December 7, 2007

"Beyond their lack of intelligence value... and the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them, the tapes posed a security risk."

CIA Director Michael H. Hayden tries to explain the destruction of the tapes showing the harsh interrogation techniques.
"Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them to and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and it sympathizers."

23 comments:

Bilby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bilby said...

That story is certainly creating a giant blog swarm. Guess who has a post titled "This Is A Banana Republic".

MadisonMan said...

This controversy smells very manufactured to me.

I disagreed with the Administration's campaign to out CIA analyst Plame. I don't think the video showing CIA interrogators should be anywhere that it could be leaked. What happens when the identity of the interrogators is known? Can they still do their job?

SteveR said...

The critics should love this, no real evidence but a good reason to raise questions. No facts to get in the way.

Positroll said...

"... exposing them to and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and it sympathizers."
Didn't the administration repeatedly claim that they treat(ed) all prisoners decently and humanely? So how can there be any risk of "retaliation" ...?

Roger said...

OK--I am a certified wingnut (according to some on this board), retired military, national security hawk etc, and I gotta tell you: Haydon's story smells to high heaven: If the CIA were stupid enough to permit interrogators to be filmed in the first place it really says they, the CIA, are a bunch of rank amateurs. The decision to even film the interrogation is stupid. And if the CIA is so friggin smart, why would they even make the existence of the tapes known at all? Thats a secret they can't keep? And somehow they would admit to destroying the tapes? Lord what a bunch of friggin amateurs. It really does like we should outsource the CIA to Mossad and get some intelligence professionals running the operation. And Tenant got a medal a freedom? the sorry SOB should have been shot. (don't turn my IP in Ann)

Balfegor said...

"Beyond their lack of intelligence value -- as the interrogation sessions had already been exhaustively detailed in written channels -- and the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them

I'm not sure there was necessarily a legal obligation to keep them, although they must surely have foreseen the possibility that people would try to obtain them in upcoming litigation. But there was at least a reason to retain them. That doesn't sound right.

Didn't the administration repeatedly claim that they treat(ed) all prisoners decently and humanely? So how can there be any risk of "retaliation" ...?

The desire for revenge isn't necessarily triggered by conduct that is egregious -- even treatment that is decent and humane by our standards could be seen as humiliating or an insult to honour or something of the sort. Besides which, quite apart from retaliation, it's rational to worry that direct identification of individuals involved in the intelligence gathering process could put them in danger. Wouldn't it be worthwhile to take them out of commission, if you were a member of Al Qaeda or their fellow organisations? They are kind of important to what we're trying to do.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I gotta tell you: Haydon's story smells to high heaven: If the CIA were stupid enough to permit interrogators to be filmed in the first place it really says they, the CIA, are a bunch of rank amateurs.

Those were my sentiments exactly.

Didn't the administration repeatedly claim that they treat(ed) all prisoners decently and humanely? So how can there be any risk of "retaliation" ...?

Well considering that al quaeda routinely beheaded innocent civilians (Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl to name a few), I doubt a CIA interrogater would be spared even if he brought them halal meals and installed a footbath.

Robert Cook said...

Anyone who believes our government treats all prisoners "decently and humanely" would also accept Gates' heaping pile of baloney. In other words, they're imbeciles.

Freder Frederson said...

the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them

wtf? Congress and the 9/11 commission had asked for them. They are potentially evidence of a crime.

EnigmatiCore said...

"So how can there be any risk of "retaliation" ...?"

Ah. So the only threat posed is to those who have ever been harsh. If only the world was the way you wish it was.

However, this strikes me as criminal. It is trivial to blot out faces. That could have been done and the originals destroyed-- and that would have left 'evidence' available without any risk to those individuals from the 'leak' circumstances posed as a justification.

I am almost to the point where I hope that an incoming President would totally clean house in both the CIA and in the State Department. Too many people acting as if they are their own government, entrenched and often acting outside of the law to pursue or protect their own interests.

Cedarford said...

GITMO Guards and interrogators are routinely threatened and attacked by the ACLU's little darlings. ELaborate security precautions are in place - name tags removed before contact with the terrorists held there, no personal info, not even home state of any American may be divulged. Several have been told that Islamist operatives inside America will eventually kill them and all in their families and their names will be posted on Jihado web sites if they are named in Open American Court documents as their lawyers are now suing for.

The attacks on American soldiers are frequent, as is verbal abuse, especially of the most obscene type directed at female US soldiers.

===================
Roger - It really does like we should outsource the CIA to Mossad and get some intelligence professionals running the operation.

Mossad was over-rated in the past, and in recent years lost their Jewish informants in most Muslim countries to cleansing. They haven't been right on much in recent years, including Saddam and WMD, Iran's program, Hezbollah.
They are still good at spying on America to rip off our technological and economic secrets for sale to China, and on spying on Palestinians in conjunction with Shin Bet.

++++++++++++++++
In WWII, we held almost 2 million Nazi, Italian, and Japanese prisoners. Many for 5-6 years. Not one in POW or unlawful combatant status was granted access to lawyers. Not one. Not until war crimes trials started for only a few thousand net in both WWII theaters.
We also summarily executed unlawful combatants at certain points in the confliict.
And on a few Pacific Islands and in the Korean War, had a policy of taking no prisoners if we learned
the enemy was not granting Quarter to our troops.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Anyone who believes our government treats all prisoners as if they were innocent babes in Lubyanka would also accept that we were no better than the nazis or Stalin.

In other words, they're imbeciles.

Fixed that for you.

peter hoh said...

David Frum has a provacative take on the issue of the destroyed tapes.

http://frum.nationalreview.com/

Mortimer Brezny said...

Thanks, Peter. That is very upsetting and informative.

Roger said...

Peter: interesting link: given that cast of characters and their national origin, the interpretation is not misplaced. The Saudis and the Pakistanis--or at least the radical elements thereof--are most certainly not our friends.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is totally contrived. It's actually simple, interns do it. You go to the Retention Schedule Manual and run your finger down the table of contents, look for the line "Harsh Interrogation Tapes", probably under the heading "Harsh Interrogation Techniques." Go to the page and note how long the records are to be kept, where, and manner of destruction. Note also access to stored documents and their destruction is carried out by dual control teams extracted from different departments. Review the page Dual Control Teams, this is an area where Auditing concentrates.

Zeb Quinn said...

The people out there whose eyes get all bulged out because the CIA takes actions to ensure that its secrets stay secret are a little bit entertaining.

Folks, it's when they stop doing that way that it's time to worry about them.

SGT Ted said...

Guess who has a post titled "This Is A Banana Republic".


These are the same people that wet their wadded up panties when a desk bound CIA analyst, who's prior covert career ended more than a dozen years earlier when her identity was compromised by the Soviets and who's actual name was listed in Who's Who, wound up being mentioned in the newspapers.

So, I don't see much sincerity in their ginned up outrage over the CIA keeping some secrets.

JoeLaX said...

Director Hayden's explanation for the destruction of the tapes does not seem credible to me. With technology, they could quite easily blur or obscure the images of the interrogators while retaining the proof of the lawfulness of the interrogation techniques that were purportedly utilized. America's Most Wanted manages to obscure the naked bodies of the people they are arresting on almost every show, so no doubt the CIA could manage the same and prevent the disclosure of the identities of the interrogators.

That is why I think the interrogations might have been a real PR problem (among other likely more difficult problems) for the CIA and the administration.

dick said...

Given the actions of the CIA lately I think that the attempt to paint this as being a problem for the administration is misplaced. What the CIA does is so obviously anti-administration that the blame should belong solely to the CIA.

The Exalted said...

i'm always amused by the explanation that state crimes must be kept secret for fear of the consequences of their revelation, thus ensuring...that the state continue to commit crimes.

awesome.

Gary Rosen said...

Once again, C-fudd the traitor attacking the USA.

By the way, prove that Mossad was "wrong" on Iran's program. If you know for sure, than why do we need a NIE from anyone.