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Presidency

National security & CIA turbulance

I bring to your attention three different events or reports that may be related to one another, and could have explosive consequences. The Justice Department "ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter." And then note this: "President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, part of a broader effort to revamp U.S. policy on detention and interrogation, senior administration officials said Sunday." And then note this from ABC News: "A 'profanity-laced screaming match' at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC News.com."
Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 19 Comments

Rule of law or rule of men?

The witch hunt Scanlon wants has begun.

Scanlon wants rule of Arabs.

This from a backer of Sotomayor -- some liberals, these!

Yea, its not like those CIA folks were armed members of the New Black Panther Party who were trying to intimidate voters - a case in which the use executive discretion to not prosecute was clearly the just and politic course. Also empathetic.

A note to my fellow conservatives. Don't blame Holder. Obama should be made to OWN the hunting of the CIA officials who were not only following orders but also working within the administration's understanding of the law as applied to terrorist suspects (those who went beyond the administration guidelines are on their own of course).

Pete - I thought the investigation is into the actions of those who went BEYOND what the several memos authorized.

Steve - to the extent that is what they do, that is fine by me, but I don't trust Holder or Obama to not go after CIA officials for waterboarding and other activities that were under the guidance of the then-administration. If I'm wrong, I'll be glad to eat my words. I like it when Obama pleasantly surprises me.

Granted, special prosecutors are inevitably loose cannons, professional incentives being what they are. Maybe the CIA should rather have been told to discipline rogues (employees? contractors?) as an internal matter.

Steve, weren't they? I'll bet they did. No show in that. The Obama admin. seems to be all about making a show for us. Whatever discipline the CIA used will come out in a trial, will be said not to be enough. If then there is something sensible to come that, the agency will be merged with NSA or the FBI, government will be a little smaller, a little more streamlined, a little more efficient. No, that won't happen. We'll just get the show. Not only will the "rogues" be hung out to dry, so will lots of other people who should not be. Media circus -- lots to talk about -- even here. What fun.

When it comes to national security, the Obama adminstration is making it increasingly clear that it can't even take it's own side in a fight.

exactly Kate, its just a big show. I would imagine the "heated words" were fabricated or done in between laughter. Did I see someone advocating the Nuremberg defense?

I don't know about that. I cannot see Leon Panetta taking on the CIA just to take it down. He is supposed to be fixing the agency and he has to be having one heck of a time doing that with all the flack it's been catching from every branch but the judiciary. Who would be surprised about his becoming "heated" about the impossible position he has been put in?

Which brings us to Mac's question -- whose side are they on? Ken Thomas in comment #8 points to that article about rendition. That indicates that it is good policy if they do it, but was bad when the Bush Admin. did it. If you are at war with the previous administration then they are the enemy, their policies are evil, you must root out the remnant by whatever means. The more publicly you do that, the more the public is distracted from other nasty issues you would rather they did not discuss. We all know what those issues are.

Hence, it is interesting that Craig Scanlon poses his question, because we are all fairly certain that the law will be twisted by those men ruling. The rule of law is highly desirable, but when the law can be stood on its head by those in power to achieve their political ends, who can like that?

Who did not know that if the Obama Administration got itself into trouble that these kinds of trials would be the inevitable result? Wasn't that something we were discussing on here after the election in November?

"The witch hunt Scanlon wants has begun."

Yeah, I guess you're right, Frisk. It's not as though any of the involved parties did anything really gravely serious, like a Democrat cheating on his wife by diddling with an intern, and then lying about it. If one of these guys did something like THAT then I suppose such a relentless pursuit of them would be justified.

"The Obama admin. seems to be all about making a show for us."

Yeah, so true, Kate! I bet the next thing they'll do is put Obama in a flight suit, have him land on an aircraft carrier, and then give a speech in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner! Sure, it would be shameless - and false in every respect - but I wouldn't put it past them!

Craig is becoming offensively defensive. We are in good shape.

How many times has someone been put in place to "fix" the CIA. All that ever happens is that they get more funding and more power. Why are people so placated by the idea someone is going to fix it then they never seem to care to follow up. George H.W. Bush is a good example as I believe he was brought in after watergate to "fix" the CIA during a time when public opinion towards the agency was very low. They even sold him as an outsider even though there is a lot of evidence that he had worked with/for the CIA since returning from WWII as Zappata offshore drilling just happended to show up in crucial CIA hotspots.

Brutus, I do not disagree. There is a new guy in charge every couple of years. They are always in an impossible spot, which does not mean Panetta would like the fact.

Steve, looking into it further, it seems that the incident most often cited (with the threatened use of gun and the power drill), the employee was fired. That is if I read the stories right. I don't see what else the CIA as an institution could have done to discipline him. The Department of Justice at the time seems to have concluded that they would not be able to get a conviction.

Kate, We are seeing the new standard liberal partisan view on prosecutions. If you engage in voter initimidation its okay - if you are part of a left/radical/racialist group. If you engage in perjury and obstruction of justice then we need to move on - if you are a Democrat. If you are interrogating terrorists - spend the rest of your life watching your back.

And Steve, I don't mean you in the second paragraph. I think you are a liberal (from my memory of earlier post of yours), but you always struck me as a fairminded guy.

One thing on the hypocrisy leitmotif on this board. If you are willing to condone certain types of evil then(the agument will be) you have no basis to condemn other types. The only way to win is to condemn all types and cast out those who commit evil acts regardless of their ends.

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