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Prosecutor to Probe CIA Interrogations

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by SuspectCorner, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Prosecutor to Probe CIA Interrogations

    Attorney General Parts With White House In Approving Preliminary Investigation

    By Carrie Johnson / Washington Post Staff Writer / Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    In appointing a prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA interrogation abuses, including episodes that resulted in prisoner deaths, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday shook off warnings from President Obama to avoid becoming mired in past controversies.

    Holder said that he realizes the move is controversial but that it was the only responsible course to take.

    The decision does not reflect a sharp division between the Justice Department and the White House, government officials said, given the limits of the preliminary review and the respect that Obama says he maintains for the role of an independent attorney general. But it could mark the beginning of a painstaking inquiry that tests the boundaries of the Justice Department's discretion and its ability to evaluate incomplete evidence collected on the world's battlegrounds.

    Holder has named longtime prosecutor John H. Durham, who has parachuted into crisis situations for both political parties over three decades, to open an early review of nearly a dozen cases of alleged detainee mistreatment at the hands of CIA interrogators and contractors.

    The announcement raised fresh tensions in an intelligence community fearful that it will bear the brunt of the punishment for Bush-era national security policy, and it immediately provoked criticism from congressional Republicans.

    Legal analysts said the review, while preliminary, could expand beyond its relatively narrow mandate and ensnare a wider cast of characters. They cited U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's identity, which culminated with the criminal conviction of then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney's chief of staff.

    In a statement Monday afternoon, Holder cautioned that the inquiry is far from a full-blown criminal investigation. Rather, he said, it is unknown whether indictments or prosecutions of CIA contractors and employees will follow. Lawyers involved in similar reviews said that any possible cases could take years to build because of challenges with witnesses and evidence.

    "I fully realize that my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial," Holder added. "As attorney general, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law. In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take."

    Obama and White House officials have said that they want to look ahead on national security; White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last week that the administration is eager to keep "going forward" and that "a hefty litigation looking backward is not what we believe is in the country's best interest."

    But the White House voiced support for Holder in a news conference held Monday on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters that "ultimately, the decisions on who is investigated and who is prosecuted are up to the attorney general. . . . The president thinks that Eric Holder, who he appointed as a very independent attorney general, should make those decisions."

    But nearly as important in the high-stakes analysis will be Durham, 59, an assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut who has investigated Boston mob kingpins, corrupt FBI agents and his state's GOP governor. Durham rarely speaks publicly, but in private he cracks jokes, follows the Boston Red Sox and regularly attends Mass with his wife of several decades. One of his four sons followed in his father's footsteps and now serves as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.

    Though a registered Republican, Durham generally is regarded as apolitical, and attorneys general from both parties -- including Janet Reno, Michael B. Mukasey and Holder -- have tapped him for their most difficult assignments.

    Hugh Keefe, a longtime Connecticut defense lawyer who has often squared off against Durham in court, called the prosecutor "the go-to guy for Justice whenever they get a hot case."

    Durham risked unpopularity a decade ago when he untangled questionable relationships among FBI agents, Massachusetts police and Boston mob kingpins. Ultimately, he turned over evidence that prompted a federal judge to dismiss several murder cases and he won a conviction against a longtime federal agent who had grown too close to organized crime figures. The investigation later attracted a mass audience in the Academy Award-winning film "The Departed."

    Holder selected Durham for the inquiry announced Monday in part because of his role as prosecutor in an ongoing investigation of the destruction of CIA videotapes in late 2005, expanding his mandate to cover additional agency conduct. Durham has appeared in Alexandria's federal courthouse about once a month to present evidence to a grand jury that is probing the incident. The tapes allegedly depicted brutal scenes of waterboarding involving high-value al-Qaeda suspects. That investigation is in its 19th month, though lawyers following the case have cast doubt on whether criminal charges will be filed.

    A similar concern could emerge in the detainee mistreatment inquiry. Many of the cases have been subject to review by two sets of prosecutors: counterterrorism lawyers at Justice Department headquarters in Washington as well as a special team from the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia. Lawyers involved in the Bush-era reviews sought and won an indictment in one of nearly 20 cases, after concluding that they were hampered by such problems as unreliable witnesses, scanty forensic work and even missing bodies of prisoners who had died in detention.

    In all, more than 100 detainees died in U.S. care, most of them under military custody, according to previous government reports and congressional inquiries. It is not known how many of the cases in the new review by Durham involve detainee deaths.

    Mark Califano, a former prosecutor in Connecticut, described Durham's approach as "clinical." He said Durham "very rarely" has walked away from a case without bringing criminal charges.

    "He likes to make cases when there is evidence there," said Califano, the son of former Heath, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. "You've got to balance whether that kind of information exists. . . . You can't move forward if you don't have the evidence."

    Keefe, who reached out to Durham several years ago to negotiate a possible settlement in a case involving fugitive financier Martin Frankel, praised the prosecutor for his sense of "perspective."

    "The thing about the U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut is that they take the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt seriously in deciding whether to indict," Keefe said. "If Durham can't make a case beyond a reasonable doubt, he won't indict."
  2. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    sad...you spend your life working for the government, serving your country. the lawyers say you can do certain things. Then some liberal who has no guts or moral courage comes in and says I don't like what you did, I am going to say it is illegal now and prosecute you. Essentially changing the rules in midgame.

    Then they have the nerve to complain about don't ask don't tell and say that a pilot who knowingly broke the rules and got caught and put out should still be rewarded because they served with honor up to the point they were caught, despite the fact that they were breaking the rules.
  3. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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    One of the bigger problems with this is that other countries that get snippets of intelligence on the terrorist and such that want to do us harm, will no longer share this information because the leftist lawyers will want to expose these contacts and put their lives in danger also.

    Like the old saying goes, either your with us or against us, well we know where they stand.
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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  5. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Cheney's CIA memo's released.........via Hot Air

    Remember those? We’ve finally got an answer — sort of. Confirmed: Intel obtained from detainee interrogations helped stop terror attacks.

    Unconfirmed: Whether any enhanced techniques were used in the interrogations that yielded that intel

    according to Republican members, the House Intelligence Committee was told at a closed briefing as recently as June that EI did in fact yield valuable intel, a leak that drew criticism — but not contradiction — from Democrats on the committee. The GOP’s also sending around a memo tonight quoting other intel documents released by the inspector general today that claim EI was successful. You can read the whole thing at the Standard

    ....What is D.Cheney's next move.......

    ..or is this just another of Obama's shell games to change the subject....
    if so, why not just lob a couple of cruise missles like Clinton did?
  6. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    It's a ****ing war people. Wake the hell up! Tomas Jefferson understood the realities of Islamic nut jobs.
  7. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Oh yes he did big time...too bad Suspect does not know who Thomas Jefferson is.
  8. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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    To the shores of Tripoli !
  9. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Pigs blood baby...
  10. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Late breaking news!!!

    The Obama administration is on the verge of finally closing Gitmo after Scotland agreed to house the remaining terrorists.
  11. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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  12. TheRat

    TheRat The Silly Willy

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    I think that was Bush's favorite line. And look how it turned out for him...
  13. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Did Waterboarding Actually Work?

    Just-released CIA documents don't back up Dick Cheney's claims.

    By Mark Hosenball / Newsweek Web Exclusive / Aug 25, 2009 | Updated: 6:01 p.m. ET Aug 25, 2009

    Internal CIA reports released by the Obama administration on Monday suggest that former vice president Dick Cheney was right about one thing: the CIA's interrogations of suspected terrorists provided U.S. authorities with precious inside information about Al Qaeda's leadership, structure, personnel, and operations. In fact, the newly released evidence—some of which Cheney had pushed to make public—suggests that detainees provided so much detailed information, CIA personnel conducting the interrogations were under pressure to squeeze prisoners even harder in hopes of getting more.

    What the newly declassified material does not convincingly demonstrate, however, is that Cheney is right when he insists that it was the agency's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques"—including sleep deprivation, stress positions, violent physical contact, and waterboarding—that produced this useful information. In fact, though two of the newly released CIA reports offer examples of the kind of details that detainees surrendered, the reports do not say what information came as a result of harsh interrogation methods and what came from conventional questioning.

    Another key document released Monday was a long-suppressed CIA inspector-general report on possible detainee abuse. It claims, with only vague details, that in the cases of three of the earliest "high value" Qaeda suspects subjected to CIA questioning, the use of "enhanced" methods got results. For example, the document says that the number of intelligence reports generated from the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an early CIA captive, "increased" after the detainee was waterboarded 83 times. But the report doesn't say precisely what information he gave up before or after being harshly interrogated. So, based on this evidence, it is impossible to tell whether waterboarding and other brutal methods really were more effective than nonviolent techniques in extracting credible, useful information from Abu Zubaydah or other detainees.

    Likewise, supporters of the harsh techniques have repeatedly pointed to the interrogation of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as an example of the effectiveness of harsh methods. The inspector general's report says that Mohammed "provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard," and much of it was outdated or wrong. Bush administration officials have claimed that after Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, he started to talk and gave interrogators a wealth of credible information that helped thwart other attacks. In July 2004 the agency's analytical branch issued a secret report titled "Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al-Qaeda." It names alleged Qaeda operatives, inside the U.S. and overseas, whom KSM identified to U.S. authorities, and enumerates specific plots that KSM told interrogators he was planning. But the paper, which was one of the documents released this week, offers no breakdown of which pieces of this information KSM provided before or after being subjected to waterboarding and other rough treatment.

    The documents also don't address the question of whether, under the stress and pain of intense interrogation, detainees gave false information that they thought their questioners wanted to hear. The CIA documents offer no evidence that the agency made any effort to assess whether the "enhanced" interrogations may have, in fact, produced more bad information than good. Nor do the documents address the question, recently raised by the CIA's current director, Leon Panetta, of whether the same information could have been obtained through nonviolent interrogation tactics.

    A former intelligence official, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, noted that in selling the notion of "enhanced" interrogation techniques to congressional leaders, the Bush administration regularly argued that the main purpose of the techniques was to extract information that could be used to foil imminent terror plots. But the inspector general said his investigation failed to "uncover any evidence that these plots were imminent."

    The CIA documents show how dependent on detainee interrogations the agency became for inside information on Al Qaeda. The July 2004 paper that anointed KSM a "pre-eminent source" states that "information from KSM has not only dramatically expanded our universe of knowledge on Al-Qaeda plots but has provided leads that assisted directly in the capture of other terrorists." The inspector general's report indicates that some agency officials became convinced that "enhanced" interrogations helped loosen recalcitrant tongues: "When a detainee did not respond to a question posed to him, the assumption at headquarters was that the detainee was holding back and knew more; consequently, headquarters recommended resumption of [enhanced techniques]." Agency officials, acting with the blessing of the White House and the Justice Department, may have believed that the brutal interrogations were legal. But it has taken years for the government to take a hard look at the evidence and ask: did it work?
  14. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Herein lies the difference...

    Did they SUGGEST what he should say... or was it for new info...

    I do know that new info was a consideration...

    Having them commit to old things is lame...

    My understanding is that it was new juice...
  15. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    So please post the evidence that even reasonably supports the Cheney assertion that torture yielded meaningful information. Not that it would sway me regarding the use of torture - torture is illegal according to US and international laws.

    I just want to see the conclusive evidence that supports Cheney's morally bankrupt claims. For roughly the same reason I want to see a unicorn. Because no such animal exists. Except in the minds of Cheney and his customers on the right.
  16. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Hey Suspect,go visit my Van Jones thread...we want your opinion about a self declared communist advising Obama.

    We are interested in your thoughts about radicals in the White House,you seem to avoid those issues that are way more pertinent to your way of life,instead you keep worrying about Dick Cheney did to the very people who would chop your head off and not give it a second thought.
  17. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Believe it or not, Artie, terrorists can be interrogated and prosecuted without our country forsaking the laws and principles that form the very lines of demarcation differentiating us from the d-bag lunatics we're pitted against. It pains me that this point is lost on the 'ends justify the means' crowd.

    Sure, I'll visit your thread. I guess you righties are light one whipping boy. I'll be easy to spot, too - the guy in the crash helmet.
  18. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Actually probably your biggest problem suspect is banging your head on walls too often without a helmut.
  19. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Also there is been several times irrefutable evidence that the sheik broke because of waterboarding and gave us very valuable data. But go ahead and keep beating the same old tired drum. Its no wonder only the far left and the media give a hoot about this; which shows thankfully that most americans have figured out long ago that its BS as usual in washington.
  20. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    Please show me where US laws have jurisdiction anywhere in the world and over every person on the planet.

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