Today’s New York Times reports that the book has been closed on 100 cases of detainee abuse by CIA interrogators who were operating under the Bush-Rumfield-Gonzalez administration’s doctrine that redefined torture as legally acceptable “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Evidence suggests that the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations in case the newly elected president, Mr. Obama, should decide to fulfill his promise to increase government transparency and look into violations of the Geneva convention and State and Federal law regarding the issue of interrogation among others.
2 cases remain under investigation. One case involved a CIA interrogator who apparently told his victim that failure to cooperate could result in his family members being bought to prison, perhaps subjecting the females to sexual abuse.
I am incredulous. The case mentioned above is disgusting but it is hardly the worst psychological and physical torture technique that was delivered by the CIA and perhaps received approval up the chain of command.
I am more upset by Obama’s unwillingness to open up the books on torture and interrogation to journalists and scholars than the decision of the Justice Department not to prosecute operatives working with the implicit or explicit authorization of their superiors, although I do wonder what happened to their conscience.
I want to see Rumfield, Gonzalez and Bush exposed and punished for their crimes against humanity before I do those at the lowest ranks who were possibly obeying the law as it was then defined.
There is an interesting contradiction in the part of the article that quotes Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley who is an opponent of the investigation of the CIA’s actions during the Bush administration.
“Perhaps now our intelligence professionals in the field can stop looking over their shoulders,” he said ” and the attorney general will quit armchair quarterbacking from Washington D.C. intelligence decisions in the field.”
This quote contradicts the CIA’s only defense for using enhanced interrogation techniques (i.e. torture) to try and gain confessions. To repeat, their only defense is that they were operating under the assumption that they were acting with the permission of the U.S. government and its Commander and Chief, George W. Bush. He and his lackeys were the armchair quarterbacks that authorized the use of torture in interrogations.
Does the Senator suggest that these agents should be free to use any techniques they feel like using despite the change in administration and its apparent return to pre-Bush definitions of torture?
If CIA operatives are acting on their own, free of federal, state and international law and should be acting on their own as operatives “in the field,” then they and the senator have a serious problem.
They should not act as if they are serving the security and other interests of a democratic nation. Instead, they should be shipped to a country that does not have a democratic form of government and where no rules surround the treatment of detainees.
It is worth noting that CIA interrogators are not making split second decisions in combat. Nor are they reacting situationally to the recent loss of buddies in war or other types of experience that distorts thinking and can unleash bits of the devil in almost any human being.
The CIA interrogators are making premeditated decisions during interrogations that may go on for many hours. In some cases, they need to gain information immediately that they believe will save American lives. In others, they have time to spare.
I wonder why no one has mentioned the CIA’s participation in other kinds of extreme torture. Are we still sending “enemy combatants” and/or terrorist suspects to other countries where extreme modes of torture are allowed? Do the CIA operatives and/or interrogators watch while others do the dirty work in these other nations?
I hope this is not still going on but, in view of the lack of transparency of our government, I fear it is.