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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Bolton says US intel report on Iran was political

Some times I really wonder what color the sky is on their planet.

BERLIN – U.S. intelligence services were seeking to influence political policy-making with their assessment Iran had halted its nuclear arms program in 2003, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said.

Der Spiegel magazine quoted Bolton Saturday as saying the aim of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), contradicting his and President George W. Bush’s own oft-stated position, was not to provide the latest intelligence on Iran.

“This is politics disguised as intelligence,” Bolton was quoted as saying in an article appearing in next week’s edition.

Blackwater probe narrows focus to guards

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors investigating the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians have narrowed their focus on as few as three Blackwater Worldwide bodyguards and have given others immunity for cooperating in the case, The Associated Press has learned.

New information about the deadly Sept. 16 incident, which has strained relations between the United States and Iraq, reflects progress by the government to prosecute Blackwater guards for the shooting in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square.

A final decision on whether to prosecute the guards – and how many – may still be months away. But two weeks into a federal grand jury investigation, people close to the case told AP that authorities have focused the number who could face charges to about three of the dozen or more guards on the security detail.

Despite the progress, the people who discussed the case noted concerns about testimony given by the four Blackwater guards who have so far appeared in front of the secret panel. Details were discussed on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

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Domestic Spying, Inc.

A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time. Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites. If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the U.S. one of the world’s most closely monitored nations. Until now, domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites was limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement.

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The CIA’s Destroyed Interrogation Tapes and the Saudi-Pakistani 9/11 Connection

On December 5, the CIA’s director, General Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement disclosing that in 2005 at least two videotapes of interrogations with al Qaeda prisoners were destroyed. The tapes, which the CIA did not provide to either the 9/11 Commission, nor to a federal court in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, were destroyed, claimed Hayden, to protect the safety of undercover operatives.Hayden did not disclose one of the al Qaeda suspects whose tapes were destroyed. But he did identify the other. It was Abu Zubaydah, the top ranking terror suspect when he was tracked and captured in Pakistan in 2003. In September 2006, at a press conference in which he defended American interrogation techniques, President Bush also mentioned Abu Zubaydah by name. Bush acknowledged that Zubaydah, who was wounded when captured, did not initially cooperate with his interrogators, but that eventually when he did talk, his information was, according to Bush, “quite important.”

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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.”

Houston to Dubai: A Nonstop Flow of Money

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Great news for the war profiteers of Cheney’s Halliburton

While you’re financing the trillion-dollar Iraq debacle, the execs at Halliburton got some good news today from the United Arab Emirates: The UAE’s airline, Emirates, is now offering nonstop service to Houston, Dubai’s news service reports.

New York already has three flights daily to Dubai. But why now Houston? Halliburton is moving its headquarters to Dubai. And with that move, huge bundles of taxpayer cash are exiting the U.S.

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