As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Non-Denial, The Story Grows

Liz Cheney gave a classic non-denial denial on ABC yesterday to the body of evidence that her father directed torture to suspected detainees to get them to make false confessions about links between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

I think that it's important for us to have all the facts out. And and, the first and most important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program, this was an important program, it saved American lives. Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA.

Nobody seriously believes this idea that Fourthbranch, who made Langley his second home during the run-up to war, and outed covert CIA agents, and basically fought bureaucratic battles against the CIA during the entire Bush regime, was somehow solicitous of their concerns. But more important, there's nothing even close to a denial there. And while Liz cites Walter Pincus' carefully circumscribed report from anonymous intelligence sources that waterboarding (but not other forms of torture) wasn't used on Abu Zubaydah or KSM (but not other suspects) for the purposes of finding the Iraq/Al Qaeda link (though they were both asked about it), she might want to also respond to this from McClatchy, which is fast becoming the industry leader on this story:

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney, defending the invasion of Iraq, asserted in 2004 that detainees interrogated at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp had revealed that Iraq had trained al Qaida operatives in chemical and biological warfare, an assertion that wasn't true.

Cheney's 2004 comments to the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News were largely overlooked at the time. However, they appear to substantiate recent reports that interrogators at Guantanamo and other prison camps were ordered to find evidence of alleged cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — despite CIA reports that there were only sporadic, insignificant contacts between the militant Islamic group and the secular Iraqi dictatorship.

The head of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo from 2002-2005 confirmed to McClatchy that in late 2002 and early 2003, intelligence officials were tasked to find, among other things, Iraq-al Qaida ties, which were a central pillar of the Bush administration's case for its March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"I'm aware of the fact that in late 2002, early 2003, that (the alleged al Qaida-Iraq link) was an interest on the intelligence side," said retired Army Lt. Col. Brittain Mallow, a former military criminal investigator. "That was something they were tasked to look at."

Look, it's becoming quite clear that the Cheney Administration did this. Now, traditional media can retreat to safer ground and cover he said/she said stories involving Nancy Pelosi, but they are missing Jonathan Landay's story of the century - and yes, intentionally misinforming the public through this misdirection.

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