Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cry Me A River

It's hard for me to summon up much sympathy for hand wringing CIA officials and agents who now are worried that their jobs and future might be jeopardized by the decision to ban torture and to restrict interrogation techniques to those outlined in the Army Field Manual. Agents have already been assured by President Obama that they won't be prosecuted for using the torture specifically condoned by the Bush era Justice Department, even though those agents knew full well that some of the techniques they were using were in clear violation of both domestic and international law. What are they so worried about?

This article by Walter Pincus in today's Washington Post, as oddly disjointed as it is, gives us a few hints. Here's the most obvious one:

Although President Obama has said no CIA officers will be prosecuted for their roles in harsh interrogations if they remained within Justice Department guidelines in effect at the time, agency personnel still face subpoenas and testimony under oath before criminal, civil and congressional bodies.

As part of an ongoing criminal inquiry into the CIA's destruction of videotapes depicting waterboarding, CIA personnel will appear before a grand jury this week, according to two sources familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is continuing. The Senate intelligence committee is pursuing its investigation into whether harsh interrogations, including waterboarding, brought forward worthwhile intelligence, as agency and Bush administration officials have maintained.
[Emphasis added]

Apparently the CIA is not happy about all the attention. The way it does business and the very techniques that it uses are about to hauled into semi-public attention. The CIA will have some light shone on it, and that is something it clearly does not appreciate.

While intelligence gathering depends on some measure of secrecy, nowhere is it written that the CIA (or any other intelligence agency, for that matter) can do whatever it pleases, especially when what it pleases involves the kind of heinous behavior we have discovered agents engaged in. President Obama has already approved the "I was just following orders" defense for agents, even though that defense was deemed to be unacceptable at Nuremberg. Their personal backsides have been covered. Now it's time to find out just what was done, why, and what we have to do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

And if it upsets the suddenly sensitive feelings of the CIA officials and agents to have to provide testimony to the country that pays their salaries, well, I'm sure there are plenty of tissues to mop up the sweat and tears which will flow.

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Anonymous PeasantParty said...

sniff, boo-hoo, snot, and all that stuff. I guess the repubs really want this, "truth"!

snot, sniff, boo-hoo!


6:10 AM  
Anonymous larry, dfh said...

I don't have high expectations of anything happening. If the senate hearings are in secret, they will be extra useless, because these folks are all about the photo-op. The only beneficiaries of this process will be the senators who get to huff and puff and scold and rage in front of the cameras; the public will pick up the tab, and get nothing but a little entertainment.

7:22 AM  
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