Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not so Fast at the CIA

It looks like the excitement felt on the anti-torture left about Panetta's appointment may be tempered soon by what I would call disturbing staffing choices.

Yesterday, Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller were less than pleased with the pick of Panetta. Glenn Greenwald said this was a good thing - "Few things could reflect better on Panetta's selection than the fact that Feinstein and Rockefeller -- two of the most Bush-enabling Senators -- are unhappy with it."

Unfortunately, today we find that Feinstein and Rockefeller were not just made to suck it up. Instead, they were catered to - Feinstein's choice for the D/CIA position, Stephen Kappes, is going to be invited to stay at the CIA as no.2.

How completely obnoxious. As the Post puts it, "The desire to retain Kappes and Morell, both of whom held senior positions under Tenet as well as with Hayden, however, indicated that Obama does not intend to clean house beyond the top leadership level."

Christy Hardin Smith has a post at Firedoglake referencing today's WSJ. She excerpts:

In particular, at their nomination hearings they're likely to be asked to
support a "truth commission" on the Bush Administration's terrorist
interrogation policies. We hope they have the good sense to resist. And if they
need any reason to push back, they could start by noting the Members of Congress
who would be on the witness list to raise their right hands....

That is some vicious pushback. But allowing Kappes to stay signals that an investigation will not be forthcoming...and I mean that in both senses of the word. Don't expect an investigation soon - and don't expect an investigation that is particularly candid.

I documented in other posts on this site the rendition record of Stephen Kappes. The Times of India documents that one of the 2004 renditons, that of Sharif al-Masri, occured in late August. Joanne Mariner at FindLaw says Sharif al-Masri is believed to have spent time in a secret CIA prison.

I don't know what happens to accountability with Kappes hanging around.

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