American Elephants

The West Coast Plot and “criminal prosecutions:” A study in political inexperience. by The Elephant's Child

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“The Obama administration is confused.” writes Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard.

The president says harsh interrogation techniques “do not make us safer,” but his top intelligence adviser says the same techniques produced “high-value information” that gave the U.S. government “a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.

Obama White House officials routinely boast that theirs is “the most transparent administration in history,” but then they release Justice Department memos about the interrogations in which the assessments confirming the value of those techniques are blacked out.

Attorney General Eric Holder tells a congressional committee that he is unaware of memos about the information gleaned in harsh interrogations that have been requested by former Vice President Dick Cheney, but his boss, the president, not only knows about those memos but also describes their contents to members of Congress.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the administration could support an independent investigation of interrogation techniques based on the 9/11 Commission.  Then he says that Obama decided long ago that such an investigation would be too political.

In the National Journal Stuart Taylor Jr. says “The review should start by taking seriously the views of the people with the most-detailed knowledge.  They say that the coercive interrogation program was highly effective.

Michael Hayden, Bush’s last CIA director and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently wrote, “As late as 2006, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations.” Former CIA Director George Tenent has said,”I know that this program has saved lives.  I know we’ve disrupted plots.  I know this program is worth more than [what] the FBI, the [CIA], and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.” Former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has said, “We have people walking around in this country that are alive today because this process happened.”

Marc Thiessen notes that: Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’

to use East Asian East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast.  The memo explains that “information obtained from KSM also led to  the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave’.”In other words, without enhanced interrogations, there could be a hole in the ground in Los Angeles to match the one in New York.

“Admiral Dennis Blair, the top intelligence official in the United States” says Stephen Hayes,

believes that the coercive interrogation methods outlawed by his boss produced “high-value information” and gave the U.S. government “a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.” He included those assessments in a letter distributed inside the intelligence community last Thursday, the same day Obama declassified and released portions of Justice Department memos setting out guidelines for those interrogations.

That letter from Blair served as the basis for a public statement that his office put out that same day.  But the DNI’s conclusions about the results of coercive interrogations — in effect, that they worked — were taken out of Blair’s public statement. …

The letter included this language: “From 2002 through 2006 when the use of these techniques ended, the leadership of the CIA repeatedly reported their activities both to Executive Branch policy makers and to members of Congress and received permission granted by “members of Congress” — permission that came from members of Obama’s own party.

Dick Cheney: “This is the first time that I can recall that we’ve had an administration come in, take power, and then suggest using the power of the government against their predecessors, from a legal standpoint.  Criminal prosecution of lawyers in the Justice Department whose opinions they disagreed with on an impor”crimitant issue.  Criminal prosecutions.  When was the last time that happened?”

Porter J. Goss, former CIA director: “Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage.  We can’t have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets.”

It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.  In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

  • We understood what the CIA was doing.
  • We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.
  • We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
  • On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

Should the winner of a  presidential election attempt to use the enormous powers of his office to investigate and prosecute his political adversaries? Will this begin a cycle of retribution in which policy disputes are to be criminalized?   And will this tear the country apart?

3 Comments so far
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I believe in freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but at what cost do we share this perspective? It is my belief that America should be based on a balance of capitalism and government and when one goes awry the other is there to step in to correct it short term until it stands right again. Well, we see that happening today. We need security and people who are willing to take measures with sound methods and act responsibly. It is a fine line to justify acts of torture in the name of (for) the greater of the good. Those who would do harm do not care about the individual, only the outcome of the greatest harm in the name of their cause. There will always be causes good and bad while humans live. An ideological state of well being is the continual process of over coming our corrupt desires, thus the need for a balance of power among our leaders. Those who believe in the balance between capitalism and government, freedom and preservation of our Inalienable rights written in the constitution, not bending it to the will of corruption, but by protecting those who can not protect themselves alone are the people I want in office. If a politician or any other person breaks the law and is, or should be, a punishable crime they need to be held accountable by our courts system, innocent until proven guilty. Maybe the next time someone abuses their power they will think twice about trying to get away with it. That’s the law and here to protect US citizens. The people responsible for our economic crisis increased their wealth based on a risk – they lost and illegally represented themselves thus broke the law. The amount of money that can potentially be reclaimed would put the government balance sheets back in order and there would be no need to tax Americans anymore than we are. This and all governance is a divine responsibility that has gone awry from its core. “The greatest obstacle the human endeavor has to over come is the belief in ones’ self.” MDN When you truly believe in yourself then you will follow the path of right actions, everything in moderation nothing in excess no matter what your lifestyle. No matter how big your pot you can’t take it with you. We ARE born into this world alone and we will leave alone. What legacy will you leave behind?


Comment by MNourigat


The “people responsible for our economic crisis” are in congress, not on Wall Street. You suggest “they” broke the law. But the only person who has been charged with any crime is Bernie Madoff — whom no one accuses of causing the financial crisis.

The problem was not people breaking the law, the problem was the laws. The laws caused the crisis. That no one has been arrested only proves that point. No one was arrested because no laws were broken. We had a crisis without any laws being broken because it was the laws that caused the crisis. First and foremost, the Community Redevelopment Act, and the Democrat-run and Democrat supported operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And as to whether people who abuse power will think twice about it? Why should they? Democrats have abused their power (I call it treason) by undermining a war they voted for for political gain, destroying national security secrets they wanted to cover up, and leaking national security secrets they wanted to use for political purposes — they have called the Commander in Chief and the Commanding General, General David Petraeus, liars for reporting that the surge was working. They declared the Iraq war “lost” and the surge a “failure” before all the troops had even arrived in the field.

Furthermore, they are now abusing the authority of their offices to threaten criminal prosecution for policy differences, have increased spending more than all previous presidents and congresses combined — the vast majority of which they have used to pay back political contributors and buy themselves votes, while they and their cheerleaders in the MSM ignore massive corruption within their own ranks.

I’d say if anything, the lesson of Democrats rise to power so far has been that corruption pays.


Comment by American Elephant

I’ll need to get back to you.


Comment by MNourigat

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