Maybe She Should Be Afraid

So freedom is on the march (boldface mine):

NBC News published a story on a senior CIA official who is a “top al Qaeda expert” and a “key architect of the agency’s defense of its detention” and torture program for terrorism suspects. The official apparently developed “oft-repeated talking points that misrepresented and overstated” the effectiveness of torture. And, while the female official is singled out in the Senate intelligence committee’s summary of its CIA torture report, NBC News made the decision to protect her identity.

This female expert has been tied to a pre-9/11 intelligence failure and the rendition of German citizen Khaled el-Masri. She participated in the torture of alleged 9/11 suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while he was detained at a secret prison in Poland. She misread intelligence from another terrorism suspect and used it to “extract” an “erroneous admission” from Mohammed.

The identity of this CIA officer is already in the public domain. The identity and stories of her time spent defending and participating in torture have been reported by journalists. She even has a Wikipedia page that matches up exactly with what NBC News reporter Matthew Cole wrote about her….

The media organization claims that they are protecting her anonymity “at the request of the CIA” because the agency cited “a climate of fear and retaliation in the wake of the release of the committee’s report.” But the notorious CIA officer is already known to the world.

The Intercept has released her name, offering the following justification (boldface mine):

The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer, writing yesterday about the NBC article, added that the officer “is still in a position of high authority over counterterrorism at the C.I.A.” This officer, Mayer noted, is the same one who “dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked.” Mayer also wrote that the officer is “the same woman” identified in the Senate report who oversaw “the months-long rendition and gruesome interrogation of another detainee whose detention was a case of mistaken identity.”

She is not only a torturer, but she willfully misrepresented the consequences of torture to the American people. If the cost of doing these awful things is the enmity of her fellow citizens and the inability to travel abroad for fear of arrest, so be it. It’s clear that neither the Justice Department nor Congress will do anything to prevent future episodes of torture, so a little fear by intelligence officers is what we’ll have to settle for.

This is not the optimal outcome, but what else is there when our supposed betters repeatedly fail us?

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