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Tag: Cia

Flickr / joewcampbell

Justice Dept. Lawyers Opposed Torture but Saw It as Legal

While George W. Bush’s torture policies stained the reputations of a number of administration lawyers, others have been lauded for their resistance to backing harsh interrogation. However, newly revealed communications show that there was broad consensus in the Justice Department—even among lawyers who opposed such practices—that torture was legal.

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 READ MORE


Nominee Pulls Out Before Being Questioned About Torture

In the latest bout over who was in the know about torture, President Obama’s nominee for Homeland Security intelligence chief, Philip Mudd (above), withdrew from consideration on Friday before having to disclose his involvement in the CIA’s interrogation practices. John O. Brennan, who was the leading candidate to head the CIA, withdrew from consideration for the top post because of similar reasons last November.

Posted on Jun 6, 2009 READ MORE

Library of Congress

Elderly Couple Arrested as Spies

A 72-year-old former State Department employee and his 71-year-old wife were arrested Thursday on charges of spying for the Cuban government. An undercover FBI agent reportedly tricked the couple into giving up their secret after they allegedly had been engaged in espionage for 30 years.

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE

USAF / Staff Sgt. Bradley A. Lail

Replace Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus has proven the rule that past military victories do not guarantee future success. The general has made a mess of Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet he remains dangerously popular.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE

What Will Obama Say in Cairo?

Next week President Barack Obama travels to Cairo to deliver what is expected to be a major statement on relations between the United States and the Islamic world, but informed skeptics predict his new approach to the region will resemble the late months of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE

Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE

Graham and Colbert

Was Bob Graham Briefed About Torture?

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham says the CIA didn’t brief him about the use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists, and he has the records in his personal notebooks to prove it, as he points out during a timely book tour stopover on Wednesday’s “Colbert Report.”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE

Guantanamo prisoner
AP photo / Lynne Sladky

A Truth Commission Beckons

The partisan firefight over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s incendiary allegation that the CIA lied to Congress about its use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—torture—is a blessing. It turns the compelling case for a public inquiry into the Bush administration’s policies toward terrorism detainees into an urgent necessity.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Alex Brandon

Pelosi Finds Some Backing

Three new developments in the Nancy Pelosi drama this week: The Democrats are said to stand “solidly behind” the House speaker, who is under fire from Republicans for talking smack about the CIA that “misled” her on waterboarding. Meanwhile, President Obama gives a vote of confidence to Pelosi, while CIA Director Leon Panetta urges Congress to focus on actual national security threats, stating “We are a nation at war.”

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE

mike huckabee

Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was visited by the GOP Muse and out plopped this elephant patty of a poem. The chef-d’oeuvre comes at a time when Republicans and Leon Panetta are calling for an apology from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the CIA for accusing the agency of “misleading” her on their interrogation methods.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE

Farah injury
AP photo / Abdul Malek

Report: U.S. Marine Unit Killed Hundreds of Afghan Civilians

The Independent reported Saturday that a single group of American troops, the U.S. Marines Corps’ Special Operations Command, otherwise known as MarSOC—a creation of one Donald Rumsfeld—was responsible for “at least three of Afghanistan’s worst civilian casualty incidents” to date.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE

Pelosi and Panetta
Wikimedia Commons /

The Pelosi Puzzle

It’s been a rough week for Our Lady Speaker of the House. In Act I, she claimed ignorance about the full extent of the CIA’s torture repertoire. However, thanks to the magic of technology and documentation, her version of the story clashed with that of a pissed-off Leon Panetta. (See Robert Scheer’s latest column for an editorial critique.)

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

‘Nancy, It’s Leon. We Have to Talk.’

On Friday, CIA Director Leon Panetta fired back at Nancy Pelosi’s claims that she had been misled by the agency on its use of harsh interrogation techniques, declaring that congressional leaders had been “briefed truthfully” on the methods in September 2002. The controversy surrounding Pelosi has led some to call for a probe of Bush administration abuses while others, such as Rush Limbaugh, are demanding her resignation.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Newt vs. Nancy

Nancy Pelosi has made herself vulnerable to attacks after appearing to venture into Equivocation Land this week in her public tussle with the CIA over when she knew the U.S. was employing what we call “torture” on suspected terrorists. Enter Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, stage right, to do his part to bring Pelosi down from her vaunted position.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Cheney Denied by the CIA

The CIA has denied the lovable Dick Cheney’s request to release memos that, in the ex-veep’s eyes, would prove the effectiveness of torture administered under Bush’s reign. “I’m convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives,” he said last week. The documents in question will not be declassified, as they are the subject of pending litigation.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


House Speaker Speaks Up

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi stammered her way through a statement at a tense news conference on Thursday, acknowledging she had learned as early as February 2003 of the CIA’s waterboarding practices. She defended her position on the grounds of being “misled”  by the CIA and she accused Republicans of scapegoating her to divert attention away from those actually responsible for the acts.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE

Obama Reneges on Torture Photo Release

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama went back on his administration’s previous plan to release photos reportedly showing prisoner abuse at American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Team Obama may also follow in the Bushies’ footsteps by detaining some prisoners “on U.S. soil” and “indefinitely and without trial,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE

Boehner, Bush and Pelosi
White House / Eric Draper

Pelosi Sticks By Her Waterboarding Denial

Despite evidence, helpfully provided by the CIA, to the contrary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still insists she wasn’t aware that waterboarding would be on the menu of the Bush administration’s interrogation techniques when she was briefed in secret in 2002.

Posted on May 8, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Alex Brandon

What Did Pelosi Know?

The official paper trail about torture has apparently caught up with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has claimed that she wasn’t aware of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on suspected al-Qaida operatives—but it now seems that she may well have been among the first to know.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE

Disclosure of ‘Secrets’ in the ’70s Didn’t Destroy the Nation

Back in the Watergate era, the Senate’s Church Committee exposed government abuses. Of course some people tried to block its work. You may have heard of a couple of them—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE

Look to the Law—Not to Whether Torture ‘Works’

The calls for an independent commission to investigate torture usually argue that a congressional investigation, or a Justice Department criminal investigation, would become so politicized as to be hopelessly compromised. I am not sure this is true.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE

White House / David Bohrer

Joe Wilson Wants Dick Cheney to Let It All Hang Out

Ever the fan of cherry-picking, former Vice President Dick Cheney has called for the declassification of select intelligence he claims would polish his torture legacy. Whistle-blower extraordinaire Joe Wilson says the “most secretive individual in American politics” shouldn’t stop there—why not air all of the Bush administration’s dirty laundry once and for all?

Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE

Abu Gharib

U.S. to Release More Torture Photos

After a series of denials by the Bush administration, the Obama administration has decided it will give in to demands by human rights groups and release up to 2,000 pictures of “prisoner abuse” (torture) to the public by May 28.

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE

Torture Was Used to Try to Link Saddam With 9/11

In order to justify George W. Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah to say there was a link between Iraq and the 9/11 hijackers. That link was never established.

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE

Torture Is a Crime, and Crimes Demand Prosecution

Obama wants to avoid a long, wrenching legal drama that almost certainly would be partisan and divisive. But I’m not sure it’s possible to skirt the criminal implications of what we already know.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE

White House / National Archives

Reagan and Nixon Greeted Despots, Too

Few aspects of American politics are as ridiculous and dangerous as the right-wing urge to substitute macho posturing for foreign policy.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE

Torturers Should Be Punished

The door to bringing torturers to justice is open only a crack. Whether it is kicked open or slammed shut is not up to the president. Though he may occupy the most powerful office on Earth, there is a force more powerful: committed people demanding change.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE

When Fascism Came to America

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here” to influence the 1936 presidential election. He was off by about 66 years.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Obama: Justice Could Prosecute Torture Lawyers

Responding to reporters Tuesday, the president walked back from his “torture is a thing of the past” policy. While the administration still doesn’t want to hassle the good Germans who carried out torture, or even the superiors who ordered it, Obama said the Justice Department may go after the Bush lawyers who tried to legalize such abuses.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE

Bybee Must Go

It is astonishing that someone who has proved in his memos to be so lacking in judgment and so ideologically twisted in his reasoning that he laid a blanket of legal immunity over those who wanted to torture now holds one of the most powerful and prestigious seats a lawyer can attain.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

When Slapped, Slap Back

(Editor’s note: Eugene Robinson is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary.) It’s hard to argue with the results thus far from President Obama’s “no drama” approach to governing, but I think he should learn to chew a little scenery when the occasion demands.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE

Obama Stands Nuremberg on Its Head

President Obama’s decision to spare CIA torturers from prosecution stands the Nuremberg principles on their head. “Good Germans who were only following orders” are not exempt from the bar of justice. Individuals must be held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE

Wikimedia Commons

The 183rd Time’s the Charm

Was it for information or revenge that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who claimed to be the mastermind behind 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times by the CIA? That figure, sussed out of a Justice Department memo by some enterprising bloggers and repeated in the pages of The New York Times, makes the president’s determination not to prosecute such torture all the more curious.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE

Gitmo Stretcher

A Decision Not to Prosecute

After key Bush era CIA torture documents were released by the Obama administration, human rights officials are dismayed at the news that CIA agents who ordered and conducted torture will not be prosecuted.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE

torture memo

DoJ Releases Bush-Era Torture Memos

After President Obama announced that the CIA operatives who employed harsh interrogation methods (read: torture) on suspected terrorists during the Bush administration won’t be subject to legal repercussions, the Department of Justice made four “torture memos” publicly available on Thursday.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE

The Obama Doctrine

The president insists that the U.S. can’t achieve great objectives on its own. This may break with George W. Bush’s style, but it is in keeping with the traditions of Roosevelt, Truman and George H.W. Bush.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE

Getting to Zero Starts With One Man

If Obama is successful in reducing our nuclear stockpile, it could make a monumental difference to the world’s security. Nuclear arms proliferation will never be stopped so long as the U.S. insists on maintaining a privileged position of global nuclear domination.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE

Torture Is a Crime That Must Be Punished

I realize that many Americans, given the scope of the economic crisis and the ambitions of the new administration, would rather look forward than revisit the past. The business of torture, however, is too unspeakable to be left unfinished.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Obstruction of Justice

The facts surrounding the trial and imprisonment of Dr. Sami Al-Arian have severely tarnished the integrity of the American judicial system and made the government’s vaunted campaign against terrorism look capricious, inept and overtly racist.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE

U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy

Documenting 8 Years of Torture

Mark Danner made headlines last week with his essay in The New York Review of Books on the CIA’s use of torture and a secret report from the International Committee of the Red Cross detailing such practices. Find out why he says, “Torture is for people with weak nerves.”

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 READ MORE

Warren CIA

Sex Scandal Calls CIA’s Self-Policing Into Question

A CIA sex scandal, or, more precisely, allegations that a CIA agent raped two Algerian women, has raised questions in Congress about how the agency polices itself. Oddly, discussions of the controversy have failed to emphasize another significant “oops” moment in CIA operations regarding corruption and the need for oversight: torture.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE

Dick Cheney
White House / David Bohrer

Bush Left Scooter ‘Hanging in the Wind,’ Says Cheney

The former vice president is still sore that his top aide didn’t get a presidential pardon. Dick Cheney told CNN that he and the president had a “fundamental difference of opinion” that ultimately “left Scooter sort of hanging in the wind, which I didn’t think was appropriate.”

Posted on Mar 15, 2009 READ MORE

AP pool photo / Aleksey Nikolskyi

Barack Obama, Meet Team B

The president must be getting bad advice. Why else would he offer not to build a missile defense system he doesn’t want in exchange for Russia’s help with an Iranian nuclear weapons program that doesn’t exist?

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE

U.S. Navy / Photographer's Mate 1 Shane T. McCoy

CIA Torture Coverup Was Worse Than We Knew

Remember those two videotapes documenting “enhanced interrogation” that the CIA destroyed, despite a judge’s order to preserve such evidence? Well, it turns out the agency wiped 90 more just like them.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE

Wilson and Penn

Penn May Take On Plame ‘Game’

Here’s a melding of celebrity and politics that might just be a natural: Academy Award™-winning actor and sometime international political analyst Sean Penn is in talks to play former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, husband of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame, in director Doug Liman’s dramatic retelling of Plame’s story, currently known in deal-making circles as “Fair Game.”

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / Unhindered by Talent

Obama Keeps Renditions In the Toolbox

President Obama may be trying to shut down Guantanamo and CIA black sites, but he’s decided to make renditions a part of his regime. In case you’ve repressed it along with other Bush-era nightmares, extraordinary rendition is what the U.S. calls kidnapping someone and sending him to a nasty place to be tortured.

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE

Obama’s Salvage Operation

Repairing the damage that George W. Bush did to the nation’s values, honor and pride will be complicated and, at times, politically inconvenient. But nothing is more urgent, and nothing will ultimately reap more benefits at home and abroad.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE

Bush’s Short View of History

In his eyes, there’s “no such thing as short-term history.” It’s true that some presidencies look different after a few decades. But it’s also true that presidential acts can have immediate consequences—and Bush’s eight years are seen as a nadir that will take years to recover from.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE

Should the Torturers Go on Trial?

The impending end of the Bush administration and the inauguration of Barack Obama pose the enormous and explosive question of what to do about those responsible for what are regarded by a significant part of the world as war crimes.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Picks Top Spies

The president-elect has reportedly chosen Leon Panetta to head the CIA and retired Adm. Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence. Both men bring a mixed bag. Panetta is an experienced bureaucrat, but he’s no James Bond. Blair has been praised for his terrorist-fighting skills, but he was criticized for a supposed conflict of interest that benefited defense contractors.

Posted on Jan 5, 2009 READ MORE

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