Hayden Admits: Contractors Lead ‘Enhanced Interrogations’ at CIA Black Sites

Ciaprison In testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, Director of Central Intelligence Mike Hayden admitted to using contractors for “enhanced interrogation” at the CIA’s secret prisons, the so-called black sites.  It was an issue first raised last summer on The Spy Who Billed Me.  From Tuesday’s exchange:

FEINSTEIN:  I’d like to ask this question: Who carries out these [enhanced interrogation] techniques? Are they government employees or contractors?

HAYDEN: At our facilities during this, we have a mix of both government employees and contractors. Everything is done under, as we’ve talked before, ma’am, under my authority and the authority of the agency. But the people at the locations are frequently a mix of both — we call them blue badgers and green badgers.

FEINSTEIN: And where do you use only contractors?

HAYDEN: I’m not aware of any facility in which there were only contractors. And this came up…

FEINSTEIN: Any facility anywhere in the world?

HAYDEN: Oh, I mean, I’m talking about our detention facilities. I want to make something very clear, because I don’t think it was quite crystal clear in the discussion you had with Attorney General Mukasey.

Earlier, Senator Feinstein has asked Attorney General Mukasey whether the use of contractors in coercive interrogation techniques (i.e. enhanced interrogation techniques) is legal.  Specifically, Senator Feinstein asked:

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C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes as Judge Sought Interrogation Data

WASHINGTON – At the time that the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed videotapes of the interrogations of operatives of Al Qaeda, a federal judge was still seeking information from Bush administration lawyers about the interrogation of one of those operatives, Abu Zubaydah, according to court documents made public on Wednesday.Skip to next paragraph
Times Topics: C.I.A. Interrogation Tapes The court documents, filed in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, appear to contradict a statement last December by Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, that when the tapes were destroyed in November 2005 they had no relevance to any court proceeding, including Mr. Moussaoui’s criminal trial.

It was already known that the judge in the case, Leonie M. Brinkema, had not been told about the existence or destruction of the videos. But the newly disclosed court documents, which had been classified as secret, showed the judge had still been actively seeking information about Mr. Zubaydah’s interrogation as late as Nov. 29, 2005.

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A Scramble at the CIA to Lawyer Up

Original in Newsweek 

Attorney general Michael Mukasey’s decision to launch a full-scale FBI probe into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes has sent several alarmed agency employees scrambling to find lawyers. To lead the probe, the A.G. named John Durham, a hard-nosed veteran prosecutor who is assembling a team of deputies and FBI agents. Some CIA veterans fear the move is tantamount to unleashing an independent counsel on Langley. “A lot of people are worried,” says one former CIA official, who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. “Whenever you have the bureau running around the building, it’s going to turn up some heads. This could turn into a witch hunt.” Justice officials say Durham was assigned to investigate the 2005 decision to destroy the tapes—not the activities recorded on them, including the use of waterboarding on Al Qaeda suspects. But at this point, Durham has no formal mandate on the probe’s scope, giving him the freedom to expand it if he chooses. “We’re going to follow this wherever it leads,” says one Justice official, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing probe.

One key figure, Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA chief of clandestine services who gave the order to destroy the videotapes, has retained Robert Bennett, a renowned defense lawyer who represented Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Another potential witness, George Tenet, who was CIA director when the tapes were made, will be represented by former FBI general counsel Howard Shapiro. Roy Krieger, a Washington lawyer who has represented about 100 CIA employees, says that two agency officers have approached him about representation, though neither has retained him yet.

For the CIA spooks involved, cost is a serious issue. Krieger says legal expenses for each employee could reach “hundreds of thousands” of dollars; the CIA will not foot the bill. In anticipation of just such a scenario, however, the agency some years ago began encouraging its employees to purchase special liability-insurance policies from Wright & Co., a Virginia firm that specializes in coverage for government investigators. A Wright spokesman had no response to questions about whether claims have been filed for legal fees in connection with the tapes inquiry. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano confirmed the agency does not pay its officers’ legal bills, but added “only a very, very small subset of agency activities ever become the subject of litigation or investigation.”

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Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff

Ex-CIA Official May Refuse To Testify About Videotapes

Not just any former CIA official but the head of clandestine operations such as rendition, waterboarding, torture, kidnapping and murder, all in the name of “the war on terror”.

A former CIA official at the center of the controversy over destroyed interrogation videotapes has been blocked by Justice Department officials from gaining access to government records about the incident, according to sources familiar with the case.

Federal Judge Won’t Review Destruction Of CIA Videotapes
Thursday, Jan. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET: National Security and Intelligence
The former official, Jose Rodriguez Jr., has also told the House intelligence committee through a letter from his attorney that he will refuse to testify next week about the tapes unless he is granted immunity from prosecution for his statements, the sources said.

The panel has issued a subpoena for Rodriguez, the former chief of clandestine operations who issued the order to destroy the videotapes in 2005. He and other former CIA officials are also being blocked from gaining access to documents about the incident, sources said.

CIA chief to drag White House into torture cover-up storm

THE CIA chief who ordered the destruction of secret videotapes recording the harsh interrogation of two top Al-Qaeda suspects has indicated he may seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying before the House intelligence committee.

Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, is determined not to become the fall guy in the controversy over the CIA’s use of torture, according to intelligence sources.

It has emerged that at least four White House staff were approached for advice about the tapes, including David Addington, a senior aide to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, but none has admitted to recommending their destruction.

Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, said it was impossible for Rodriguez to have acted on his own: “If everybody was against the decision, why in the world would Jose Rodriguez – one of the most cautious men I have ever met – have gone ahead and destroyed them?”

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CIA Tapes Furor: A Legacy of Mistrust

This week’s uproar over the destruction of interrogation tapes by the CIA offers a rare public glimpse into a perennial battle within the agency’s clandestine service. Since Watergate, the CIA’s case officers have been restrained by the expectation that taking risks in pursuit of actionable intelligence would bring career-ending, or even life-threatening, exposure if things went badly and details came to light. CIA leaders, especially after 9/11, have sought to unshackle their operatives by reassuring case officers they would be protected if they took risks. Current CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden said Thursday that the tapes of the questioning of al-Qaeda suspects were destroyed to protect the identities of the interrogators.

Indeed, the man who ordered the tapes destroyed is certainly familiar with the case that agency employees view as one of the worst political betrayals of an operative. Jose Rodriguez headed the National Clandestine Service when he ordered the interrogation tapes destroyed. But during the 1980s and 1990s he was a case officer in Latin America and in the CIA headquarters office that oversees operations there. He served under Terry Ward, the onetime director of Latin American operations who was fired in 1995 by then-CIA director John Deutch. President Bill Clinton’s foreign intelligence advisory board had found Ward “derelict” in his duties for failing to inform Congress of human rights violations by agents of the CIA in Guatemala, including complicity in the death of an American citizen.

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Secretly briefed, Pelosi did not object to waterboarding in 2002

So now we know why impeachment is of the table. She’s in on the crimes and the treason.(Travellerev)  

Pelosi would later boot sole objector to program from chance to chair Intelligence Committee

Two senior Republicans and Democrats in Congress — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — were briefing on the CIA’s program to use waterboarding on terror suspects in September 2002 and did not object, according to Sunday’s Washington Post.

In the long-ranging article, which seemingly takes the lawmakers and the Bush Administration to task by discussing the practice’s emergence in Nazi Germany and other totalitarian states, a Pelosi aide said the Speaker remembered discussion of “enhanced” interrogation techniques and “acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time.”

Pioneering ‘heat wave’ gun may be used in Iraq

American commanders in Iraq are urging Pentagon chiefs to authorise the deployment of newly-developed heat wave guns to disperse angry crowds or violent rioters.

  • In pictures: How I was zapped by a heat wave gun

    But the plea for what senior army officers believe could prove a valuable alternative to traditional firepower in dangerous trouble-spots has so far gone unanswered.

      The Active Denial System (ADS)
    The ADS can target crowds from 750 metres away

    Washington fears a barrage of adverse publicity in the suspicious Muslim world and is concerned that critics will claim the invisible beam weapons were being used for torture.

    Now the US military directorate charged with developing non-lethal weapons, which has invested more than a decade developing the Active Denial System (ADS), has launched a concerted effort to convince both the public and its own bosses at the defence department of the device’s merits.

    “With brand new technology like this, perception is everything,” said Col Kirk Hymes, a former Marine artillery officer who heads the directorate.

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  • War pimp allert: Iraqi fighters ‘grilled for evidence on Iran’

    Interrogator says US military seeks evidence incriminating Tehran

    David Smith in Baghdad
    Sunday November 11, 2007
    The Observer

    Micah Brose, privately contracted interrogator working for US forces in Iraq
    Micah Brose, privately contracted interrogator working for US forces in Iraq. Photograph: David Smith
     

    US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran, it was claimed last night.Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is ‘gold’. The claim comes after Washington imposed sanctions on Iran last month, citing both its nuclear ambitions and its Revolutionary Guards’ alleged support of Shia insurgents in Iraq. Last week the US military freed nine Iranians held in Iraq, including two it had accused of links to the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force.

    Brose, 30, who extracts information from detainees in Iraq, said: ‘They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. They have pre-categories for us to go through, and by the sheer volume of categories there’s clearly a lot more for Iran than there is for other stuff. Of all the recent requests I’ve had, I’d say 60 to 70 per cent are about Iran.

    ‘It feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran’s not involved, it’s a let down.’ He added: ‘I’ve had people say to me, “They’re really pushing the Iran thing. It’s like, shit, you know.” ‘

    Brose said that reports about Washington’s increasingly hawkish stance towards Tehran, including possible military action, chimed with his experience. ‘My impression is they’re just trying to get every little bit of ammunition possible. If we get something here it fits the overall picture. The engine needs impetus and they’re looking for us to find the fuel – a particular type of fuel.

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    Waterboarding is Torture… Period

    Just in case you, like Judge Michael Mukasey presidential candidate nominated to follow up Gonzales, you were wondering about waterboarding, please read the following.

    I’d like to digress from my usual analysis of insurgent strategy and tactics to speak out on an issue of grave importance to Small Wars Journal readers. We, as a nation, are having a crisis of honor.

    Last week the Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey refused to define waterboarding terror suspects as torture. On the same day MSNBC television pundit and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough quickly spoke out in its favor. On his morning television broadcast, he asserted, without any basis in fact, that the efficacy of the waterboard a viable tool to be used on Al Qaeda suspects.

    Scarborough said, “For those who don’t know, waterboarding is what we did to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is the Al Qaeda number two guy that planned 9/11. And he talked …” He then speculated that “If you ask Americans whether they think it’s okay for us to waterboard in a controlled environment … 90% of Americans will say ‘yes.’” Sensing that what he was saying sounded extreme, he then claimed he did not support torture but that waterboarding was debatable as a technique: “You know, that’s the debate. Is waterboarding torture? … I don’t want the United States to engage in the type of torture that [Senator] John McCain had to endure.”

    In fact, waterboarding is just the type of torture then Lt. Commander John McCain had to endure at the hands of the North Vietnamese. As a former Master Instructor and Chief of Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, California I know the waterboard personally and intimately. SERE staff were required undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception. I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school’s interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques used by the US army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What was not mentioned in most articles was that SERE was designed to show how an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique.

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    Do We Already Have Our Pentagon Papers?

    They can’t help themselves. They want to confess.How else to explain the torture memorandums that continue to flow out of the inner sancta of this administration, the most recent of which were evidently leaked to the New York Times. Those two, from the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department, were written in 2005 and recommitted the administration to the torture techniques it had been pushing for years. As the Times noted, the first of those memorandums, from February of that year, was “an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.” The second “secret opinion” was issued as Congress moved to outlaw “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” treatment (not that such acts weren’t already against U.S. and international law). It brazenly “declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard”; and, the Times assured us, “the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums.”

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    Video of tasered student

    A truly disgusting piece of police brutality.

    But than you have to remember that Kerry did concede rather quick and he is a member of scull and bones and he is married to a descendant of one of the families who together with Prescott Bush were caught in preparing a coup in America in 1936. Yes, you got it the Heinz family. 

    U.S.: Syria on nuclear watch list

    Uh oh!

    By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
    1 hour, 49 minutes ago
    ROME – A senior U.S. nuclear official said Friday that North Koreans were in Syria and that Damascus may have had contacts with “secret suppliers” to obtain nuclear equipment.

    Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not identify the suppliers, but said North Koreans were in the country and that he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.

    He said it was not known if the contacts had produced any results. “Whether anything transpired remains to be seen,” he said.

    Syria has never commented publicly on its nuclear program. It has a small research nuclear reactor, as do several other countries in the region, including Egypt. While Israel and the U.S. have expressed concerns in the past, Damascus has not been known to make a serious push to develop a nuclear energy or weapons program.

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    Iraq to Privatize Electricity

    Now we know why the Iraqi national power grid had to be destroyed, the population will give up anything just to have electricity again.

    By Ben Lando, UPI. Posted September 10, 2007.

    An Iraqi electricity law hasn’t been made public.
    Two of Iraq’s many needs right now are more electricity and more investment. A law being drafted could satisfy both, paving the way for foreign and domestic private companies to build power plants, a step toward fully privatizing the electricity sector.

    “It should be short coming,” a senior U.S. official working in Baghdad on Iraq’s electricity sector told United Press International on condition of anonymity on the sidelines of an Iraq energy conference.

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    Is China Dumping the U.S. Dollar?

    September 10, 2007 | From theTrumpet.com

    Questions loom whether China is behind recent dollar sales—if it is, America’s way of life is about to change. The only question is how badly and how fast. By Robert MorleyThe U.S. dollar is standing at the edge of a cliff, and most people don’t even know it.

    Data released by the New York Federal Reserve shows that foreign central banks have been net sellers of U.S. treasuries over the past five weeks, with $48 billion having been sold since late July, and $32 billion in just the last two weeks.

    The U.S. runs budget deficits each year. If foreigners stop buying treasuries—or worse, start selling them—the dollar could be in big trouble.

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    Latest Bin Laden Video Is a Forgery: All References to Current Events Are Made During Video Freeze

    Osama Bin Laden’s widely publicized video address to the American people has a peculiarity that casts serious doubt on its authenticity: the video freezes at about 1 minute and 36 58 seconds, and motion only resumes again at 12:30. The video then freezes again at 14:02 remains frozen until the end. All references to current events, such as the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, and Sarkozy and Brown being the leaders of France and the UK, respectively, occur when the video is frozen! The words spoken when the video is in motion contain no references to contemporary events and could have been (and likely were) made before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

    See the video

    NORTHCOM Plans 5 Day Martial Law Exercise

    By Lee Rogers – Intel Strike Contributing Writer

    The United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) has just announced plans for an anti-terrorism exercise called Vigilant Shield 08. The exercise which is slated to run from October 15th to October 20th is described as a way to prepare, prevent and respond to any number of national crises. The exercise is simply a test case scenario for the implementation of martial law. Although the description of the exercise is disturbing, USNORTHCOM also announced that they are more prepared for a natural disaster and a terrorist attack after they used their response to Hurricane Katrina as a test laboratory. During Hurricane Katrina, authorities violated the constitutional rights of citizens by stealing people’s firearms and even relocating people against their will. These announcements are incredibly disturbing on a number of levels as the nature of Vigilant Shield 08 and the admission that Hurricane Katrina was used as a test laboratory shows that the government is actively preparing the military and government institutions for martial law.

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    Riverbend of “Baghdad Burning” Now in Exile

    I am greatful that Riverbend and her family have found relative safety in Syria.

    But I grief for her loss, read her heartwrenching story:

    Leaving Home…
    Two months ago, the suitcases were packed. My lone, large suitcase sat in my bedroom for nearly six weeks, so full of clothes and personal items, that it took me, E. and our six year old neighbor to zip it closed.

    Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.

    I packed and unpacked it four times. Each time I unpacked it, I swore I’d eliminate some of the items that were not absolutely necessary. Each time I packed it again, I would add more ‘stuff’ than the time before. E. finally came in a month and a half later and insisted we zip up the bag so I wouldn’t be tempted to update its contents constantly.

    The decision that we would each take one suitcase was made by my father. He took one look at the box of assorted memories we were beginning to prepare and it was final: Four large identical suitcases were purchased- one for each member of the family and a fifth smaller one was dug out of a closet for the documentation we’d collectively need- graduation certificates, personal identification papers, etc.

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    Bush in Sidney:”We’re kicking ass,”

    Phillip Coorey
    September 6, 2007Advertisement
    AdvertisementJOHN HOWARD, he pointed out again yesterday, first met George Bush in Washington on September 10, 2001.

    We all know that the events of the next day cemented a friendship unprecedented for leaders of the US and Australia.

    On the day they met, the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS treaty, Bush presented Howard with a gift – the bell from the USS Canberra. It was the only US naval ship named in honour of an ally’s sunken vessel.

    The HMAS Canberra was sunk in 1942 in the battle of Savo Island, near Guadalcanal.

    Today the US President will visit the National Maritime Museum to view the bell. It could be construed as an act of symmetry, given if Howard loses the election, this week would be the last time he and Bush see each other in their respective roles.

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    New Book Details Cheney Lawyer’s Efforts to Expand Executive Power

     

    By Dan Eggen and Peter Baker

    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, September 5, 2007; Page A01

    Vice President Cheney‘s top lawyer pushed relentlessly to expand the powers of the executive branch and repeatedly derailed efforts to obtain congressional approval for aggressive anti-terrorism policies for fear that even a Republican majority might say no, according to a new book written by a former senior Justice Department official.

    David S. Addington, who is now Cheney’s chief of staff, viewed both U.S. lawmakers and overseas allies with “hostility” and repeatedly opposed efforts by other administration lawyers to soften counterterrorism policies or seek outside support, according to Jack L. Goldsmith, who frequently clashed with Addington while serving as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 and 2004.


    The book portrays Alberto R. Gonzales as fairly passive, not an aggressor in counterterror law.

    The book portrays Alberto R. Gonzales as fairly passive, not an aggressor in counterterror law. (By Chris Graythen — Getty Images)

    #cheney228 { width: 228px; padding-bottom: 10px; } #cheney228 h3 { font: bold 13px/17px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; margin: 2px 0; } #cheney228 p { font: 11px/14px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; margin: 0; color: #333; }

    The Cheney Vice Presidency
    [Photo]

    Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency

    Dick Cheney is the most influential and powerful man ever to hold the office of vice president. This series examines Cheney’s largely hidden and little-understood role in crafting policies for the War on Terror, the economy and the environment.
    Read the 4-Part Series »

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    “We’re going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop,” Addington said at one point, according to Goldsmith.

    Addington, who declined comment yesterday through Cheney’s office, is a central player in Goldsmith’s new book, “The Terror Presidency.” It provides an unusual glimpse of fierce internal dissent over the legal opinions behind some of the Bush administration’s most controversial tactics in detaining and interrogating terrorism suspects.

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