Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fear-mongering At Its Finest

Yesterday Alberto Gonazles held forth about torture and prosecutions on NPR. Kate Klonick has the story. Here is Gonzales' statement:

“'One needs to be careful in making a blanket pronouncement like that,' Gonzales
said, suggesting that it might affect the 'morale and dedication' of intelligence officials and lawyers who are attempting to make cases against terrorism suspects.
He said people he knows at the CIA have told him that agents there 'no longer have any interest in doing anything controversial.' And that, Gonzales asserted, means they 'won’t be doing what they need to be doing' to protect the country.

I'm guessing the people that Gonzales knows at the CIA - who are still willing to confide in him, seeing how his crap memos put many at the CIA in legal jeopardy - are probably not big Obama boosters to begin with. And if the CIA truly waterboarded only three times, I doubt Holder calling 'em like he sees 'em is going to massively depress morale.

Nobody has a problem with the CIA taking risks. But it seems simple enough that they should not be allowed to torture. I suspect its Gonzales' morale that is more deeply affected than anyone else's.

Case in point:

“'It’s a great leap forward in terms of respect for human rights,' said John Kiriakou, the retired CIA official who supervised the early interrogation of Al Qaeda detainee Abu Zubaydah in 2002. 'From the very beginning, the CIA should not have been in the business of enhanced interrogation techniques and detentions.' CIA interrogators waterboarded Abu Zubaydah, but not while Kiriakou supervised the interrogation.


Kiriakou said that the reaction to Obama’s harmonization of interrogations policy would get 'a very positive reaction' inside the CIA. 'There are people at CIA who engaged in what were certified as enhanced [interrogation] techniques, but were never supportive of it,' he said. 'This should make people very happy. No one wants to be in harm’s way [legally]. Despite what the Bush White House and Bush Justice Department said was legal, I think people at the CIA understood that this was not legal and [the techniques] were torture.'
Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of CIA operations in Europe during the Bush administration’s first term, agreed. 'These people aren’t monsters,' Drumheller said. 'They were doing what they were told, and what was the policy of the [Bush]
administration.'” [emphasis supplied]

Yep, sounds like morale was just crushed.

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