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

Friday, May 08, 2009

Stupid CIA Tricks

Marcy Wheeler has done the heavy lifting on this story that has cable news in a tizzy about how Nancy Pelosi, according to the narrative, knew about torture techniques in 2002 but said nothing, implicating her in the nefarious scheme. I just want to make a few possibly redundant point.

• CIA agents are a group of professional liars. I don't even think that's slanderous, it's pretty much their job description. They exist to collect intelligence but the means they have used, and the missions on which they have embarked, have strayed far from this purpose and into the areas of disinformation and false flags and just out and out lying. We've already seen their psy-ops training put to work in the traditional media recently, when they got ABC to falsely report that Abu Zubaydah was only waterboarded once, and that it succeeded famously. I am thoroughly unsurprised that the CIA went to the very same network to get favorable treatment on their latest story implicating Pelosi. Within a matter of hours, eagle-eyed journalists spotted the flaw - a letter accompanying the documents, none of which prove conclusively that the CIA told Pelosi about waterboarding, states that the information about the briefings may not be accurate or reliable. It says, and I quote, "In the end, you and the Committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened." Sounds definitive to me! Nancy's a liar!!!1!

• Let's say for the sake of argument that Pelosi was briefed about techniques that constitute torture. First, based on the clear timeline, she was briefed after the torture was committed. Second, I find it curious that the wingers appear to be shocked that Pelosi didn't leak classified information by revealing the contents of the briefings. There is a reasonable debate that can be had over whether the speech and debate clause of the Constitution pre-empts the classification process, and whether Pelosi could have taken to the House floor to raise an objection. I'm wondering whether she would have been praised for her consistency by the right, at that point. Or whether she would have been rhetorically hung as a traitor who damaged national security. In fact, there were few options for anyone to register a complaint. If anything, this entire exercise proves that the briefing process for classified information, and the Select Committees on Intelligence themselves, are terribly broken. Marcy's post on the briefing process should leave no doubts about that.

• Furthermore, pointing to dishonest and discredited CIA documents and taunting "See, your leaders are just as responsible" may be, if it were true, a useful piece of information when determining why many Democrats aren't exactly gung-ho for prosecution or accountability, but from a civil liberties standpoint it means absolutely nothing. War crimes are not mollified by their bipartisan nature, or by a caveat that others were briefed about the war crimes after the fact. Those of us who expect accountability when people in government break the law really aren't concerned with the letter next to their name designating their political party. In fact, this only further cements the need for an independent prosecutor who can bring his own judgments untainted by party to this whole affair. And if Republicans think that threatening to look into crimes from the Clinton Administration will send a chill among those who desire accountability, they're wrong. It would relieve us that we're finally putting down childish things and moving away from the make-believe land of American exceptionalism in all things and into a recognition that people are fallible and they deserve to take responsibility for their actions.

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