If we don't get to the bottom of this, any of us could be up for TORTURE at any point - and what's more, what has already transpired here is NOT Okay. The corporatocracy relies on torture and assassination to get its way around the world.
If we want a world to revolve around sanity and justice, we simply get to the the bottom of this and truly make it SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE, otherwise there will be plenty more.
It was the brave people of Latin America - the mothers and the children of the tortured and those who were disappeared (not dispeared, but WERE disappeared, if you see the difference) who stopped these disgusting and repugant practices. We can make them STOP being pursued as a mean of CONTROL is we have a will to do that.
So read this and THINK ABOUT IT AND Then get involved in demanding an investigation that answers the troubling questions raised, eh?? That is the RIGHT THING to be doing right now!!
Turn off your television set and start writing those letters and circulate this to everyone you know:
In solidarity and to freedom for all,
I’m having some trouble with a few details this former CIA agent has disclosed. This note outlines a line of questions, and some discussion to expand on the concerns. This is intended for Members of Congress and their staff to consider when discussing with this former CIA agent in closed session. This is not intended to be accurate, merely raise some questions for discussion purposes only.
(Briefly) What We’ve Been Told
1. The former CIA agent was not present during the waterboarding, but was part of a team and got the details of what was said second-hand, not from first-hand/personal observation.
2. The prisoner is alleged to have disclosed information.
3. The former CIA agent alleges there is a link between [a] the information gleaned through waterboarding; and [b] the interruption of an ongoing plan to commit terrorism; yet there is no mention of how it was shown (c) how the information gleaned was (d) directly related to the event, but (e) not available from any other source.
There are several problems with the disclosures.
The former CIA agent asserts he was not present when the waterboarding took place, but relied on information from others. From a legal perspective, this doesn’t mean the information is false, it means it is not admissible unless there is evidence to support the validity of the reported observed-events. For example, if I were to tell you that “yesterday, the light was red”, and you believed that and reported it, you are reporting not what happened, but what I said happened. Your report of, “They said the light was red yesterday,” isn’t an assertion on your part that the light was red; or that anyone reported/observed the light yesterday, only that the report was about the color of the light and the day.
In the case of the waterboarding, we have yet to hear anything from the other team members, or the details of the information. Specifically we do not know the following:
- What information was only available through this interrogation?
- What information — before the interrogation occurred — did the interrogators review?
- What information — after the interrogation occurred — did the interrogators review?
- What information — only available through this interrogation — did not watch the real events?
Subsequent to this interrogation, we’re told that “this information” resulted in a number of “interruptions”:
- Was the information related to the “interruption” only available through the interrogation?
- Is it possible that the interruption was possible because of other information, gathered outside this interrogation?
Let’s focus on the supposedly interrupted event itself:
- How far along was the planning?
- Was the “interrupted event” merely in the “speculative phase” or were there actual physical objects/evidence captured that had been positioned and were about to be used?
The key is to recall that an “interrupted event” — however it is described — can be anything from an “idea” of something in one person’s mind; to a massive plot to do something, well advanced, and the evidence is available. Members of Congress and their staff are encouraged to ask:
- If these “other plots” were interrupted, where is the physical evidence: Physical evidence in terms of receipts for items purchased, photographs of the material to be used, and a trace of funds through ledgers or book-updates showing that funds were being used.
- Were there specific locations which were not known before which had specific equipment which were not known before this interrogation?
- Was there no other method to determine — before this interrogation — that these physical objects were ready, getting organized, or were being readied?
B. CIA Team Approach
Valarie Plame in her book openly discusses the CIA “team” approach. An agent does not necessarily act alone as we’ve been thought might occur in the James Bond world. CIA “teams’ are not necessarily where you think they are. Some of the “other team members” are not located in-country; but they might be.
In this case, the former CIA agent does not mention where he was; or where the other members of “his team” were: They could be in-country; they might be at other interrogation sites to include GTMO, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, and Afghanistan. We don’t know how the CIA “teaming” concept on the interrogations was organized geographically, functionally, or by what objective.
- Where was the team?
- Were all the team members in the same interrogation center?
- How many team members were at the CIA contractors outside DC in the McClean, VA area?
- Is it possible that — when these interrogations occurred before 2005 — that OVP was putting pressure on any agent to “find” specific results; or that there was any pressure on any CIA contractors to “justify” the budgets for that particular operation, team, or activity?
- Did the team communicate in person, courier, or some other method to exchange information; where are these transmission records; and what discussion was there about the details of these notes/communications?
- When did this former CIA agent meet with “the team” to review the details provided?
Timelines of prisoner capture, interrogation, and subsequent interruption.
One thing that is not yet clear is the time between (a) prisoner capture; (b) first interrogation; (c) this interrogation including waterboarding; (d) the time the team shared the information; and (e) the time the “interrupted event” was interrupted; and (f) the time that other information was used to determine the information from the waterboarding was actionable, and linked with something real on the ground/physical space.
- Is there any chance that the data used to determine the information gleaned from the waterboarding was not available from any other source?
- What methods were used to test the data?
- What other sources/methods/resources were used — before declaring the other event “interrupted” — to verify the information gleaned from waterboarding; and show that the information gleaned was reliable, and linked with something that was real?
D. Data Testing
No discussion on methods to test information disclosed; nor validate the information was not available from another source before the interrogation or the asserted-interruption of the terrorist activity.
E. Presidential Notification
We also don’t know how the data provided to the CIA was incorporated into any PDBs; or how this was used as background information provided to the media. Think broadly about what we know about Plame, Iraq, and the Iran NIE: Initial assumptions-assertions proved invalid, but the origianl plans continued.
- What timelines were the case officers associated with the Directorate of Operations using to review the results?
- Once the logistics division in Eastern Europe (CIA logistics center based in Germany) was involved to provide resources to the detention centers in Eastern Europe, how were various timelines, options, and other logistics-related issues modified based on this “new” information?
- Were the plans in place modified; or were they established because of other sources of information which set the “interruption” effort into effect?
What we’re getting at is this: If, as we are led to believe, that only this waterboarding yielded new information about an event, we should be able to go to the DO and Admin areas in teh CIA to determine whether there were or were not reasonable/related changes in plans. However, if the plans — before the interrogation started — had been adjusted to interrupt the ongoing effort, then we have to consider the other option: Someone already knew within CIA of some other effort; and despite this waterboarding, there was a plan in place — known prior to the waterboarding — of an upcoming event. This means, contrary to the assertions of this former CIA agent, there was not “new” information; but this waterboarding merely confirmed what the CIA was assuming: There was something going on.
What we don’t know is the novelty of this information; or how “other teams” — which this CIA agent would not know about — were already acting on with DoD or DoJ or other intelligence services to thwart “other things”. Again, consider the NIE-Intelligence Community model: It is a consensus document; but it is not something that is immediately known: it takes time. Since 2003 until now in 2007 people have not been on the same page on Iran. The same goes with this “interrupted effort”-claim: Given the imperfect knowledge of the NIE, it’s not reasonable to assume that this former CIA agent knew all other efforts underway; nor did he necessarily have complete knowledge on NSA-captured information which may have been previously captured before the waterboarding occurred.
The point is: We don’t know — and neither does this CIA agent know — what other lines of evidence existed before the waterboarding which had set into motion this supposed effort to thwart these other efforts. Information is compartmentalized: NSA, CIA, and DoJ do not freely share all information with themselves or with DoD; nor are the contractor databases adequately integrated to provide timely cross flow of information. Again, consider the delay in updating the Iran NIE since 2003: Four years lag time to get accurate assessments, meanwhile targeting in DoD has been going on based on a non-nuclear program.
At this juncture, it is a dubious proposition to believe (a) this waterboarding directly thwarted a plot that only information from this waterboarding could interrupt. There would have to be other lines of evidence both in the preliminary stages of planning that would be caputred outside waterboarding; and infromation used to ensure the infromation gleaned from waterboarding was accurate/actionable.
Overall, I appreciate that the former CIA agent has provided his testimony. However, there are other issues which need to be addressed — outside the criminal investigation into alleged obstruction of justice or prisoner abuse — to determine whether the supposed information has as much importance to a specific future event as this CIA agent claims. It may be; but given the NSA-FISA violations, rendition effort, and other non-CIA agents involved, there could be another reason why these options were “thwarted”: They were not real, merely asserted to be occurring, but there isn’t real evidence that they were occurring. Recall the President’s claimed “2002 Los Angeles”-event: Supposedly there were airliners going to do things in Los Angeles. But upon further examination, the details proved to be dubious.
We recommend caution. Take your time in examining the timelines and questions above. The key will be to get a complete picture of the intelligence known prior to the waterboarding; and getting a sense of the events that were underway, not merely in the “mind-planning” stages. Look for the physical evidence, and ask, “If this was in the planning stages, why not let the planners take the events further, rather than interrupting them? Surely if they were this far along, and under surveillance, there would be a benefit to not interrupting anything, let the physical evidence get captured, and then show the security council and American public that evidence. But we have the opposite: The tape has been destroyed.
We have to question:
- Why would the CIA destroy a tape that would answer the above questions;
- If the tape was destroyed, is there really a way to answer the above questions;
- If there is a case to be made for generational warfare against terrorism, why not keep the tape to show the evidence which helped win the war?
The most reasonable answer: We don’t have enough information to say that this waterboarding did have a link with a specific event or interruption. It may have; but there are also others who have an interested to make accusations to justify policies. As we’ve learned from Pakistan and GTMO prisoners, people make accusations without evidence.
- Was there a line of evidence gleand from a bounty or reward?
- Is there a study of the relationship between information accuracy from informants, the amounts paid, and threats involved?
There are many prisoners in GTMO being detained on false charges. It is ironic the CIA would destroy the tape that would help us know for certain what information was gathered. It doesn’t make sense to destroy the tape when there is a cloud of doubt over the basis for GTMO detentions.
Interrogators may have provided the prisoner with clues to what they were looking for; the prisoner might have provided only part of the picture; or may have disclosed information he knew was false, but appeared to be real to those who were looking for corroboration for something they didn’t realize was a ruse.