Monday, January 6, 2014

Great quotes - torture

"... My experience gave me confidence that I could squelch at least the more aggressive proposed EITs, then and there, if I wanted to. It would have been a relatively easy thing to do, actually. But over the next day or two, as I turned things over and over in my mind, I concluded that the issue was anything but easy. We were less than six months removed from 9/11; the nation was still in the throes of fear and dread about another catastrophic attack; cascading intelligence reports were indicating the threat of attack; and the CIA had in its custody the one guy who would likely know when, where and by whom the next plot would be carried out. And he was taunting and mocking us about it. At the same time, the CIA was being pilloried in Congress and the media for having been “risk averse” in the years leading up to 9/11—too unimaginative, too timid about dealing with the evil forces in the world. 

With all of that churning in my head, I couldn’t shake the ultimate nightmare scenario: another attack happens, and Zubaydah gleefully tells his CIA handlers he knew all about it and boasts that we never got him to tell us about it in time. All because at the moment of reckoning, the Agency had shied away from doing what it knew was unavoidable, what was essential, to extract that information from him. And with hundreds and perhaps thousands of Americans again lying dead on the streets or in rubble somewhere, I would know deep down that I was at least in part responsible. In the final analysis, I could not countenance the thought of having to live with that..." 

In this "exclusive account from the CIA’s former top lawyer" Rizzo justifies not squelching this but instead "punting" this to the OLC (i.e. John Yoo et al.) to have them "provide cover" by invoking the "time is of the essence," "no luxury of time" and "imminent attack" defense.

Which he then (presumably inadvertently) exposes as a farce, by saying "... I emphasized that we didn’t have the luxury of time—Zubaydah was sitting in his cell, perhaps with knowledge of another imminent attack, and basically he was giving his interrogators the finger. That was as close as I got to advocating the EITs. I returned to the Agency and told our people that this initial meeting went about as well for the CIA as could be expected: We had not been summarily dismissed as lunatics or aspiring criminals.  Three months later, on July 13, the group assembled in Bellinger’s office again. Other than responding to OLC requests for additional, specific factual information, the Agency did not play a role in any of the OLC’s internal deliberations. By the end of the meeting, I knew that the OLC was going to write a memorandum giving a bright green light to the EITs..." 

Amazing... Clearly he hasn't heard the famous Lincoln quote (just substitute knave for fool).

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