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Tag: Obama administration

What Is the President Supposed To Do?

I missed a recent debate on what left blogs are for (BTD's post on Booman).  I love these sorts of debates but one thing I would like to see cleared up is this:  what is the role of the President?  What are we to expect from him or her?  IMO the different camps in the left blogosphere should explicitly say their piece on that.

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You'll Never Get Ahead ...With Torture on the Resume

From Truthdig/LATimes:

"Reporting from Washington -- President Obama's pick to be the intelligence chief at the Department of Homeland Security withdrew from consideration on Friday amid signs that he could face opposition on Capitol Hill over his role in the CIA's interrogation of terrorism suspects."

...

Mudd became the latest candidate for a high-level intelligence position to be forced to withdraw after being tied to the CIA's use of severe methods to interrogate terrorism suspects.

From 2002 to 2005, Mudd served as deputy director of the CIA's counter-terrorism center, a unit that swelled in size in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and was responsible for running the agency's secret overseas prisons."

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What the CIA Wants

From Howard Bashman over at How Appealing, we learn today what the CIA supposedly wants.

"Amid Queries, CIA Worries About Future" (WaPo):

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3,000 Documents, or 3 Torture Memos?

Now, look.  I don't want to be pegged as a conspiracy theorist.  But I find what the Obama Administration has done over the past few days with regards to some important torture-related issues a little strange.

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Falling Short: Panetta Wavers on Torture

Just a few weeks ago, liberals hailed the selection of Leon Panetta for Director of the CIA - mcjoan described him as "a[s] much of a departure from torture as you could want."  It looked like the ticking time bomb hypothetical was on its way out.  Obama at the announcement of Panetta for D/CIA said "We must adhere to our values as diligently as we protect our safety with no exceptions."

Unless, that is, someone asks us a hard question in a confirmation hearing.

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Investigate Now

On the subject of the CIA, Digby writes a very good piece on torture - referring to a piece by BTD "Why The Torture Issue Can't Be Swept Under the Rug."  To quote mutual source Hayden from the LA Times again:

"These techniques worked," Hayden said of the agency's interrogation program during a farewell session with reporters who cover the CIA. "One needs to be very careful" about eliminating CIA authorities, he said, because "if you create barriers to doing things . . . there's no wink, no nod, no secret handshake. We won't do it."

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John Brennan's B.S.

The Washington Post turns in a remarkably loving portrayal of John Brennan here.  It's not all their fault though - apparently the Obama staffers love them some Brennan too. And love is blind.

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Connect the Dots: From McClurkin to Warren

I just read over andgarden's 2007 Daily Kos diary on Donnie McClurkin.  I pretty much agree completely with andgarden's extremely well-written and principled comments on this subject.  And I knew that anyway.  So why go back to 2007?  Because the comments to this older diary made for extremely interesting reading.  Unfortunately, the discussion about McClurkin unfolded almost exactly as the discussions about Warren have on the left.

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Stephen Kappes & The Rendition of Abu Omar

It has been reported (here and here) that Stephen Kappes, current Deputy Director of the CIA, is a leading candidate for Director of the CIA under President-Elect Barack Obama. The NY Daily News goes so far as to say that "Some Democrats on Capitol Hill have strongly advocated" the nomination of Kappes.

Critics of the bloggers who were against John Brennan's nomination to a top intelligence position frequently whined that he was getting a bad rap (see Greenwald's article "The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash"). One critic goes so far as to say "Brennan's hands were not very dirty at all. He was apparently thrown under the bus because some ill-informed bloggers thought they were [dirty] and the transition folks didn't have the will to explain that they were wrong." (as quoted by Greenwald from Jeff Stein's CQ article).

Let's see how they choose to defend Stephen Kappes. There can be no vague denials that Kappes had dirty hands - at his feet rests the responsibility for the bungled and unnecessary rendition of Muslim cleric Osama Mustafa Hasan Nasr aka Abu Omar.

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The Broader CIA Critique

In Glenn Greenwald's recent Salon article, "Some observations after being involved in a Fox News report," he discusses his attempt to set the record straight when it comes to the left blogs' John Brennan critique. I believe he is mostly right when he says:

"Specifically, the case against John Brennan as CIA Director - from the beginning - was based almost exclusively on comments he made on television, after he left the CIA, in which he supported rendition and what he called 'enhanced interrogation tactics.'" [bolding Greenwald's]

That was indeed the basis for the Brennan critique. John Brennan, basically, did this to himself - he was the one who stood up and acted as a mouthpiece for the Bush administration's tactics. The mass media doesn't understand this for some reason. Despite the fact that Brennan's statements are out there for the world to see, the MSM did little to present them to their viewers/readers.  But even if Brennan hadn't put his foot in his mouth, I believe he would've been, by virtue of his former place in the chain of command, disqualifed for the CIA Director position.

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Joe Biden on Prosecuting Bush Officials

Today I want to look at something Joe Biden said on the morning talk circuit about prosecuting Bush officials responsible for our detainee/interrogation policy.  From this morning's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos:

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Envisioning Intelligence Post-Bush

Tim Shorrock is one of the most well-informed and fascinating writers on the intelligence world (check out his interview with Glenn Greenwald here). His recent book, "Spies for Hire," uncovers the extremely cozy relationship between the official CIA and its corresponding "trade association," the INSA (Intelligence and National Security Alliance). You can read some more about that relationship, especially as it relates to John Brennan, in a diary I wrote here. Brennan was until mid-Nov of this year the chairman of the INSA.

Shorrock and Frank Naif recently wrote two really excellent articles for the Huffington Post that describe the problems a post-Bush intelligence agency is going to face as well as the skills and attitudes that are going to be needed to face them.

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Net Neutrality vs. Torture Policy

Something struck me today while catching up on my blog headlines.  Remember the WSJ article BTD blogged about that set off an online firestorm?  We were all supposed to sit tight and dismiss the article until Obama appointed someone like Brennan to the CIA.  Then we could complain.  Then we would find out if Obama had changed his policy.

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