"Necessary" Evils? No, Intellectual and Moral Stupidity

Via lilburro, it amazes me still that sentences like these can still be spoken by supposedly respectable people:

Mr. Obama will soon face the same awful choices that confronted George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and he could well be forced to accept a central feature of their anti-terrorist methods: extraordinary rendition. If the choice is between non-deniable aggressive questioning conducted by Americans and deniable torturous interrogations by foreigners acting on behalf of the United States, it is almost certain that as president Mr. Obama will choose the latter.

The writer is a former CIA official and is indicative of everything that is wrong with the intelligence community. They know nothing, learn nothing (torture does not work and never has) and of course have no moral compass (the writer thinks Bush and Cheney will be vindicated). The more I read from these people, the more I am convinced that the CIA requires a complete overhaul.

Speaking for me only

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    I recall that Michael Scheurer said on 60 Minutes (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:22:56 AM EST
    a few years ago that rendition was practiced during the Clinton Administration, and that he (Scheurer) was in full support of it.

    You'd think that if the Surgeon General werer talking about humors and pestilence, we'd get rid of him too. . .

    here we go again... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 12:07:08 PM EST
    "The more I read from these people, the more I am convinced that the CIA requires a complete overhaul."

    But who will do it?  Is there a Frank Church in the wings?

    I just don't see it happening.  Other events have overtaken this issue...the economy, the wars, terrorism (of course) and did I mention the economy?

    Overhauling the CIA, FBI, the Justice Department seems as unlikely as prosecuting Bush and/or Cheney for their crimes, foreign and domestic.

    This whole NYT article (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by lilburro on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 02:44:28 PM EST
    is just crazy.  It's like some CIA fantasy - "To get the C.I.A. back in the interrogation business would probably require a liberal Democratic Congress to pass laws guaranteeing case officers' immunity from criminal and civil prosecution."  007 anybody?

    Extraordinary rendition is just torture in another country.  It's not like it works better depending on longitude and latitude.  And at this point Bush has screwed us so badly with the results of his extraordinary rendition program that I can't even see how we would have plausible deniability.  Plus Gerecht is misleading when he says we have "no control over the questioning" - apparently "The Americans could give the Egyptians interrogators questions they wanted to put to the detainees in the morning...and get answers by evening" during Clinton era renditions[quote from Mayer's "The Dark Side"...yes I keep this book near my computer all the time!]

    It all highlights again the basic need to have someone who agrees with Obama re: torture as DNI/CIA Director.  Digby's point about Hayden:

    "It seems to me that if he honestly believed that the danger to the country would be "substantially" increased if the CIA were not allowed to torture, he cannot in good conscience work for someone who disagrees. Or he was lying."


    Is Gerecht Creditable? (none / 0) (#2)
    by santarita on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:34:39 AM EST
    He is one of those "experts" who have made a very profitable career out of saying things that have pleased a certain constituency and will continue to say the same things as long as it pleases that constituency.  Listen to him with the same degree of skepticism with which you listen to a pitchman on an infomercial on t.v. at 2 A.M.  He represents a certain point of view and won't be swayed by facts to the contrary.  He is relied on by the media as an expert because they know he will not alter from his point of view and he always can be counted on to provide the apparently necessary counterweight to other experts.  He provides controversy which sells.  

    I suppose you could try to eliminate all such toadies at the CIA but why stop at the CIA?  There are people like him everywhere.  

    Please keep your comments on topic (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:41:07 AM EST

    sorry, this guy is a blowhard. (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:56:34 AM EST
    he makes assertions of fact (the clinton administration supported rendition), with no actual evidence to support it. he uses the classic "if your prisoner knew the location of a bomb set to go off in 5 minutes, wouldn't you beat it out of him?" nonsense.

    bear in mind, the cia is the same "gang that couldn't shoot straight" that gave us the shah of iran and cuba's batista. as well, it gave us pretty much every right-wing dictatorship in latin and south america. we've all seen the ends of those movies.

    fortunately, he's retired, so he can do no actual, hands-on harm.

    yeah, i guess democracy and secret police... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 12:09:19 PM EST
    ...don't always go, um, well together.  An overhaul is the understatement of the year.  A bend overhaul is more like it.  F the entire thing.

    And, speaking of F, how the hell did Tebow get screwed outta that Heisman.  Now THAT is an outrage.

    Hmmm...who counted the votes? (none / 0) (#8)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 01:16:47 PM EST
    Assuming it wsn't dfone electronically...

    Oops....OT response...and (none / 0) (#9)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 01:20:50 PM EST
    I can't type or proofread either....sorry...

    More coffee...


    Narrow perspective (none / 0) (#7)
    by koshembos on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 01:16:18 PM EST
    The Village views the world as made of events that they report on from, mostly, Republican perspective. I grow up with a press whose goal could be paraphrased as "whoever is in control, give them hell." European media doesn't abide by the Village rules; on balance they try to do a  good job.

    Same goes with intelligence services. Not everyone uses waterboarding or rendition. Other intelligence services may be milder or harsher, but in most democracies they don't cross the line too frequently. Their repective courts prevent crossing lines from being repeated. The CIA is contorted and doesn't do a very good job lately. (They tend to strike wedding parties in Afghanistan.) It runs by the Village rules.

    PS: It's official: Clinton is responsible for Evil and is the boss of Satan; no doubt about it.

    Well, no but... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 05:23:28 AM EST
    Bill Clinton was the president who first authorized the rendition program, its public record stuff and not exactly conspiracy mongering to attest to something that is a concrete fact just because it casts Bill in a bad light.

    Change you could believe in . . . (none / 0) (#10)
    by wurman on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 01:42:34 PM EST
    Valerie Plame Wilson would make an excellent Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    The confirmation hearings would perhaps become the television ratings bonanza of the decade.

    On the flip side: (none / 0) (#12)
    by lilburro on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 02:51:43 PM EST
    Art Brown writes an editorial from a different angle for the NYT "Transitions" project:

    To start with the bottom line, the C.I.A.'s human spy business is not answering the hardest questions. How can I know this, three years out of touch with the secret stuff? The answer is rather simple: because Osama bin Laden is still the head of Al Qaeda. And no one has been held accountable for failing to catch him.

    By the evening of Sept. 11, 2001, every serving C.I.A. officer -- indeed, every American -- knew that the agency had one prime mission: "Get him!" But, after more than seven years and billions of dollars, we have failed. I recognize much has been done to damage Al Qaeda's networks but, make no mistake, no amount of "rendition" of bin Laden lieutenants can mask our failure to bring to justice the man who ordered 9/11.

    What makes you so sure (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by NYShooter on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 05:38:56 PM EST
    they WANT to get'm?

    I thought the CIA (none / 0) (#13)
    by Blowback on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 02:55:16 PM EST
    already had a total overhaull under Shrub?

    Or did they just shuffle the chairs? The CIA is not the big agancey overriding all anymore, is it?

    Sen. Moynihan had it right (none / 0) (#15)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 09:45:14 PM EST
    just disband the whole  Agency.  They drop acid on unwitting individuals long before the effects of that were known, indeed to try to see what the effects would be.  They are wrong about S viet Nam.  They engage in all the abuses the Church Committee unveiled.  Wrong about the downfall of the Soviet Empire, wrong about Iraq.

    If there is one area of government that can and should be privatized it is intelligence.  A little investigative reporting and restoration of private international bureaus would do nicely.

    Does anyone really beleive there is information so threatening to American citizens that it can only be entrusted to nitwits like W? How much better would it have been if the daily Presidential intelligence briefing given to & ignored by W on August 6, 2001 had instead been spread across page 1 of the NY Times?  

    Speaking for Me Only (none / 0) (#16)
    by kaleidescope on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 10:42:08 PM EST
    I would prefer that the CIA be dealt with in the way Stalin suggested to Churchill that the German officer corps be dealt with.

    Not a hypocrite.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by NYShooter on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:07:54 PM EST
    ....was Uncle Joe; he tidied up his own General Staff every couple of years..........just to keep things fresh.

    He Hated to be Called Uncle Joe n/t (none / 0) (#18)
    by kaleidescope on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:34:58 PM EST
    Ilona Kandaurova (none / 0) (#19)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 01:12:36 AM EST
    thought he was great.

    Only suitable reaction ... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 06:32:12 AM EST
    is here.

    Uhm (none / 0) (#22)
    by AlkalineDave on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 06:49:51 AM EST
    I'm a Marine intelligence specialist, and I don't think it fair to say I know nothing or learn nothing.  Not everyone in the intel community is for torture.

    I find it a little suspect (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 02:34:12 PM EST
    that you are a Marine intelligence specialist and announcing it on Talkleft along with your screen name and stuff.  AND find it downright funky that you are an intel SPECIALIST doing it, like superduper funky.  Perhaps you are an open source intel specialist and you consider yourself a source and Talkleft a source and FOX a source too :)  Not impossible, but given the current state of the world and how careful you guys are and how you operate in real life this would be an odd happening.