Well, Hell, what’s one more lie at this point?
“The committee has given us… a one-sided study”
I’m sure the other side will promptly be declassified to show how this is so.
“The former CIA officials defended the interrogation program by saying agents were in an unprecedented daily “‘ticking time bomb’ scenario” that required quick action.” (from the Reuters article)
I do not think that phrase means what they think it means.
“Guys, [Senator] Frank Church basically neutered the Agency when he made it illegal for us to assassinate foreign heads of state.” Michael Hayden told reporters at a press conference yesterday. “Now the bleeding hearts want to forbid us to torture people as well? At this rate, we’re soon going to need presidential authorization to run a bake-sale. Seriously, if an intelligence agency can’t trample roughshod over people’s rights, smack suspects around until their eyeballs pop out of their heads, and get involved in a little deniable violence every now and then, what’s the point? Thank God we still have our fingers in the drone program, that’s all I can say. If we couldn’t light up a few villages full of swarthy third-world peasants from time to time, life wouldn’t be worth living.”
Director Hayden subsequently stated that he was speaking ‘off the record’, and asked reporters not to print his comments.
The CIA response to this has been interesting.
One response seems to be along the lines of “Yeah, we did these things, we believe they were justified, and we told Congress what we were doing, so why are they pretending they didn’t know?” There is a solid extent to which I think that is true. The CIA is like a violent psychopath that will take care of the government’s business. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were plenty of people in Congress who didn’t know the details because they didn’t want the burden of knowing, they just wanted results by any means.
The other response has been along the lines of “This report is only about all of that brutal torture we did, but doesn’t mention that we bought a good amount of Girl Scout Cookies. Why does everyone want to talk about the bad stuff but ignore the good?” It is the kind of response that shows you are dealing with people who don’t think torture is all that big a deal.
The CIA is clearly to blame for what it does, but it also seems like its function is to be the Joe Pesci style psycho that takes its cue from the vague directions of its bosses. Those bosses haven’t been very interested in keeping a tight leash, let alone cutting the psycho off the payroll.
Dick Cheney’s response was interesting in that he essentially said “Yes, all true. So what? We torture people. We have the moral authority. Stop whingeing.”
That’s an interesting tack, because he knows he’ll be left alone, and it means that his admission (theoretically) absolves the agents of responsibility. He’s either a raging psychopath (probably) or he knows he’s an untouchable scapegoat. Possibly both.
I think Mr Bolling has the right of it…
Of course they were in “ticking time bomb” scenarios! Jeez, don’t you watch “24”?
Unprecedented because it was imaginary.
Daily because they needed an ongoing excuse.
Ticking Time Bomb scenario:
This one really pisses me off, because it’s predicated on the notion that sometimes torture is justifiable. but the completely artificial circumstances that need to be set up to rationalize the torture doled out under that moral umbrella include variables that are unknowable to the people doing the torturing.
So, it’s really just a deflection point for people who would really be okay with the torture, as long as it was carried out against people not too much like themselves, but don’t want to come right out and say:
Fuck anyone who uses this excuse, seriously, fuck them.
Edit: I want to make it clear this is not an attack post. I completely agree with you, Nonentity, I’m just reinforcing what you said and venting some of my own outrage.
Michael Hayden, who led the CIA during George W. Bush’s second term, said today “I didn’t lie and I didn’t mislead Congress” about torturing war-on-terror detainees during Bush’s presidency.
You can tell he is, because his lips are moving. Actually, even when his lips aren’t moving, you can tell he’s lying because he’s still breathing. Hell, he could be legally dead and he’d still be lying. This guy may be the anthropomorphic personification of lying.
“The committee has given us… a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation–essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks,” they wrote.
By all means, gentlemen, let us hear the other side. Let us hear the facts without errors, and with ample documentation if you please. We have not yet been told of even one actual life saved by this regime of torture; please proceed.
Oh wait. If this report is “partisan,” then does that mean the CIA is a political party? I suppose the opposition party would be… morality?
What gets me about this excuse, in addition to what you mention about the torture justification, is: even in the incredibly unlikely hypothetical “ticking time bomb scenario”, the only reason it’s supposed to at all justify torture is that there’s an immediate, defined threat that can only be resolved in one way.
The moment you slap “daily” onto that, you’ve lost most of what makes up even that incredibly slim hypothetical moral justification.
Many people need to be in jail. I absolutely believe in starting at the bottom. I think too many people wring their hands about it being “fair” and making sure the most responsible people are the most punished. That’s not the world we live in. Hayden will not see the inside of a jail cell, except maybe in a photo since he helped build a few.
The Executive Branch and its current and former administrators have become thoroughly immunized by the political process, even if there are legal mechanisms to prosecute them. At this point, I am content to go after every low-level asshole who carried out the torture. I want the message to go out: Even if the people who told you to do it get off scot-free, you won’t. That’s good enough. It’s hardly justice, but it’s good enough.
and the war of perception continues
Hayden has little credibility since botching the handling of intelligence NSA already possessed on the hijackers before 9/11. Back then his stovepipe practices insured failure. Afterward, the intelligence agencies sought out the needles by making more haystacks, 4th amendment be damned.
See James Bamford’s “The Shadow Factory” for the lowdown on that and the subsequent overreaching by Hayden, Alexander, et al. This was among the best investigative works until Snowden came along to show it was even worse.
I regard Michael Hayden to be an amoral, dishonest, disingenuous individual, devoid of ethical integrity (beyond that of an “honor among thieves” strain, perhaps) who displays pronounced sociopathic tendencies.* None-the-less, this quote strikes me as completely over the top & expressly out of character from the demeanor Hayden typically has on public display.
Web searches return your post on Boing Boing as the only reference found.
Please provide a citation of the source.
- Note: I am not a Psych-Professional in any capacity
The CIA is like a violent psychopath that will take care of the government’s business.
“Do you have any idea what I’ve done for God and country? Some pretty FUCKING HORRIBLE things!”
– Mitch Leary (John Malkovich), In the Line of Fire.
Please forgive my long, tedious rant. I had to get it out before I exploded. I hope I have made it informative for the few that make it to the end…
My mind boggles at the horror.
It is not just the torture. I am aghast at all the people who seem to concur that THIS is the direction they want our nation to go. They look at the torture, the lies and the soul destroying justifications and say that this is the world they want for themselves and their children. They are willing to discard the rule of law. They don’t care about ethics. They take no thought for the long term consequences. Where do they think they are going to live?
Our nation has gotten through equally difficult problems in the past. Hopefully, today enough of us will remember that our noble goals are:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…
It is not about whether torture is hard to justify. It is not about whether torture is effective. Arguing about these points is substituting false judgement for true judgement. The reason we don’t torture our fellow man is because we believe that we are created equal. And we believe that we all have certain inalienable rights.
When a part of our government systematically violates our inalienable rights. Then engages in a prolonged battle to conceal the truth about their actions, it severs itself from any claim to have ‘Just Powers.’
It is now our Right, and our Duty to alter or abolish the destructive part of Government.
At least we know the root of the problem and have some idea of what works and what doesn’t.
The problem is, our nation does not currently have a good way to handle secret knowledge. When secret knowledge drives government action, it isolates government and corrupts it from it’s intended purposes.
We have proved that the following approaches do not limit government corruption:
- Allowing our government representatives to act on secret knowledge corrupts them from their intended purpose. They substitute their agendas for our agenda. The corruption occurs faster if their actions are hidden from the public.
- Adding an isolated layer of oversight that can partake of the secrets (but can't expose the secrets) slightly slows, but does not stop, the corrupting process. The FISA court was [captured] and corrupted by the Intelligence community. The [House Intelligence Committee] appears to be captured and corrupted. The Senate Intelligence Committee appears be complicit in the NSA corruption, even while acting against the CIA corruption.
- Leaving corruption alone makes it worse.
- Secret processes don't reduce corruption. They are are much more likely to be co-opted and increase the corruption.
- Allowing the same government entity to create secrets, protect secrets, and act on those secrets speeds the corrupting process.
- The [Espionage Act] appears to be severely broken. It denied the whistle-blowers [Kiriakou] and [Manning] the ability to present a Public Interest defense. The Act has eliminated and suppressed many opportunities to evaluate and prevent the corruption of government.
- Allowing Government to avoid trial and suppress evidence by claiming National Security appears to be an extremely bad idea. Our government has repeatedly used this claim to avoid evaluation by independent, judges. This has also eliminated many opportunities to prevent the corruption of government.
The following solutions have worked to limit or reduce government corruption:
- Exposing the secrets exposes the corruption. Once the corruption has grown sufficiently ripe, it is always better to expose the secrets than endure the corruption. Oddly enough, history seems to indicate that it takes our Intelligence community about 40 years to go from full exposure to ripe secret corruption.
- Even if the secrets are kept, corruption can be greatly reduced if it is publicly exposed, uprooted, punished and replaced. Skipping one of these steps leaves the corruption intact.
- Whistle-blowing and public disclosure by informed, ethical insiders works to expose and limit corruption.
- Allowing Oversight groups to freely disclose secrets if they feel it is in the Public Interest greatly slows the corruption.
- Distributing the processes of creation of secrets, protecting secrets, and acting on secrets to different parts of government appears to greatly slow the corrupting process.
All branches of our Government have proven susceptible to the corrupting power of secrets:
- The Legislative branch almost never keeps secrets. When it does, it grows corrupt.
- The Judicial branch keeps secrets. They are usually resistant to corruption when keeping others secrets. The Judicial branch will rapidly corrupt when their own knowledge, laws and actions are kept secret.
- The Executive branch creates, preserves and acts on secrets all the time. Sometimes, parts of it exhibit non-corrupt behavior. However, we have two exceptional cases: The Military has historically been a little more resistant to the corrupting power of secrets. The Intelligence community has historically been highly susceptible to the corrupting power of secrets.
God help us if we don’t act to stem the current tide of government corruption. We will lose ourselves and probably take the rest of the world with us.
A demonstration of the epistemic agility that the CIA brings to bear to protect you and your family from today’s terrifying global threatscape?