Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:31 AM
xiamiam (4,906 posts)
CIA was lying about torture even to its own staff - CIA veteran Kiriakou
President Obama adopted most of President Bush’s counter-terrorism policies, argues John Kiriakou - the former CIA official who blew the whistle on the agency's torture practices and is now set to go behind bars for it.
After 9/11 Kiriakou served as the chief of counter-terrorist operations in Pakistan. Now he is heading to prison, having been sentenced to two-and-a-half years.
Despite that, he says he is proud to have played a role in outlawing torture. Voting for Obama, Kiriakou believed that it would bring positive change – but it never came, he told RT. “I never believed I would be going to prison under a President Obama. Never.”
Interview and video at link as well as full transcript
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CIA was lying about torture even to its own staff - CIA veteran Kiriakou (Original post)
Response to xiamiam (Original post)
Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:13 PM
JDPriestly (57,936 posts)
3. That interview confirms my belief that we have a professional national security administration
that perpetuates and secures itself within our government. By default, since it is the department or area of the government in which employees and agents work continuously, for years and years, constantly advancing in rank and authority with their seniority and with little knowledgeable civilian or political supervision, they have almost taken over.
I don't think they are bad people. To the contrary, many of them are the best of the best in our nation, I suspect. But their bureaucracy is so entrenched and because of their strategically vital knowledge and experience and maybe because or their very great intelligence (in the sense of personal IQ and education) in many cases they can outsmart everybody else.
These are the people who know the history at least better than others in the government. They speak the languages. They know the international figures.
We need these people -- but we need them to answer to us, and it very hard to get them to do that. Because they argue that they need secrecy. They probably do. But they seem to be using that secrecy to shield themselves from scrutiny.
They seem fearful of the personal repercussions if their mistakes and misjudgments were to come to light.
And indeed we do not know what it would mean for the security of the United States if all of their missteps were made public.
What to do? This is a question for Congress. This is a question for people who know more than I do about the details of the mistakes and achievements of our national security apparatus. And I have a sense that most members of Congress lack the information to make judgments or to supervise our national security. And that those who do have the experience with it are so bound by secrecy that their independent oversight is compromised. It is unfair to single her out and I apologize for that, but Dianne Feinstein who runs as a Democrat is certainly an example of someone who does not seem to be able to understand what the excessive secrecy is going to mean for our country as we face difficult decisions in the coming years.
I do know one thing, if our national security apparatus is allowed to continue to act in our name, never admitting to and to the contrary even lying about the messes it creates, always hiding its excesses, its bad decisions, the hatred they engender, our country will be even more severely damaged than we could ever be by Al Qaeda. As I write this, I want to make clear that I understand that our national security apparatus will never, can never be perfect in all things. They will make mistakes because they are human. But it is my sense they have become a wild card, a cancer on our democracy that self-perpetuates and wants to live on forever in spite of the structural failings of their organization which promotes based on who knows what criteria, maybe just who the biggest bully or the biggest liar is. They seem to be a cell in our society that wants to keep growing just sucking the life from their host body. Am I wrong about this?
I note how humble and calm Mr. Kriakou seems. He has the demeanor of a man who is confident that he made a right choice. I wish him well. His resignation and prison sentence are great losses to our country. From this interview I have a sense that he is precisely the kind of person of good character that we need in our national security seems to me. (I don't know any of these people personally, but that is my impression of him.)
This is just my opinion based on my intuition about people and my limited memory and knowledge of history. I could well be wrong, but this is the impression I have.
On edit, I have to add that everything I have said about the American national security apparatus could be said about the same functionaries in a lot of countries -- especially Russia. I have to mention that because this interview was on RT. I seriously doubt that a person equivalent in rank and position to Mr. Kriakou would get to give an interview if he stated opinions contrary to those of his national security department's ideas. Who knows what would happen to him?
So, we are better off in this respect than many other countries in the world.
A certain amount of secrecy is needed for diplomacy. But we have gone to an extreme -- to the point that the dirt under our national rug is beginning to suffocate us as it and a number of other bad policies brought Communism to an end.