as a state-to-be," Rabbi Wolpe wrote.
    Israel Matzav site

  24. So, between July 7, and now, everything changed.
    ...except for any evidence of change.

  25. re:NIE.
    I heard about five seconds of a foaming-at-the mouth, keith olberman last night. the propagandist was going on about what bush knew and when he knew it. olberman played a bush clip and clearly misconstrued the context and meaning of what bush said. It will be good when gwb is out of office so that the bds can subside.

    RE: Israel and Operation Samson. What a bunch of absolute BS. more propaganda, probably put out by Arabs.

    The whole friggin' world has gone crazy.

  26. Keith Olbermann redefines loathsome. I listen to the jackass Chris Matthews for entertainment value and to see if I can pick up any new specious platitudes.

    The first notes of the pompous introductory music to Olbermann's show alarms me in my haste to change channels before I hear one word, seeking refuge in the slightly deranged O'Reilly, who I stay with for about six minutes.

    More than ten minutes of the sycophant Hannity is banned under the Geneva Convention.

    As good as Brit Hume is, "Fox and Friends" isn't. Chris Wallace is as capable as anyone in the business.

    Katie Couric, a simpleton, but probably interesting between the sheets, as long as she goes home to sleep.

  27. desert rat, why don't you put your comments on your blog too?

  28. Then it'd not be conversing in an open enviorment, which is what I enjoy.
    I do believe.

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