A Tragedy Of Errors

What a shame, the CIA was warned ahead of time. Heads should roll, but no one is being punished. Since Leon Panetta can’t bring himself to mete out any discipline for seven preventable deaths, he should at least lead by example and resign.

CIA ‘was warned about bomber of Afghan base’

An internal inquiry into the attack at the Khost base on December 30, which caused the CIA’s worst loss of life in 27 years, found a string of communications breakdowns, Leon Panetta, the director of the agency, said yesterday.

Most notably it discovered that a US agent in Amman, the Jordanian capital, was given a warning by a Jordanian intelligence officer about the bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.

However, he dismissed the tip-off because he suspected the Jordanian officer was acting out of jealousy of a colleague’s close relationship with Balawi, the inquiry found.

Balawai, 36, was introduced to the US by Jordanian intelligence after pretending to be an al-Qaeda defector willing to co-operate. He supplied the Americans with information from Pakistan and eventually a meeting at the base was arranged.

After being taken inside the base, however, he detonated a suicide vest while standing among a group of CIA officers.

The CIA inquiry found there had been serious security lapses at the base, Mr Panetta said. Balawi was not screened at the perimeter, and the large group of officers gathered to greet him because he was considered a reliable source.

The Jordanian officer even warned the American that Balawi “may be trying to lure us into an ambush,” Mr Panetta said.

The report also found that Balawai had not been sufficiently vetted from the start and that agency staff at the base lacked experience of working in war zones.

. . .

Mr Panetta said that he would not fire or discipline any officials involved, including the agent in Jordan who did not pass on the warning about Balawi.

See also:
Message from the Director: Lessons from Khowst
CIA Finds Widespread Security ‘Shortcomings’ Led to Afghan Attack That Killed 7 Agents
CIA admits errors led to Afghanistan bombing
US spies failed to vet insider who bombed Afghan base
Report: Key information on CIA base bomber wasn’t relayed
CIA acknowledges “missteps” led to officers’ deaths
Bomber who killed seven at CIA base ‘was not vetted’
CIA officer failed to warn bosses before Afghan base attack
Jordan Warned CIA About Bomber Of Afghan Base – Official
CIA Releases Report on Deadly Afghanistan Bombing
CIA Didn’t Vet Double-Crossing Suicide BomberBad OPSEC

Well, hopefully the CIA has learned some valuable lessons from this incident so that nothing like it ever happens again.

/however, with Panetta in charge, I’m skeptical

Obama Plans To Invade Pakistan

Mister Nobel Peace Prize winner is apparently preparing to keep one of his campaign promises and launch “overseas contingency operations” on Pakistani soil.

Options studied for a possible Pakistan strike

The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country’s tribal areas, according to senior military officials.

Ties between the alleged Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban have sharpened the Obama administration’s need for retaliatory options, the officials said. They stressed that a U.S. reprisal would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient.

“Planning has been reinvigorated in the wake of Times Square,” one of the officials said.

At the same time, the administration is trying to deepen ties to Pakistan’s intelligence officials in a bid to head off any attack by militant groups. The United States and Pakistan have recently established a joint military intelligence center on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, and are in negotiations to set up another one near Quetta, the Pakistani city where the Afghan Taliban is based, according to the U.S. military officials. They and other officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding U.S. military and intelligence activities in Pakistan.

The “fusion centers” are meant to bolster Pakistani military operations by providing direct access to U.S. intelligence, including real-time video surveillance from drones controlled by the U.S. Special Operations Command, the officials said. But in an acknowledgment of the continuing mistrust between the two governments, the officials added that both sides also see the centers as a way to keep a closer eye on one another, as well as to monitor military operations and intelligence activities in insurgent areas.

Obama said during his campaign for the presidency that he would be willing to order strikes in Pakistan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a television interview after the Times Square attempt that “if, heaven forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences.”

Obama dispatched his national security adviser, James L. Jones, and CIA Director Leon Panetta to Islamabad this month to deliver a similar message to Pakistani officials, including President Asif Ali Zardari and the military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani.

Jones and Panetta also presented evidence gathered by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies that Shahzad received significant support from the Pakistani Taliban.

The U.S. options for potential retaliatory action rely mainly on air and missile strikes, but could also employ small teams of U.S. Special Operations troops already positioned along the border with Afghanistan. One of the senior military officials said plans for military strikes in Pakistan have been revised significantly over the past several years, moving away from a “large, punitive response” to more measured plans meant to deliver retaliatory blows against specific militant groups.

See also:
Report: US Preparing for Retaliatory Strike if Terror Attack Traced to Pakistan
US mulls unilateral Pakistan raids
U.S. studies options for possible Pakistan attack: report
US Army reviewing options for ‘unilateral’ strike on Pakistan
US develops plans for unilateral strike on Pakistan
US Preps a Retaliatory Hit on Pakistan
Airstrike on civilians blamed on mistakes…Pakistani Taliban could face retaliation if they strike the US

If you’re willing to put American boots on Pakistani ground in response to an attack on the United States you should also be willing to do the same as part of the war in Afghanistan.

/you can’t beat the Taliban unless you ultimately take the fight to where they live, in their Pakistani sanctuaries

Microsoft Cleans Up After Chinese Hack Of Google, Obama Turns The Other Cheek

Microsoft to release patch for IE hole on Thursday

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it will release on Thursday a patch to fix the latest hole in Internet Explorer that was used in the China-based attack on Google and for which an exploit has been released on the Internet since last week.

The company plans to release the patch as close to 10 a.m. PST on Thursday as possible and host a public Webcast at 1 p.m. PST, according to the security advisory.

Microsoft continues to see limited attacks and has only seen evidence of successful attacks against Internet Explorer 6, according to Jerry Bryant, senior security program manager at Microsoft.

“This is a standard cumulative update, accelerated from our regularly scheduled February release, for Internet Explorer with an aggregate severity rating of Critical,” he said in a statement.

“It addresses the vulnerability related to recent attacks against Google and a small subset of corporations, as well as several other vulnerabilities. Once applied, customers are protected against the known attacks that have been widely publicized,” Bryant said. “We recommend that customers install the update as soon as it is available. For customers using automatic updates, this update will automatically be applied once it is released.”

Vulnerable software is IE 6 on Microsoft Windows 2000 and IE 6, 7, and 8 on supported editions of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft said.

So, while China continues its relentless, covert cyberwar against U.S. and other Western commercial, government, and military targets, stealing information and secrets and causing economic and national security damage to our computer networks, guess what the Obama administration has decided to do, against the advice of U.S. intelligence officials and experts?

China removed as top priority for spies

The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing’s military and its cyber-attacks.

The downgrading of intelligence gathering on China was challenged by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta after it was first proposed in interagency memorandums in October, current and former intelligence officials said.

The decision downgrades China from “Priority 1” status, alongside Iran and North Korea, to “Priority 2,” which covers specific events such as the humanitarian crisis after the Haitian earthquake or tensions between India and Pakistan.

The National Security Council staff, in response, pressed ahead with the change and sought to assure Mr. Blair and other intelligence chiefs that the change would not affect the allocation of resources for spying on China or the urgency of focusing on Chinese spying targets, the officials told The Washington Times.

White House National Security Council officials declined to comment on the intelligence issue. Mike Birmingham, a spokesman for Mr. Blair, declined to comment. A CIA spokesman also declined to comment.

But administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new policy is part of the Obama administration’s larger effort to develop a more cooperative relationship with Beijing.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for January 2010
New IE hole exploited in attacks on U.S. firms
Microsoft Scrambles to Patch Browser
Microsoft patching “Google hack” flaw in IE tomorrow
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-002 Coming Thursday for IE Zero-Day
Microsoft to issue “Google attack” browser patch
Microsoft to issue emergency IE patch Thursday
Microsoft will issue emergency IE patch on Thursday
China removed as top priority for spies
China no longer top priority for intelligence gathering: White House
‘China no longer top priority for intelligence gathering’
China: Still an Intelligence Priority

Relax, don’t worry, the country is in the very best of hands.

/Obama’s NSC, more than a dozen morons stuffed in a four passenger clown car

Bad OPSEC

Honey pot bomber and the CIA was Winnie the Pooh. Leon Panetta should resign, he had absolutely no earthly business being appointed as the CIA Director in the first place.

CIA bomber struck just before search

The Jordanian doctor arrived in a red station wagon that came directly from Pakistan and sped through checkpoints at a CIA base in Afghanistan before stopping abruptly at an improvised interrogation center. Outside stood one of the CIA’s top experts on al-Qaeda, ready to greet the doctor and hear him describe a way to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri, the organization’s No. 2 and a man long at the top of U.S. target lists.

The Jordanian exited the car with one hand in his pocket, according to the accounts of several U.S. officials briefed on the incident. An American security guard approached him to conduct a pat-down search and asked him to remove his hand. Instead, the Jordanian triggered a switch.

A sharp “CLMMMP” sound coincided with a brief flash and a small puff of smoke as thousands of steel pellets shredded glass, metal, cement and flesh in every direction.

A moment that CIA officials in Washington and Afghanistan had hoped would lead to a significant breakthrough in the fight against al-Qaeda instead became the most grievous single blow against the agency in the counterterror war.

Virtually everyone within sight of the suicide blast died immediately, including the al-Qaeda expert, who led the CIA team at the base; a 30-year-old analyst; and three other officers. Also killed were two American security guards contracted by the agency, a Jordanian intelligence officer and the car’s driver. At least six others standing in the carport and nearby, including the CIA’s second in command in Afghanistan, were wounded by pellets that had first perforated the vehicle.

Those at the scene on Dec. 30 had been trying to strike a balance between respect for their informant — best demonstrated, in the regional tradition, by direct personal contact — and caution, illustrated by the attentiveness of the security guards, according to CIA officials.

But more than a dozen current and former government officials interviewed for this article said they could not account in full for what they called a breach of operational security at the base in Afghanistan’s Khost province. Advance pat-downs and other precautions are common in an age of suicide bombers, and meetings are kept small and remote. None of these sources would agree to be identified by name, in many cases because of their former or current work as covert operatives.

Several intelligence sources said the principal mistake was in trusting the bona fides of the Jordanian doctor, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, who had never previously been invited to the base. The meeting was arranged with help from the Jordanian officer, who was among those waiting at the site for Balawi to arrive and was killed.

“You get somebody who has helped you and is incredibly important for the information he’s going to potentially provide — these are prize possessions,” said a former CIA field officer. “Somebody comes, and it’s like a celebration that they’re coming. It’s good to make them feel welcome. It’s good to make them feel important.”

The man who would prove to be a deadly attacker, the former officer said, “was heralded as a superstar asset. . . . So you get an important visitor coming. So you go out and meet him. . . . Is it bad tradecraft? Of course.”

Ten good guys dead, more wounded, in what pretty much amounts to an own goal.

See also:
Video Message: Suicide Bomber Wanted to Avenge Death of Taliban Leader
CIA boss defends agency after Afghan suicide blast
Bomber says in video that he shared U.S. secrets
Al-Balawi-A Perfect Double-Cross of Jordanians and CIA!
CIA Bomber in Video With Taliban Leader
How this suicide bomber opened a new front in Al-Qaeda’s war
Wife Says CIA Bomber Saw US as Adversary
Jordan says ‘no proof’ Balawi was CIA suicide bomber
Jordan disputes Khost bomber status
Strike on CIA base tests U.S. assessment of al Qaeda
EXCLUSIVE: CIA Suicide Bomber Photo
Spy links with CIA suicide bomber are problem for Jordan
From Jihadist Blogger to Suicide Bomber
Mehsud’s death sparked CIA attack
Military revising security procedures after attack on CIA
CIA bombing prompts ‘change’ in US security

Take their word for it, they love death more than we love life, they can’t be trusted as allies, period. Their religion trumps our money.

/any “al Qaeda expert” worth their salt should have already known that

Since When Did Killing Al Qaeda Become A Bad Thing?

So, they latest “controversy” that the Democrats have their knickers in a twist about is a secret CIA program to kill Al Qaeda leaders. A plan that was never implemented.

C.I.A. Had Plan to Assassinate Qaeda Leaders

Since 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency has developed plans to dispatch small teams overseas to kill senior Qaeda terrorists, according to current and former government officials.

The plans remained vague and were never carried out, the officials said, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, canceled the program last month.

Officials at the spy agency over the years ran into myriad logistical, legal and diplomatic obstacles. How could the role of the United States be masked? Should allies be informed and might they block the access of the C.I.A. teams to their targets? What if American officers or their foreign surrogates were caught in the midst of an operation? Would such activities violate international law or American restrictions on assassinations overseas?

Yet year after year, according to officials briefed on the program, the plans were never completely shelved because the Bush administration sought an alternative to killing terror suspects with missiles fired from drone aircraft or seizing them overseas and imprisoning them in secret C.I.A. jails.

Mr. Panetta scuttled the program, which would have relied on paramilitary teams, shortly after the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism center recently informed him of its existence. The next day, June 24, he told Congressional Intelligence Committees that the plan had been hidden from lawmakers, initially at the instruction of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

. . .

Because the program never carried out any missions and because Congress had already signed off on the agency’s broad authorities after the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials and some Republican legislators said that the C.I.A. was not required to brief lawmakers on specifics about the program.

But Congressional Democrats were furious that the program had not been shared with the committees. The Senate and House oversight committees were created by law in the 1970s as a direct response to disclosures of C.I.A. abuses, notably including assassination plots against Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Fidel Castro in Cuba and other foreign politicians. President Gerald R. Ford in 1976 issued an executive order banning assassinations.

That ban does not apply to the killing of enemies in a war, government officials say. The Bush administration took the position that killing members of Al Qaeda, a terrorist group that has attacked the United States and stated that its goal is to attack again, is no different than shooting enemy soldiers on the battlefield. The Obama administration, which has continued to fire missiles from Predator drones on suspected Qaeda members in Pakistan, has taken the same view.

See also:
Secret Program Fuels CIA-Congress Dispute
AP sources: House lays groundwork for CIA probe
Cheney Role in CIA Secrecy Questioned
With Pelosi’s blessing, Dems push CIA probe ahead
CIA inquiry raises stakes for Nancy Pelosi
Democrats must act on their claims
Want To Get Away?
Someone’s Lying

The CIA is out in the field risking American lives, trying to kill the enemy and keep us safe and Nancy Pelosi, to cover her ass for previously accusing the CIA of lying, along with the rest of the Democrat chukleheads, are now going to pick a fight with the CIA and waste their time with an investigation into a program that never even got beyond the planning stage!

/who’s side are Democrats on anyway, do they even have a clue who the enemy is?

I’ll Talk, I’ll Talk, Anything But The Caterpillar Torture!

You know, if the release of the four once top secret Justice Department Memos on Interrogation Techniques wasn’t so utterly devastating to future CIA operations and our national security in general, the description of the interrogation techniques contained within, that supposedly constitute “torture”, would be just plain damn laughable.

Inexcusable Lapse

War On Terror: Imagine a president of the United States, within his first hundred days, revealing secrets that help terrorists kill. The secret memos on enhanced interrogation, now made public, do exactly that.

We are told by President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod that the president agonized for four weeks over the “weighty decision” to make public memoranda detailing the specifics of the CIA’s tough interrogation of high-value terrorist detainees such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.

For most other presidents, it would have taken maybe four minutes, required little soul-searching and resulted in the opposite choice.

What on earth could the president have been thinking in revealing the nuts and bolts of how we extract information from al-Qaida operatives to prevent the success of their terrorist operations?

What could have possessed him to make public the steps our interrogators go through, the limits of pain and discomfort they (but not the prisoners) know they will not exceed, and the analytical classification and specific purpose of each of the various techniques?

These top secrets will arm Islamist jihadists with knowledge that will be invaluable to them. Future terrorist detainees will now know, for instance, that their interrogations are under continual video surveillance to make sure no lasting medical or psychological consequences result from the techniques used. Will they now teach themselves to fake such ill effects?

Terrorists will know that when they are placed in a tiny container in “cramped confinement” it will last only “up to two hours,” as a declassified memo from the Justice Department to the CIA noted. They will know that “stress positions” are used “only to induce temporary muscle fatigue” not “severe physical pain.”

They will now know that when subjected to “water dousing” they need not have the slightest fear of hypothermia, because every precaution is taken to keep the temperature of both the room and the water itself far above freezing.

They will know sleep deprivation inflicted by the interrogators seldom exceeds 96 hours, and they’ll know the specifics and purposes behind the relatively mild technique of “dietary manipulation.”

What the president has given to our enemies is a treasure chest of defensive weapons. Within the caves of the mountainous Pakistan/Afghanistan border, Islamofascist plotters must wonder how self-destructively corrupt their American adversaries have to be to allow such materials to land in their hands.

The piece of information that may be of most value to terrorists is the government’s assessment that waterboarding was “the most traumatic of the enhanced interrogation techniques” and implicitly the most effective.

Terrorist groups around the world will now know that waterboarding was “authorized for, at most, one 30-day period, during which the technique can actually be applied on no more than five days” with “no more than two sessions in any 24-hour period.”

Each session lasted no more than two hours, consisting of, at most, six applications of water for 10 seconds each time, for a total of no longer than 12 minutes per each 24-hour period. Presumably the issue is academic since the Obama administration has officially prohibited waterboarding.

There is no more valuable tool for subjects of interrogation than to know what they will be subjected to. How in good conscience could our president have given this gift to those trying to destroy us?

The President Ties His Own Hands on Terror

By MICHAEL HAYDEN and MICHAEL B. MUKASEY
The Obama administration has declassified and released opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) given in 2005 and earlier that analyze the legality of interrogation techniques authorized for use by the CIA. Those techniques were applied only when expressly permitted by the director, and are described in these opinions in detail, along with their limits and the safeguards applied to them.

The release of these opinions was unnecessary as a legal matter, and is unsound as a matter of policy. Its effect will be to invite the kind of institutional timidity and fear of recrimination that weakened intelligence gathering in the past, and that we came sorely to regret on Sept. 11, 2001.

Proponents of the release have argued that the techniques have been abandoned and thus there is no point in keeping them secret any longer; that they were in any event ineffective; that their disclosure was somehow legally compelled; and that they cost us more in the coin of world opinion than they were worth. None of these claims survives scrutiny.

Soon after he was sworn in, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that suspended use of these techniques and confined not only the military but all U.S. agencies — including the CIA — to the interrogation limits set in the Army Field Manual. This suspension was accompanied by a commitment to further study the interrogation program, and government personnel were cautioned that they could no longer rely on earlier opinions of the OLC.

Although evidence shows that the Army Field Manual, which is available online, is already used by al Qaeda for training purposes, it was certainly the president’s right to suspend use of any technique. However, public disclosure of the OLC opinions, and thus of the techniques themselves, assures that terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them, and can supplement their training accordingly and thus diminish the effectiveness of these techniques as they have the ones in the Army Field Manual.

Moreover, disclosure of the details of the program pre-empts the study of the president’s task force and assures that the suspension imposed by the president’s executive order is effectively permanent. There would be little point in the president authorizing measures whose nature and precise limits have already been disclosed in detail to those whose resolve we hope to overcome. This conflicts with the sworn promise of the current director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, who testified in aid of securing Senate confirmation that if he thought he needed additional authority to conduct interrogation to get necessary information, he would seek it from the president. By allowing this disclosure, President Obama has tied not only his own hands but also the hands of any future administration faced with the prospect of attack.

Disclosure of the techniques is likely to be met by faux outrage, and is perfectly packaged for media consumption. It will also incur the utter contempt of our enemies. Somehow, it seems unlikely that the people who beheaded Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl, and have tortured and slain other American captives, are likely to be shamed into giving up violence by the news that the U.S. will no longer interrupt the sleep cycle of captured terrorists even to help elicit intelligence that could save the lives of its citizens.

Which brings us to the next of the justifications for disclosing and thus abandoning these measures: that they don’t work anyway, and that those who are subjected to them will simply make up information in order to end their ordeal. This ignorant view of how interrogations are conducted is belied by both experience and common sense. If coercive interrogation had been administered to obtain confessions, one might understand the argument. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who organized the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, among others, and who has boasted of having beheaded Daniel Pearl, could eventually have felt pressed to provide a false confession. But confessions aren’t the point. Intelligence is. Interrogation is conducted by using such obvious approaches as asking questions whose correct answers are already known and only when truthful information is provided proceeding to what may not be known. Moreover, intelligence can be verified, correlated and used to get information from other detainees, and has been; none of this information is used in isolation.

The terrorist Abu Zubaydah (sometimes derided as a low-level operative of questionable reliability, but who was in fact close to KSM and other senior al Qaeda leaders) disclosed some information voluntarily. But he was coerced into disclosing information that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, another of the planners of Sept. 11, who in turn disclosed information which — when combined with what was learned from Abu Zubaydah — helped lead to the capture of KSM and other senior terrorists, and the disruption of follow-on plots aimed at both Europe and the U.S. Details of these successes, and the methods used to obtain them, were disclosed repeatedly in more than 30 congressional briefings and hearings beginning in 2002, and open to all members of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress beginning in September 2006. Any protestation of ignorance of those details, particularly by members of those committees, is pretense.

The techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA. Of the thousands of unlawful combatants captured by the U.S., fewer than 100 were detained and questioned in the CIA program. Of those, fewer than one-third were subjected to any of the techniques discussed in these opinions. As already disclosed by Director Hayden, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations.

Nor was there any legal reason compelling such disclosure. To be sure, the American Civil Liberties Union has sued under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain copies of these and other memoranda, but the government until now has successfully resisted such lawsuits. Even when the government disclosed that three members of al Qaeda had been subjected to waterboarding but that the technique was no longer part of the CIA interrogation program, the court sustained the government’s argument that the precise details of how it was done, including limits and safeguards, could remain classified against the possibility that some future president may authorize its use. Therefore, notwithstanding the suggestion that disclosure was somehow legally compelled, there was no legal impediment to the Justice Department making the same argument even with respect to any techniques that remained in the CIA program until last January.

There is something of the self-fulfilling prophecy in the claim that our interrogation of some unlawful combatants beyond the limits set in the Army Field Manual has disgraced us before the world. Such a claim often conflates interrogation with the sadism engaged in by some soldiers at Abu Ghraib, an incident that had nothing whatever to do with intelligence gathering. The limits of the Army Field Manual are entirely appropriate for young soldiers, for the conditions in which they operate, for the detainees they routinely question, and for the kinds of tactically relevant information they pursue. Those limits are not appropriate, however, for more experienced people in controlled circumstances with high-value detainees. Indeed, the Army Field Manual was created with awareness that there was an alternative protocol for high-value detainees.

In addition, there were those who believed that the U.S. deserved what it got on Sept. 11, 2001. Such people, and many who purport to speak for world opinion, were resourceful both before and after the Sept. 11 attacks in crafting reasons to resent America’s role as a superpower. Recall also that the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the punctiliously correct trials of defendants in connection with those incidents, and the bombing of the USS Cole took place long before the advent of CIA interrogations, the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or the many other purported grievances asserted over the past eight years.

The effect of this disclosure on the morale and effectiveness of many in the intelligence community is not hard to predict. Those charged with the responsibility of gathering potentially lifesaving information from unwilling captives are now told essentially that any legal opinion they get as to the lawfulness of their activity is only as durable as political fashion permits. Even with a seemingly binding opinion in hand, which future CIA operations personnel would take the risk? There would be no wink, no nod, no handshake that would convince them that legal guidance is durable. Any president who wants to apply such techniques without such a binding and durable legal opinion had better be prepared to apply them himself.

Beyond that, anyone in government who seeks an opinion from the OLC as to the propriety of any action, or who authors an opinion for the OLC, is on notice henceforth that such a request for advice, and the advice itself, is now more likely than before to be subject after the fact to public and partisan criticism. It is hard to see how that will promote candor either from those who should be encouraged to ask for advice before they act, or from those who must give it.

In his book “The Terror Presidency,” Jack Goldsmith describes the phenomenon we are now experiencing, and its inevitable effect, referring to what he calls “cycles of timidity and aggression” that have weakened intelligence gathering in the past. Politicians pressure the intelligence community to push to the legal limit, and then cast accusations when aggressiveness goes out of style, thereby encouraging risk aversion, and then, as occurred in the wake of 9/11, criticizing the intelligence community for feckless timidity. He calls these cycles “a terrible problem for our national security.” Indeed they are, and the precipitous release of these OLC opinions simply makes the problem worse.

Gen. Hayden was director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009. Mr. Mukasey was attorney general of the United States from 2007 to 2009.

See also:
Former Bush officials slam release of torture memos
Four CIA chiefs said ‘don’t reveal torture memos’
CIA objections slowed torture memos release
“On a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009.”

So, what horrible torture techniques were contained in these memos that justified their public release, thereby tying the CIA’s hands behing their back and pulling their pants down around their ankles?

10 CIA torture tactics revealed

The 10 terror techniques

1. Attention grasp

Grasping the suspect with both hands – one hand on each side of the collar opening – in one quick motion. In the same motion, the suspect is pulled towards the interrogator.

2. Walling

The interrogators construct a flexible false wall, but do not tell the suspect it is fake. The individual is then placed with his or her heels touching the wall. The suspect is then pulled forward, and then quickly pushed back against the wall.

It is designed so that the suspect’s shoulder blades hit the wall. The individual’s neck is supported to stop whiplash.

The suspect is allowed to rebound off the wall – which makes a loud noise. The theory is that the noise will cause the suspect to think they are being harmed, when in fact no damage is being done.

3. Facial hold

One open palm is placed on either side of the suspect’s face – to keep their head immobile. The fingertips are kept away from the individual’s eyes. It is designed to intimidate.

4. Insult slap

The interrogator slaps the suspect’s face, with fingers slightly spread. The slap is aimed for the area between the chin and the ear. The aim of the slap is not to cause long-lasting pain, but to shock, surprise or humiliate.

5. Cramped confinement

The suspect is placed in a dark and confined space. Confinement in a larger space can last up to 18 hours, in a smaller space it is supposed to be less than two hours.

6. Wall standing

Used to induce muscle fatigue. The suspect stands about four or five feet from the wall, with his feet spread approximately to shoulder width. Arms are stretched out in front of them, with fingers resting on the wall. The fingers support all the body weight, and they are not allowed to move.

7. Stress positions

A variety of positions may be used, such as sitting on the floor with legs extended straight out in front with arms raised above the head. Again, they are designed to create the physical discomfort of muscle fatigue.

8. Sleep deprivation

Used to reduce the suspect’s ability to think on their feet, create discomfort, and encourage them to cooperate. The CIA was asking for this to happen for up to 11 days.

9. Insects placed in a confinement box

The suspect is placed in a confined space with a seemingly lethal insect. They are told is it lethal, even though it is actually harmless.

Strangely, the CIA had indicated that they wished to place Zubaydah in confinement with a caterpillar, as he appeared to have a fear of such creatures.

10. Waterboarding

The individual is bound securely to a bench, with their feet elevated. A cloth is placed over the forehead and eyes.

Water is then poured on the cloth, and the cloth itself is lowered to cover the mouth and nose.

Air flow is then restricted for up to 40 seconds at a time; this causes an increase in carbon dioxide in the individual’s blood. It is designed to simulate suffocation and panic.

Nevermind that all these interrogation techniques were conducted under close medical supervision, but none of them even constitute “torture”, which used to be defined as something that causes lasting physical or psychological harm. Furthermore, besides the heinous “caterpillar torture”, which one of these techniques is something new that wasn’t already publicly exposed over the last several years? And since all these techniques were already publicly known, what was the point of releasing the memos, over the objections of CIA professionals, other than to give aid and comfort to the enemy and officially confirm for them exactly what interrogation techniques we will or will not use and how far we’ll go in using them?

You want to see what torture really is? Do five minutes of research on the techniques our enemies use; electric drills, pulling off body parts, burning, cutting, mutilation, etc., etc., that’s torture. Being put in a box with caterpillars is not torture and promising to refrain from it and pulling the CIA’s pants down around their ankles for even thinking about “caterpillar torture” will not convince our enemies to put down their Black & Deckers.

Caterpillar torture, are you [expletive deleted] kidding me? That’s not torture, it’s comedy gold! What’s next, the Comfy Chair?

/no one expects the Caterpillar Inquisition, until now!