Open question: Investigating the CIA — right or wrong?

What is your opinion?This week it was announced that the Attorney General, Eric Holder, will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate how the CIA interrogated terror suspects. One side says this will chill future CIA investigations and turn sensitive matters into a legal circus. The other side says that it is only investigating if anyone broke the law for which the CIA is not above the law.

What is your opinion?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 08:48 | Posted in Measure 37 | 18 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • provo

    When people fear investigations, they usually have something to hide.

  • Dave

    Absolutely Wrong, especially by a “special prosecuter” who will be hand picked by the administration. Bad for national security. Bad for our Intelligence place on the world scene. An obscene jesture of Arrogance on the part of the White House. Totally rediculous. The FBI should be investigating congress for all of their transgressions against the constitution.

    • anti-dave

      Can you name a transgression? Mind you, I will judge what you say based on the constitution, not on what fox news or Lars says is in the constitution. If you need a refresher, google “U.S Constitution”. While your at it check out the 5th and 6th amendment.

      • Editor

        The last comment was edited to remove obscenity. Keep it clean and civil folks.

  • Provo

    If the CIA followed their own interrogation rules then what is there to worry about? You can’t tell me that there were no good guidelines to follow.

  • Jerry

    WRONG

  • Provo

    Just give me one single point about what was said that was so wrong.

    • Jerry

      Just answering the question of the article’s title – nothing to do with anything you posted.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find it more that a little funny that Holder, who was part of a justice department that used the military to spy on civilians ( the DEA use of Army jets with FLIR over flights ) and sent in tanks to enforce a search warrant is now investigating the CIA because they might have threatened some guy with a drill or pretended to shoot someone in another room?

    This investigation might be a circus, but frankly I wonder if it won’t be cut short if Obama’s number do not go up as a result of it. This is political base building after annoyance from the left over bungling of health care and possible ejection of the public option from any plan. It’s moral chest thumping opportunity from the left wing equivalents of face painters at the Super bowl and nothing more. The base feels down, time to pep them up. The danger is that the overall public is not too gung ho on treating the GITMO crowd with the kids gloves, bedtime stories and cookie and milk treatment their moral superiors seem to think is appropriate. The one thing the Republicans did not totally flush down the toilet was that they were better on security/protecting the country from terrorism. Democrats know this so they will probably walk a thin line. They can throw some meat into the kennel, just so long as the visiting public doesn’t see the hounds ripping apart the carcass too much.

    What will be more interesting is the investigation after this one, after the next terror incident. Frankly I see a reenactment of the 9/11 commission.

    We will have a repeat of the infamous failure of the lack of communication between CIA and FBI. There will be hand wringing. Someone will point out an idiotic policy decision. The last time around it was the idiotic wall of silence put in place by ex justice official Jamie Gorelick that kept CIA and FBI talking. Unfortunately the attorney general at the time was the only one who would point this out. The left was far more concerned with the fact that he had purchased the drape that covered a statue rather than rented it as had been done for decades before.

    The up side is there will be a moral runway prancing opportunity for those who generally oppose shoving morals down other peoples throat unless it is their own. So at least they will have fun. Obama’s on a short leash though. Unless his poll numbers rise dramatically, this little fashion show will probably be short lived.

    • Kennedy’s spirit

      “because they might have threatened some guy with a drill or pretended to shoot someone in another room? ”

      No. Its because laws may have been broken.

      “The danger is that the overall public is not too gung ho on treating the GITMO crowd with the kids gloves, bedtime stories and cookie and milk treatment their moral superiors seem to think is appropriate. ”

      Aside from the fact no one is advocating this, actual professional interrogators, including the FBI, have been saying over and again that the most effective way to get reliable information from people is through persuasion, not intimidation. And once people are incarcerated and not a threat and have no information, then why not treat them as human beings? I used to think this is what made our nation better than our enemies.

      “Obama’s on a short leash though. Unless his poll numbers rise dramatically, this little fashion show will probably be short lived. ”

      Polls go up and down over the course of a presidency. If he governs based on the days polls, he derserves to fail. And in any case, few people will make this investigtion their top issue. Economy goes up, Obama will go up with it. Wars end or improve, he goes up with that.

  • The Kennedy Free At Last Free At Last Thank God Almighty We are Free At Last Com

    >No. Its because laws may have been broken.

    Great! I am so glad you guys are now interested in enforcing the law.

    Now if only you had the same interest in enforcing immigration law!

    >to get reliable information from people is through persuasion, not intimidation.

    Hmm, who care?

    Im bored of slapping this one down. Can we move on? Dick Cheney has gone on record saying they got their most valuable information from these techniques and has urged full disclosure of all of it.

    Sure seems to work according the the guy who would know and can prove it.

    Seriously, lets move on from this “torture doesn’t work” sillyness. It’s dull as hell and the evidence obviously contradicts it.

    Torture – The Other Educational System

    • Kennedy’s spirit

      “Hmm, who care(s)?”

      Oh, I dunno. Anyone interested in gaining actual, reliable information about terrorism for starters.

      “Dick Cheney has gone on record saying they got their most valuable information from these techniques and has urged full disclosure of all of it.”

      I guess that settles it then. He is “on record.” But wait. Isn’t that the same Dick Cheney who is “on record” saying that he had “no doubt” that Saddam had WMDs and was consorting with al Queda prior to our multi-trillion dollar invasion and sacrifice of over 4000 American lives? Yes, I think it was him. Fool me once…

      “Seriously, lets move on from this “torture doesn’t work” sillyness. It’s dull as hell and the evidence obviously contradicts it.”

      Only if you accept a liar’s word as evidence and fictional TV show results. But even assuming Cheney is being honest for once, then he and you should welcome an impartial investigation that gets at the truth of what happened. If it turns out torture is the way to go to get reliable intelligence, then we can change our laws and constitution (cruel and unusual punishment and all that), rescind the treaties we drafted and signed, resign our pole position as the leader of world democracies, (assuming we still have such a position,) and adopt torture as common practice right down to the local precient level.

      Or we could just not investigate and remain in the dark on what our elected and appointed government officials did in our name.

  • John in Oregon

    A bit of context is required.

    First. The Geneva conventions as written specifically exclude three groups from protections. Spies, saboteurs, and terrorists. These are excluded because they expose civilian populations to harm.

    Second, The courts historically held that enemy combatants were not entitled to American rights.

    Third, The courts recognized that the constitution provided no role for the courts in the conduct of war.

    Fourth, The courts recognized the constitutional authority of Congress to designate the cases that could be heard by the court.

    Fifth, The constitution prohibits ex-post-facto laws.

    That was the state of the law when the incidents in question took place and remained the state of the law until the court ruled;

    1] Terrorists were entitled to the highest level of Geneva protections.

    2] Fighters on the field of battle in a foreign land are entitled to US constitutional rights. (Miranda anyone?)

    3] The courts would take control of the Presidential authority to conduct war.

    4] The court ignored the constitutional Congressional designation of the DC Circuit to hear the cases.

    The Inspectors General report found some minor procedural violations. Such as blowing cigar smoke in a terrorists face or letting the terrorist hear the sound of a power drill. AG Eric Holder is now conducing prosecution of past action based on current rules, an ex-post-facto investigation.

    Andrew McCarthy is the only prosecutor to successfully convict a foreign terrorist for attacking US civilians. His take is that the major impact of AG Eric Holder’s actions will be damage to American sovereignty.

    McCarthy’s evaluation is at;
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGMyYTQ1ZTM5YTQ5NjJjNzJmNGUxZDIyOTFjYzIyM2Y=

    • barn builder

      I think the question was whether the investigation is warranted or not, not whether we know for a fact who is guilty of what if anything. The attorney general has determined there is enough smoke that there masy be a fire. That is his job no?

      Torture is illegal in this nation under the US criminal code. It is also banned under multiple international treaties the US helped draft and signed onto, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948,) the American Convention on Human Rights (1977), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed 1977; ratified 1992). Reagan himself signed the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1984.

      So this goes way past the Geneva Conventions. As far as I know, there are NO exceptions for who a nation can or cannot torture. All human beings are covered.

      If the CIA or its contractors engaged in torture, and if higher ups in the Bush Administration told them it was ok to do so, then they all broke the law, multiple laws in fact.

  • John in Oregon

    The Geneva Conventions may not be simply discarded when inconvenient. The conventions were at the center of court decisions.

    On 7 December, 1941 a Philippine brigade of the US Army was stationed in the continental US for training. During WW2 many of these men wearing civilian clothing became coast watchers, spies and Philippine underground contacts. They did so knowing the Geneva Conventions expressly gave them no protections.

    In Europe Norwegian resistance forces mined and sank the ferry, SF Hydro to destroy a German shipment of heavy water. The resistance did so knowing that friends and neighbors would die when the ferry sank, and did so knowing the Geneva Conventions expressly gave them no protections.

    On entering a village the Vietcong would often prevent the feeding of the village pigs. After selecting the 10 to 18 year old son of a village elder the villagers were forced to watch the pigs disembowel the lad as he screamed in agony. These “men” did not care that Geneva provided no protections.

    The highest calling of the Geneva Conventions is the protection of noncombatant indigenous civilian populations from harm.

    The Army Field Manual is the bible of the line soldier. The manual recognizes the line soldier is neither trained nor equipped to conduct interrogations. Therefor the field annual instructs keep the prisoner comfortable and no interrogation.

    I see often the talking point litany of dates and torture treaties. These talking points are irrelevant as on one is saying the United States does or should torture. The talking point is intended to obscure the ever widening definition of torture. That is the question. What constitutes torture?

    Is hacking off the head of Daniel Pearl with a dull butcher knife torture? Or is true torture allowing a prisoner to hear the sound of an operating power drill?

    Is hanging beheaded bodies from a bridge torture? Or is real torture blowing cigar smoke in the face of a prisoner?

    Is being forced to watch pigs disembowel the son of a village elder torture? Or is true torture the discharge of a weapon in an adjacent room?

    Is being forced to watch as ones son is lowered into a shredder feet first torture? Or are verbal threats real torture?

    Is fire at the backs of civilians forcing them to jump to their deaths torture? Or is pouring water in a mans face the ultimate torture?

    Despite the protestations of the Center for Constitutional Rights, those questions are answered by a clear and concise statue defining what does and does not constitute torture.

    The declassified inspectors general report from some years ago is part on an ongoing policy of monitoring CIA operations. Attempted prosecution for departure from procedures resulted in an innocent verdict.

    > *I think the question was whether the investigation is warranted or not, not whether we know for a fact who is guilty of what if anything. The attorney general has determined there is enough smoke that there masy (sic) be a fire. That is his job no?*

    The AG appointed a special prosecutor, he did not appoint an independent investigator. So you can stop with the false flag cover of an investigation.

    Reuters did a detailed piece investigating any potential CIA interrogation abuse prosecutions. The conclusion was two. Slim and none. http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE57S0YD20090829

    This is worth repeating. Andrew McCarthy is the only prosecutor to successfully convict a foreign terrorist for attacking US civilians. His take is that the major impact of AG Eric Holder’s actions will be damage to American sovereignty. http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGMyYTQ1ZTM5YTQ5NjJjNzJmNGUxZDIyOTFjYzIyM2Y=

    Further in another piece McCarthy said;

    “Investigations are about satisfying daunting legal standards, not mollifying an administration’s political base. *Here, there is not just reasonable doubt that the interrogators engaged in imminent threats, intended to commit psychological torture, and caused prolonged, severe mental damage to the terrorist detainees. There is virtual certainty that they did not.* Clearly, that is why the professional prosecutors who probed these cases over the last several years opted not to bring charges.”

    “When Al Gore clearly violated the law, Eric Holder found no controlling legal authority and shut down the case. Now, when the controlling legal authority clearly shows no violation of law, Holder has unleashed the prosecutors to go after the nation’s most crucial line of defense against terror. That is shameful.” http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NWRhNzAwYmYzMWExYTBlMTM2MjI2MjA4Y2JlODIwMTg=

    Finally from the Washington Post comes an interesting prospective. In the bureaucratic battle between AG Holder and the CIA the authors recognize that Holder is winning. ‘And the reason is equally obvious. It’s not that Obama is deferential to the office of Attorney General; it’s because Obama agrees with Holder and disagrees with those charged with defending our country from attack.’

    The CIA will be restricted to the Army Filed Manual. They may ask the detainee if he is comfortable.

    • barn builder

      You have not been keeping up John. The CIA is already out of the interrogation business. That job, which the CIA was clearly not prepared for in any case, has been turned over to the FBI leading a special inter agency group.

      As for the rest, I’ll wait for the investigation to reach conclusions before I reach any on my own.

    • John in Oregon

      > *You have not been keeping up John. The CIA is already out of the interrogation business.*

      when accusing someone of being out of touch its best to make the case with something that’s actually, you know, news. That happened back in May and isnt news at all. It was reported the first week of June by Rep. Mike Rodgers when he returned from Afghanistan.

      *Miranda Rights for Terrorists* 10 June, 2009 http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/06/miranda_rights_for_terrorists.asp

      *DOJ Confirms FBI is Reading Miranda Rights to Detainees in Afghanistan*
      http://beltwayblips.dailyradar.com/story/doj_confirms_fbi_is_reading_miranda_rights_to

      I did reference it with my comment (Miranda anyone?) in the first post. However it wasn’t relevant to the AG’s PROSECUTION of CIA line personnel as President Obama said he wouldn’t do before he did.

      But, hey, since you brought it up, > *That job, which the CIA was clearly not prepared for in any case..*

      A good judge of the CIA effectiveness would be the Afghan war bogging down from a lack of actionable intelligence since the FBI took over.

      But I wouldn’t blame the FBI. That blame belongs where President Truman said the buck stops.

      • barn builder

        “A good judge of the CIA effectiveness would be the Afghan war bogging down from a lack of actionable intelligence since the FBI took over.”

        A good judge of the effectiveness of CIA techniques is the fact we are still fighting there after 8 years and seem to have more enemies than we did 7 years ago.

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)