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White House and Congress knew about the CIA tapes

The White House and Congress Knew about the CIA Interrogation Videotapes

George Washington’s Blog
December 12, 2007

According to a former “senior intelligence official”, the White House knew of the existence of the CIA interrogation tapes since 2003, at the very latest, and tacitly approved the destruction of the tapes in 2005.

Indeed, former CIA agent and State Department counterterrorism official Larry Johnson said that it was “highly likely” that President Bush himself had viewed the videotapes of the 2002 interrogations that were later destroyed. Is that why the White House has instructed its spokesperson not to answer any questions on the subject?

And according to the Director of the CIA, Congress was also informed about the existence of the tapes, and — later — of the CIA’s intention to destroy them.

Indeed, Senator Rockefeller has confirmed that the Senate Intelligence Committee knew of the existence of the videotapes in 2003. And Congresswoman Harman has confirmed that the House Intelligence Committee also learned of the existence of the videotapes in 2003. Is that why Senator Rockefeller opposes any real investigation into the destruction of the tapes, saying “I don’t think there’s a need for a special counsel, and I don’t think there’s a need for a special commission”?

The obstruction of justice regarding the tapes appears to have been orchestrated by the very highest levels of the U.S. Government.

 

Guantanamo Legal Adviser Refuses To Say Iranians Waterboarding Americans Would Be Torture

Think Progress
December 12, 2007

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “The Legal Rights of Guantanamo Detainees” this morning, Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay, repeatedly refused to call the hypothetical waterboarding of an American pilot by the Iranian military torture. “I’m not equipped to answer that question,” said Hartmann.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who asked the hypothetical, pushed Hartmann on his answer, asking him directly if it would be a “violation of the Geneva Convention”:

GRAHAM: You mean you’re not equipped to give a legal opinion as to whether or not Iranian military waterboarding, secret security agents waterboarding downed airmen is a violation of the Geneva Convention?

HARTMANN: I am not prepared to answer that question, Senator.

After Hartmann twice refused to answer, Graham dismissed him in disgust, saying he had “no further questions.” Watch it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89cYbggdGVQ

Longer Version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jbcWzSVcco
Hartmann’s non-answer is reminiscent of State Department Legal Adviser John Bellinger’s refusal in October to condemn “the use of water boarding on an American national by a foreign intelligence service.”

But not every lawyer who’s worked for the Bush administration has been so hesitant to call waterboarding torture.

In 2004, after then-acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin had himself waterboarded, he concluded that the interrogation technique “could be illegal torture.” For his efforts, “Levin was forced out of the Justice Department when Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General.”

Sen. Graham, a former military judge advocate, has said before that someone doesn’t “have to have a lot of knowledge about the law to understand this technique violates Geneva Convention Common Article Three.”

 

Let’s (Not) Go to the Videotape!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX_1Qsq0DTM

Related News:

Ex-CIA Larry Johnson: ‘Highly likely’ Bush saw torture tapes
http://billpressmedia.com/highlylikely.mp3

Ex-CIA agent: Waterboarding approved at top levels
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20…co/cia_videotapes

White House Was Ordered Not To Destroy Torture Evidence
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2007…eotapes_courts

CIA may have more interrogation tapes, detainee’s lawyer suggests
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/White_H…on_of_1211.html

CIA Failed To Inform Congress About Tapes
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2…ecrypt/main3611381.shtml

White House goes ‘no comment’ on CIA video case
http://rawstory.com/news/afp/W…video_c_12102007.html

Former CIA: Waterboarding Useful But Torture
http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews…0938320071211

CIA Director To Testify About Destroyed Tapes
http://www.reuters.com/articl…654798320071210?sp=true

Secretly briefed, Pelosi did not object to waterboarding in 2002
http://rawstory.com/news/200…t_to_waterboarding_1209.html

Destroyed CIA torture tapes said to implicate Pakistan and Saudi Royal Family in 9/11 attacks
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ge….destroyed-inter_b_75850.html

Photos Show UK Gitmo Detainee Was Tortured
Man Held By CIA Says He Was Tortured
McCain: No Investigation Needed
Congress Looks Into C.I.A. Obstruction As Calls for Justice Inquiry Rise
‘Well-Informed’ Source Tells CBS That Tapes Were Destroyed To Prevent Prosecution
Lee Hamilton Says the CIA Obstructed the 9/11 Commission
Inquiry into CIA interrogation tapes’ destruction begins
CIA destroyed video of ‘waterboarding’ al-Qaida detainees
C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations
C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations
CIA admits destroying interrogation tapes

 



CIA’s Destroyed Torture Tapes and the Saudi-Pakistani 9/11 Connection

Destroyed CIA torture tapes said to implicate Pakistan and Saudi Royal Family in 9/11 attacks

Huffington Post
December 7, 2007

On December 5, the CIA’s director, General Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement disclosing that in 2005 at least two videotapes of interrogations with al Qaeda prisoners were destroyed. The tapes, which the CIA did not provide to either the 9/11 Commission, nor to a federal court in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, were destroyed, claimed Hayden, to protect the safety of undercover operatives.

Hayden did not disclose one of the al Qaeda suspects whose tapes were destroyed. But he did identify the other. It was Abu Zubaydah, the top ranking terror suspect when he was tracked and captured in Pakistan in 2003. In September 2006, at a press conference in which he defended American interrogation techniques, President Bush also mentioned Abu Zubaydah by name. Bush acknowledged that Zubaydah, who was wounded when captured, did not initially cooperate with his interrogators, but that eventually when he did talk, his information was, according to Bush, “quite important.”

In my 2003 New York Times bestseller, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11, I discussed Abu Zubaydah at length in Chapter 19, “The Interrogation.” There I set forth how Zubaydah initially refused to help his American captors. Also, disclosed was how U.S. intelligence established a so-called “fake flag” operation, in which the wounded Zubaydah was transferred to Afghanistan under the ruse that he had actually been turned over to the Saudis. The Saudis had him on a wanted list, and the Americans believed that Zubaydah, fearful of torture and death at the hands of the Saudis, would start talking when confronted by U.S. agents playing the role of Saudi intelligence officers.

Instead, when confronted by his “Saudi” interrogators, Zubaydah showed no fear. Instead, according to the two U.S. intelligence sources that provided me the details, he seemed relieved. The man who had been reluctant to even confirm his identity to his U.S. captors, suddenly talked animatedly. He was happy to see them, he said, because he feared the Americans would kill him. He then asked his interrogators to call a senior member of the Saudi royal family. And Zubaydah provided a private home number and a cell phone number from memory. “He will tell you what to do,” Zubaydah assured them

That man was Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, one of King Fahd’s nephews, and the chairman of the largest Saudi publishing empire. Later, American investigators would determine that Prince Ahmed had been in the U.S. on 9/11.

American interrogators used painkillers to induce Zubaydah to talk — they gave him the meds when he cooperated, and withdrew them when he was quiet. They also utilized a thiopental sodium drip (a so-called truth serum). Several hours after he first fingered Prince Ahmed, his captors challenged the information, and said that since he had disparaged the Saudi royal family, he would be executed. It was at that point that some of the secrets of 9/11 came pouring out. In a short monologue, that one investigator told me was the “Rosetta Stone” of 9/11, Zubaydah laid out details of how he and the al Qaeda hierarchy had been supported at high levels inside the Saudi and Pakistan governments.

He named two other Saudi princes, and also the chief of Pakistan’s air force, as his major contacts. Moreover, he stunned his interrogators, by charging that two of the men, the King’s nephew, and the Pakistani Air Force chief, knew a major terror operation was planned for America on 9/11.

It would be nice to further investigate the men named by Zubaydah, but that is not possible. All four identified by Zubaydah are now dead. As for the three Saudi princes, the King’s 43-year-old nephew, Prince Ahmed, died of either a heart attack or blood clot, depending on which report you believe, after having liposuction in Riyadh’s top hospital; the second, 41-year-old Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki al-Saud, died the following day in a one car accident, on his way to the funeral of Prince Ahmed; and one week later, the third Saudi prince named by Zubaydah, 25-year-old Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, died, according to the Saudi Royal Court, “of thirst.” The head of Pakistan’s Air Force, Mushaf Ali Mir, was the last to go. He died, together with his wife and fifteen of his top aides, when his plane blew up — suspected as sabotage — in February 2003. Pakistan’s investigation of the explosion — if one was even done — has never been made public.

Zubaydah is the only top al Queda operative who has secretly linked two of America’s closest allies in the war on terror — Saudi Arabia and Pakistan — to the 9/11 attacks. Why does Bush, and the CIA, continue to protect the Saudi Royal family and the Pakistani military, from the implications of Zubaydah’s confessions? It is, or course, because the Bush administration desperately needs Pakistani and Saudi help, not only to keep Afghanistan from spinning completely out of control, but also as counterweights to the growing power of Iran. The Sunni governments in Riyadh and Islamabad have as much to fear from a resurgent Iran as does the Bush administration. But does this mean that leads about the origins of 9/11 should not be aggressively pursued? Of course not. But this is precisely what the Bush administration is doing. And now the cover-up is enhanced by the CIA’s destruction of Zubaydah’s interrogation tapes.

The American public deserves no less than the complete truth about 9/11. And those CIA officials now complicit in hiding the truth by destroying key evidence should be held responsible.

Related News:

Man Held By CIA Says He Was Tortured
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/washin…./hArvvL67u7/dpvA

McCain: No Investigation Needed
http://politicalinquirer.com/2007/1…stigation-needed/

Congress Looks Into C.I.A. Obstruction As Calls for Justice Inquiry Rise
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/08/washi….Uioe%2BjiIYg

‘Well-Informed’ Source Tells CBS That Tapes Were Destroyed To Prevent Prosecution
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/12/08/cbs-source-tapes/

Lee Hamilton Says the CIA Obstructed the 9/11 Commission
http://www.911blogger.com/node/12894

Inquiry into CIA interrogation tapes’ destruction begins
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Inquiry_…s_1208.html

CIA destroyed video of ‘waterboarding’ al-Qaida detainees
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2223738,00.html

C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations
C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations
CIA admits destroying interrogation tapes