Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No, we can't?

File this under "appalling, if true":
The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public, according to people familiar with the discussions.

These people cautioned that President Barack Obama is still reviewing internal arguments over the release of Justice Department memorandums related to CIA interrogations, and how much information will be made public is in flux.

Among the details in the still-classified memos is approval for a technique in which a prisoner's head could be struck against a wall as long as the head was being held and the force of the blow was controlled by the interrogator, according to people familiar with the memos. Another approved tactic was waterboarding, or simulated drowning.
Hm. I had actually been inclined to half-disbelieve that part of the Red Cross report; silly me.
A decision to keep secret key parts of the three 2005 memos outlining legal guidance on CIA interrogations would anger some Obama supporters who have pushed him to unveil now-abandoned Bush-era tactics. It would also go against the views of Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Counsel Greg Craig, people familiar with the matter said.

Top CIA officials have spoken out strongly against a full release, saying it would undermine the agency's credibility with foreign intelligence services and hurt the agency's work force, people involved in the discussions said. However, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair favors releasing the information, current and former senior administration officials said.
That is a surprise; good for Blair. He may welcome anything that reins in CIA.
Human-rights groups and many in the administration have called the techniques torture.

People familiar with the matter said some senior intelligence advisers to the president raised fears that releasing the two most sensitive memos could cause the Obama administration to be alienated from the CIA's rank and file, as happened during the Bush administration when Porter Goss, who was unpopular among CIA officers, headed the agency.
Memo to Obama: THEY'RE TORTURERS. FUCK 'EM. They should be grateful NOT TO BE IN PRISON.

(And I really doubt how many of the "rank and file," as opposed to a few cowboys in Operations -- excuse me, the National Clandestine Service -- give a damn.)

If Obama can't control the CIA, then we need a president who can.
Making those details public, one official said, would make CIA officials disinclined to take any risks in the future.
Considering the disasters and fiascos typical of CIA risktaking, is that a bad thing? They're supposed to be an intelligence agency, not cowboys.

Time will tell. But I'm already wondering whom the Democrats should nominate in 2012.

... Sullivan: "If CIA staffers believe that covering up war crimes is integral to maintaining their morale, then we need new CIA staffers." Word. He also uses the A-word about Obama: "accomplice."

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