Breaking The Law With Impunity

What has happened to even one of the BushCo gang that will prevent them from doing it again, for the next Republican president? Yeah, there’s an ongoing investigation – but what are the odds that the results won’t be covered up?

WASHINGTON — Porter J. Goss, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2005 approved of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees, according to an internal C.I.A. document released Thursday.

Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he “agreed” with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Mr. Rodriguez offered to “take the heat” for destroying the tapes.

“PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat,” according to one document, an internal C.I.A. e-mail message.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Mr. Goss did not approve the destruction before it happened, and was displeased that Mr. Rodriguez did not consult him or the C.I.A.’s top lawyer before giving the order for the tapes to be destroyed.

It was previously known that Mr. Goss had been told by his aides in November 2005 that the tapes had been destroyed. But a number of documents released Thursday provide the most detailed glimpse yet of the deliberations inside the C.I.A. surrounding the destroyed tapes, and of the concern among officials at the spy agency that the decision might put the C.I.A. in legal jeopardy.

The documents detailing those deliberations, including two e-mail messages from a C.I.A. official whose name has been excised, were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The e-mail messages also reveal that top White House officials were angry that the C.I.A. had not notified them before the tapes were destroyed. The e-mail messages mention a conversation between Harriet E. Miers, the White House counsel, and John A. Rizzo, the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, in which Ms. Miers was “livid” about being told after the fact.

“Rizzo is clearly upset, because he was on the hook to notify Harriet Miers of the status of the tapes because it was she who had asked to be advised before any action was taken,” according to one of the e-mail messages.

One thought on “Breaking The Law With Impunity

  1. Well, Obama does tell his officials to look forward, not backward, right? So Goss and the others should have nothing to fear.

    Now, as Greenwald writes, when it comes to releasing embarrassing secrets, that’s when looking backwards is very important to this administration. Why, messing with “state secrets,” even if they inform the public of wrongdoing and waste by the government, must, absolutely must, be dealt with firmly.

    That kind of wrongdoer must be made an example of. Any future truth revealers must be made to think many times before risking prosecution and punishment.

    The Goss/Rodriguez kind? Well, they are protecting the powerful, so, no. Absolutely look only forward…to the use of ever more executive power.

    Assassinations and murders of American citizens without trial? Even indictment? Oh, yeah, Obama et al find that A-OK. Warrantless eavesdropping, demands for emails? Sure, why not? BushCo liked it, so it’s fine for Obama. And, citizens, there’s even more!

    Greenwald closes his piece on Drake’s prosecution with these two grafs and an update:

    It’s true that leaking classified information is a crime. That’s what makes whistleblowers like Drake so courageous. That’s why Daniel Ellsberg — who literally risked his liberty in an effort to help end the Vietnam War — is one of the 20th Century’s genuine American heroes. And if political-related crimes were punished equally, one could accept whistle-blower prosecutions even while questioning the motives behind them and the priorities they reflect. But that’s not the situation that prevails.

    Instead, here you have the Obama DOJ in all its glory: no prosecutions (but rather full-scale immunity extended) for war crimes, torture, and illegal spying. For those crimes, we must Look Forward, Not Backward. But for those poor individuals who courageously blow the whistle on oozing corruption, waste and illegal surveillance by the omnipotent public-private Surveillance State: the full weight of the “justice system” comes crashing down upon them with threats of many years in prison.

    UPDATE: John Cole, proving once again that one can be an enthusiastic Obama admirer without reflexively excusing and justifying everything he does, writes today:

    The message is clear- you torture people and then destroy the evidence, and you get off without so much as a sternly worded letter.

    If you are a whistle blower outlining criminal behavior by the government, [] you get prosecuted.

    Cole is referring to the revelation today that, once he learned it was done, then-CIA-Director Porter Goss approved of the destruction of CIA interrogation videos (an act which the co-Chairs of the 9/11 Commission said constituted obstruction of justice); the message Cole describes is exactly the one being sent by the Drake prosecution.

Comments are closed.