Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hayden's Words

Don't let the door hit you on the way out...

"Arguing that Department of Justice lawyers had issued several legal
decisions ruling on the CIA's interrogation methods, Hayden said the agency was
motivated by duty, not 'enthusiasm.' 'If the techniques used are said to be
legal, should they not be used?' he asked, adding that interrogations produced
the 'maximum amount of information' from the first groups of detainees captured
after the 9/11 attacks."

US News

I would think it would be up to the CIA management to determine how the CIA ought to operate. How far they ought to go, if it is worthwhile, if torture is working. Just because it's in some way legal doesn't mean it's a good idea. You know - “ninety per cent of the information was unreliable.”

As far as the potential for real investigations goes, there are contradictory accounts. From WaPo:

"President-elect Barack Obama has privately signaled to top U.S. intelligence
officials that he has no plans to launch a legal inquiry into the CIA's past use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, agency director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday."

Public Record's Jason Leopold suggests Obama staff think otherwise:

"But when asked on Friday to respond Hayden’s statements, two high-level
aides on Obama’s National Security transition team who were privy to details of
Hayden and Obama’s briefings disputed the CIA chief’s comments, saying that
Obama did not make any such assurances to Hayden or anyone else in the Bush
administration about not investigating interrogation practices. The aides
requested anonymity because they said they were not cleared to speak

"'That is a wholly inaccurate characterization of their conversation' said
one of the aides on the National Security team. 'President-elect Obama did not
make any promises to Mr. Hayden nor did President-elect Obama engage in a
discussion about investigations of any sort, about any past policies, with Mr.
Hayden or anyone in the Bush administration.'”

"In fact, both aides said as much as Obama would like to 'look ahead' and
deal with what they said were more pressing issues, such as economic turmoil,
unemployment, healthcare, and the housing crisis, they said the fact that Obama
will inherit two ongoing investigations that began under Bush’s presidency into
torture policies means the issue revolving around torture will remain on the
front-pages and in the headlines and makes it all the more likely that
Obama’s Justice Department will be forced to undertake some sort of
." [emphasis mine]

Leopold looks into the IG Helgerson's report on torture and rendition:

"Another matter Hayden discussed, the aides said, and was particularly
concerned about, was the findings of a classified CIA inspector general’s report completed in May 2004 about the agency’s techniques used on terrorist detainees between 2001 and 2003 that is said to be brutal in its detailed description of interrogation methods. The report, prepared by Inspector General John Helgerson, concluded that certain methods used by CIA interrogators 'appeared to constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture.'"

'In his report, Mr. Helgerson raised concern about whether the use of the
techniques could expose agency officers to legal liability,' according to a Nov.
9, 2005, story in The New York Times. 'They said the report expressed skepticism
about the Bush administration view that any ban on cruel, inhumane and degrading
treatment under the treaty does not apply to CIA interrogations because they
take place overseas on people who are not citizens of the United States.'"


"According to Mayer, Vice President Dick Cheney stopped Helgerson from fully
completing his investigation. That proves, Mayer contends, that as early as 2004
'the Vice President’s office was fully aware that there were allegations of
serious wrongdoing in The [interrogation] Program.'”


"In October 2007, Hayden ordered an investigation into Helgerson’s office,
focusing on internal complaints that the inspector general was on 'a crusade
against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.'”

I would be extremely interested to know the contents of that IG review. Hayden claims waterboarding stopped after 2003.

We know renditions did not stop in 2003. And other practices that may've been specified in Helgerson's report likely did not either.

Hayden's gone now. I wonder how loudly he will continue to make a fool out of himself. He seems to be suggesting Addington & Yoo ran the entire country. Not really true.

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