Torture Collaborator Lied To Congress

Whocouldnode? From the NY Times (boldface mine):

In late November 2002, C.I.A. interrogators at a secret prison in Thailand warned a Qaeda suspect that he had to “suffer the consequences of his deception.”

As interrogators splashed water on the chest of the man, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, he pleaded that he was trying to recall more information, according to a newly released C.I.A. cable. As he cried, the cable reports, the “water treatment was applied.”

The “water treatment” was bureaucratic jargon for waterboarding, and 11 newly released top-secret cables from the time that Gina Haspel, now the C.I.A. director, oversaw the base provide at times graphic detail on the techniques the agency used to brutally interrogate Qaeda captives. Agency leaders and officers were racing to uncover what they feared were large-scale plots against the United States in the chaotic months and years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

As the chief of the base, Ms. Haspel would have written or authorized the cables, according to Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a research organization at George Washington University…

Though heavily redacted, the documents suggest that, as a 2014 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, the waterboarding and other brutal treatment of Mr. Nashiri produced little or no new intelligence about existing plots or imminent attacks

As she was trying to win confirmation as C.I.A. director this spring, Ms. Haspel claimed the techniques yielded valuable intelligence but disavowed them and said their use “should not have been undertaken.” During his campaign, President Trump flirted with the idea of reviving waterboarding — insisting that “torture works” — and has never denounced the harsh techniques used by the C.I.A….

But the interrogators appear to have ultimately concluded that Mr. Nashiri was not lying. Some of the cables back to headquarters, apparently written by Ms. Haspel, described him as “compliant and cooperative,” according to the 2014 report on the interrogation program by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Officials at C.I.A. headquarters were displeased by such comments, directing the field officers to stop making such “sweeping statements” about Mr. Nashiri’s compliance. The superiors in Langley, Va., insisted that he knew more than he was saying.

First, it’s not surprising that a C.I.A. official lied: time was, everyone understood that’s what intelligence officers do. It just goes to show how effective domestic propaganda, including shows like 24, has been at convincing Americans otherwise. Second, Haspel lied before Congress, and should be punished for that. Oversight and confirmation approval are meaningless if government officials can lie with impunity.

Third, there is an entire cohort of our security apparatus (#NotAllMembers) that has been irrevocably stained and corrupted by their association with torture–and I’m not just talking about intelligence operatives. The are corrupt. They have corrupted themselves. When given a choice to leave or quit, they choose to remain and collaborate with torturers (or even cover it up). People like this should never be trusted with power, even if they feel bad about the abuses. Corruption never remains isolated, it metastasizes, and one way it does so is through bureaucratic banality–”the water treatment.”

A significant failing of the Obama Administration was never prosecuting anyone for doing this, and so, the corruption is allowed to spread. Once torture is allowable, anything goes. Anything.

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