Sunday, December 09, 2007

In those destroyed tapes, the CIA was torturing someone they knew was low-level and seriously mentally ill

Joe Sudbay (DC) , In the excellent book, "The One Percent Doctrine," author Ron Suskind gave us the background on Abu Zubaydah, the guy the CIA was torturing in those now destroyed tapes. Here's how the Washington Post's review of Suskind's book describes him:

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail "what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics -- travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President," Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States." And over the months to come, under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.

Did Bush approve CIA leak to embarrass Pelosi? John Aravosis (DC), Sure looks that way. Today's Washington Post reports that Pelosi was briefed about the CIA's waterboarding in 2002 and raised no objections. A few responses:

  1. It's pretty clear that either one of the Republican members of Congress at the meeting, or the CIA, decided to leak what happened at a super-classified post-9/11 briefing in order to embarrass Pelosi and the Democrats. And I don't doubt for a minute that Bush approved the leak, as he always does.
  2. It's also clear that had Pelosi raised any private objections during the meeting - remember, it took place in the first year after September 11 - Bush and the Republicans would have leaked that fact to the public (like they just did) and destroyed her career and marked her publicly as a traitor. No member of Congress, no American, could have spoken up about anything in the months after September 11 and survived. It's patently unfair to suggest that somehow because Pelosi didn't object then that she doesn't have the right to object now.
  3. One final point. I hope this teaches Pelosi and Reid and all the Democrats that no matter what you do, this administration will mark you as a traitor and try to do destroy you. You might as well fight back and try to win, because if you don't, you'll sit back and lose.

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