Don’t hold your breath

I couldn’t agree more with Vice President Cheney. Let’s put an end to the speculation and see what is really there. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them Dems to do something that would destroy their (weak) arguments.

Cheney Calls For More CIA Reports To Be Declassified

Mon Apr 20 2009 16:20:53 ET

In a two part interview airing tonight and tomorrow night on FOX News Channel’s Hannity (9-10PM ET), former Vice President Dick Cheney shared his thoughts on the CIA memos that were recently declassified and also revealed his request to the CIA to declassify additional memos that confirm the success of the Bush administration’s interrogation tactics:


“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort. And there are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified.”

“I formally asked that they be declassified now. I haven’t announced this up until now, I haven’t talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.”

“And I’ve now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions.”


22 thoughts on “Don’t hold your breath”

  1. I think he makes a good argument but I wouldn’t risk finding out that this administration is stupid enough to call his bluff. I also don’t expect them to be caught responding “it’d be stupid for us to lay out for our enemies exactly what we know about them, that’s top secr…ermmm, ah.. wait..” If they can practice some self control then they can get away with simply ignoring Cheney because, after all, he’s Evil(tm). These people are light on the capacity to feel shame, though. They’re probably brazen enough to say that these statements show that VP Cheney concurs with their conclusion that releasing top secret documents is no big deal.

  2. Tom,

    I feel Cheney is telling the truth on this one (I don’t think that he’s bluffing).

    Unfortunately this administration is so arrogant and so full of deceit that they do whatever they want because the MSM is in that tank with them and the American people continue to believe the bullshit that comes out of the “Messiah’s” mouth.

    The only way that this administration will be totally discredited is when we get attacked again. Until that event takes place this administration will keep claiming that their tactics have made the country stronger in The War on Terror (when we know it won’t in the long rage).

    Hey, they don’t even call it anymore The War on Terror, go figure.

  3. To be clear, I don’t think Cheney is bluffing about the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques. I don’t think he could be serious about wanting more top secret memos released. I think he’s using the argument to illustrate the hypocrisy and political opportunism of the Obama administration.

  4. This is an important debate but let’s stop this nonsense of “enhanced interrogation techniques”. It’s torture. It may be that the American people are willing to advocate the use of torture to protect national security but please, for once, let’s be honest about what we mean.

  5. CP,

    If this “torture” saved your family’s lives, would you still consider torture? Or would you be willing to allow your family to get their heads chopped off by some murderous scumbags over semantics?

    if making some terrorist piece of shit choke with a little water saves even one life, then Im all for it.

  6. Val,

    I take it you’re a fan of “24,” in which doomsday scenarios like yours happen all the time, not in the real world – not the one in which JAGs, retired CIA and FBI agents, John McCain, and John Ashcroft live. In my world, my grandparents coworkers suffered broken limbs and severed fingers in Cuba thanks to orders signed by a charming young man named Ernesto “Che” Guevara, so you’ll excuse me if I’m less hesitant for my country to adopt the standards of totalitarian regimes.

    Otherwise, if you really advocate torture, write your Congressmen and ask them to rescind our commitments to the Geneva Convention and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, signed by Ronald Reagan in the late eighties.

  7. Alfred, the emotional imagery you conjure doesn’t create a moral equivalence between a state mutilating its citizenry for the purpose of subjugating the population and intelligence officers making terrorists uncomfortable for the purpose of national security.

  8. No, the aims were similar: to extract information. Let’s stop using euphemistic language, please, especially since you seem to agree with Prieto: the suspects were not made “uncomfortable,” they were hurt, for long periods. Read the OLC report, which behind the contorted reasoning is honest about what we intended to these suspects.

  9. Lest I get accused of creating a moral equivalence between our interrogators and the jailers in Castro’s prisons (whom we don’t, by the way, hesitate to accuse of torturing political prisoners), let me be clear: the Bush administration and its Office of Legal Counsel didn’t authorize this policy for a giggle. I can’t imagine how tense the White House must have been in the period after 9-11. But states of emergency tend to justify unfathomable crimes, and that’s where the problem lies, and where one similarity with the Castro regime is unmistakable: for the security of the state, anything can become a ticking time bomb scenario. This attitude lead, abjectly and inevitably, to Abu Ghraib, where soldiers turn into sadists. Extracting information was no longer the aim: having fun at a prisoner’s expense is.

  10. Val,

    The short answer to your first question is yes. It is also true that if someone hit my kid on the street, I would beat the piss out of him. Or if someone broke into my home I would plunge a knife into him. But that isn’t what is at stake here. We are a nation of laws and we have signaled to the world–perhaps more forcefully than other countries–that we never torture. That we don’t do to our enemies what the guys in Havana do in Combinado del Este or the Soviets did in the Gulag. That’s not our country’s way of doing things. I work in NYC and I lived in the city on 9/11. To this day I still have trouble getting my bearings downtown when I emerge from the subway because I so dependend on the WTC as a marker of North and South. I know that we have real enemies in this world and that they mean us a great deal of harm. I just refuse to become them. Others in the US may disagree with me and it may be, as I said in my original post, that the people of the US are willing to yield our traditional moral high ground when it comes to the treatment of prisoners in exchange for increased safety (incidentally, the connection between information obtained by torture and increased national security has yet to be established). I think that would a profoundly sad development for our nation and proof to me that the terrorists did more harm to us on that day in September than we ever imagined.

  11. Alfred, that’s just not so. The prisoners in Abu Ghraib were abused for the entertainment of bored sadists that disgraced their uniform. It had nothing to do with the kind of intelligence gathering that the CIA was running in Gitmo.

  12. “The short answer to your first question is yes. It is also true that if someone hit my kid on the street, I would beat the piss out of him. Or if someone broke into my home I would plunge a knife into him. But that isn’t what is at stake here. We are a nation of laws.”

    Okay, but you just violated the rights of the two people in your hypothetical. How is that any different from what you criticize the CIA for doing? The prisoners at Gitmo DO NOT have rights under our Constitution or the Geneva Convention, for that matter. Sounds to me like you’re contradicting yourself…

  13. Waterboarding may have worked on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed but the CIA says he gave everything up after “he had been subjected to only 35 seconds under water”:

    But some other reports (refer to above link again) say he gave everything up before it got as far as water boarding.

    Whether it works or not it does seem there was a lot of wasted effort that might have been better spent elsewhere.

  14. “Whether it works or not it does seem there was a lot of wasted effort that might have been better spent elsewhere.”

    I mean the additional 182+ sessions which found out nothing.

  15. George,

    If I had been at the Summit of the Americas this weekend I would likely have told Chavez to take Galeano’s book and shove it up his ass that would have made me feel good, would have earned a tip of the hat from the guys on Babalu, and done nothing to advance US interests in the region. My point is that what I would do as an individual to satisfy my need for revenge-justice-etc. is different from what states should so to advance their collective security. I love this country dearly and I hate the idea that we will compromise our core values in order to beat Al-Qaeda.

  16. CP, you can’t have it both ways. Either we’re a nation of laws and no laws were broken during the CIA interrogations at Gitmo or we decide if our core values have been compromised depending on how queasy the techniques used make us feel.

  17. Tom,

    Based on what I have read–and we are still missing detailed accounts of much of what happened at GITMO–I believe the United States tortured Al Qaeda suspects and others. I oppose that treatment not because it makes me queasy but because I find it appalling that the greatest country in the world would compromise its core values about the rule of law.

  18. Alfred,

    Methinks its you who are having a problem with the “real world.” It’s mighty naive to think that US intelligence agencies – as well as all other world intelligence agencies – havent used, use and will continue to use some type of “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

    I also take umbrage to your comparing what the castro regime has done, and continues to do to Cuban citizens to what the US did to the gitmo terrorists. If you look at this issue honestly and without the “morally relative” crap you would see that it’s all about INTENT.

    As for the “24” references, true, terrorists kidnaping families doesnt happen every day here in teh sates, but it does happen throughout the world on a daily basis. Just read the news, dude.

    Of course, there are always nutballs out there that have no interest in kidnapping yout family, they just wantto ram planes into the skyscrapers they work at.

  19. I’ll repeat: write our legislators and change the law. Torture is a crime.

    Let’s assume that these methods are (a) useful (2) legal thanks to the OLC (3) necessary to keep as options.

    If that’s the case, how could tapes of interrogations (the “successful” and the not so successful) not be the most valuable training available to future generations of interrogators? How could they not have any “intelligence value” as a training tool?

    That’s the problem. Tapes were destroyed. Interrogators would not destroy tapes if they were confident of torture’s legality.

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