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.
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.
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 27, 2007; ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — On Sept. 6, 2006, President Bush announced that the CIA’s overseas secret prisons had been temporarily emptied and 14 al-Qaeda leaders taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But since then, there has been no official accounting of what happened to about 30 other “ghost prisoners” who spent extended time in the custody of the CIA.
Some have been secretly transferred to their home countries, where they remain in detention and out of public view, according to interviews in Pakistan and Europe with government officials, human rights groups and lawyers for the detainees. Others have disappeared without a trace and may or may not still be under CIA control.
The bulk of the ghost prisoners were captured in Pakistan, where they scattered after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Among them is Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, a dual citizen of Syria and Spain and an influential al-Qaeda ideologue who was last seen two years ago. On Oct. 31, 2005, the red-bearded radical with a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head arrived in the Pakistani border city of Quetta, unaware he was being followed.
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.”
Blackwater involved in Rendition flights.
This flight was spotted landing at a UK airport – proof that ‘rendition ‘ flights are still taking place
By GLEN OWEN
The row over CIA ‘torture flights’ using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago.
The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces.
Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in ‘ghost flights’ to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad. Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as ‘the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet’. An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane – a CASA-212 Aviocar – taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee.