Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Security Nominee Gave Advice to the C.I.A. on Torture Laws

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU
rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:11 AM
Original message
Security Nominee Gave Advice to the C.I.A. on Torture Laws

January 29, 2005

Security Nominee Gave Advice to the C.I.A. on Torture Laws


This article is by David Johnston, Neil A. Lewis and Douglas Jehl.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 - Michael Chertoff, who has been picked by President Bush to be the homeland security secretary, advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the legality of coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, current and former administration officials said this week.

Depending on the circumstances, he told the intelligence agency, some coercive methods could be legal, but he advised against others, the officials said.

Mr. Chertoff's previously undisclosed involvement in evaluating how far interrogators could go took place in 2002-3 when he headed the Justice Department's criminal division. The advice came in the form of responses to agency inquiries asking whether C.I.A. employees risked being charged with crimes if particular interrogation techniques were used on specific detainees.

Asked about the interaction between the C.I.A. and Mr. Chertoff, now a federal appeals court judge in Newark, Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, said, "Judge Chertoff did not approve interrogation techniques as head of the criminal division."......
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. old news...this was reported on several weeks ago
on the "internets". it seems the nyt reporters just read something that the well known net sites report then decide to write something about it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Moderator DU Moderator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. kick
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
3. Homeland nominee vetted CIA methods advised agency on legality of coercion
Homeland nominee vetted CIA methods
He advised agency on the legality of coercion techniques
David Johnston, Neil A. Lewis , Douglas Jehl, New York Times

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Chertoff's previously undisclosed involvement in evaluating how far interrogators could go took place from 2002 to 2003, when he headed the Justice Department's criminal division. The advice came in the form of responses to agency inquiries asking whether CIA employees risked being charged with crimes if particular interrogation techniques were used on specific detainees.

Asked about the interaction between the CIA and Chertoff, now a federal appeals court judge, Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, said, "We're not aware that anyone in the criminal division was involved in approving techniques because that responsibility would have belonged in the Office of Legal Counsel," another Justice Department unit.


One technique CIA officers were told they could use under certain circumstances without fear of prosecution was "waterboarding," in which a subject is made to experience a feeling of drowning. Other practices that would not present any legal problems, the CIA was told, were those that did not involve the infliction of any pain, like tricking a subject into believing he was being interrogated by a member of a hostile security service.


But Chertoff left the door open to the use of a different set of far harsher techniques proposed by the CIA, saying they might be used depending on a number of conditions, like the physical condition of the detainee and medical advice as to how the person would react to some practices, the officials said.

In responding, Chertoff's division said that whether the techniques were impermissible depended on the standards outlined in an August 2002 memorandum from the Office of Legal Counsel which has been since disclosed and which defined torture narrowly. That memorandum, signed by Jay S. Bybee, then the head of the legal counsel's office, said that inflicted pain, for example, qualified as torture only if it was of a level equivalent to organ failure or imminent death.
Chertoff is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Senate's Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Senators have said that Chertoff, a highly respected former prosecutor, will have little difficulty being confirmed.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
4. Michael Chertoff and the sabotage of the Ptech investigation
Minstrel Boy

Remember Ptech? That's the Boston software firm financed by Saudi businessman Yassin Al-Qadi, who also happens to be an al Qaeda bagman, whose clients happened to include numerous sensitive US federal branches and agencies, including the FAA, the FBI, the military and the White House.

A little background, from the mainstream, even, thanks to WBZ-TV:

Joe Bergantino, a reporter for WBZ-TV's investigative team, was torn. He could risk breaking a story based on months of work investigating a software firm linked to terrorism, or heed the government's demand to hold the story for national security reasons. In mid-June, Bergantino received a tip from a woman in New York who suspected that Ptech, a computer software company in Quincy, Mass., had ties to terrorists. Ptech specialized in developing software that manages information contained in computer networks.

Bergantino's investigation revealed that Ptech's clients included many federal governmental agencies, including the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Naval Air Command, Congress, the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, NATO, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and even the White House.

"Ptech was doing business with every federal government in defense and had access to key government data," Bergantino said.


Bergantino was ready to air the story by September, but the government had different plans. Federal authorities told Bergantino not to air the story because it would jeopardize their investigation and would threaten national security. According to federal authorities, documents would be shredded and people would flee if we ran the story, Bergantino said. But Bergantino claims the government's demand to hold off on the story was merely a pretext.

In October 2001, President George W. Bush signed an executive order freezing the assets of individuals linked to terrorism. According to Bergantino, the list identified Saudi Arabian businessman Yassin Al-Qadi as a key financial backer of Osama Bin Laden. As it turns out, Bergantino said, Al-Qadi also is the chief financier of Ptech. The government failed to investigate Ptech in October 2001 and didn't start it's investigation until August 2002 when WBZ-TV's investigation called attention to Ptech.

Bergatino's tipster was Indira Singh, who has said she recognizes the separate command and control communications system Mike Ruppert describes Dick Cheney to have been running on September 11th as having "the exact same functionality I was looking to utilize for Ptech."

Now, how does Chertoff figure in the Ptech story? It goes back to the turf war of two years ago over Operation Greenquest, "the high-profile federal task force set up to target the financiers of Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups." The aggressive, Customs-led task force was folded into Homeland Security, sending both the FBI and its minders at the Department of Justice into a tizzy. They "demanded that the White House instead give the FBI total control over Greenquest."

Now, consider this, also from Newsweek:

The FBI-Justice move, pushed by DOJ Criminal Division chief Michael Chertoff and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, has enraged Homeland Security officials, however. They accuse the bureau of sabotaging Greenquest investigations by failing to turn over critical information to their agentsand trying to obscure a decade-long record of lethargy in which FBI offices failed to aggressively pursue terror-finance cases.


One prime example of the tension is the investigation into Ptech, the Boston-area computer software firm that had millions of dollars in sensitive government contracts with the Air Force, the Energy Department and, ironically enough, the FBI. In what turned into a minor embarrassment for the bureau, the firms main investors included Yasin Al-Qadi, a wealthy Saudi businessman whom the Bush administration had formally designated a terrorist financier under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Al-Qadi has vigorously denied any connection to terrorism.

The Ptech case turned into an ugly dispute last year when company whistleblowers told Greenquest agents about their own suspicions about the firms owners. Sources close to the case say those same whistleblowers had first approached FBI agents, but the bureau apparently did little or nothing in response. With backing from the National Security Council, Greenquest agents then mounted a full-scale investigation that culminated in a raid on the companys office last December. After getting wind of the Greenquest probe, the FBI stepped in and unsuccessfully tried to take control of the case.

The result, sources say, has been something of a train wreck. Privately, FBI officials say Greenquest agents botched the probe and jeopardized other more promising inquiries into Al-Qadi. Greenquest agents dismiss the charges and say the problem is that the bureau was slow to respond to legitimate allegations that an outside contractor with terrorist ties may have infiltrated government computers.

(And still, there are no charges or indictments against Al-Qadi or Ptech.)

The turf war was won on May 13, 2003, when John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge signed a "Memorandum of Agreement between the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, giving the FBI "unprecedented unilateral control of all terrorist-financing investigations and operations."

Several seasoned government agents fear for the nations security should the FBI be tackling most terrorism cases, as their ineptitude in preventing terrorism has been established time and time again. Yet, the memorandum between Ashcroft and Ridge places the FBI in an incredibly powerful position over Homeland Security. According to the memorandum, "all appropriate DHS leads relating to money laundering and financial crimes will be checked with the FBI."

Well, no reason to fear now, now that Michael Chertoff is heading up Homeland Security. Right?

Post-9/11 arrests dog Chertoff

Posted on Sun, Jan. 23, 2005

The Homeland Security nominee is criticized by some who were his allies in fighting racial profiling.

By Wendy Ruderman

Inquirer Staff Writer

The man President Bush wants as homeland security chief is now in the crosshairs of civil-rights advocates who say he eroded freedoms in pursuit of terrorists.

But, before 9/11, Michael Chertoff was a powerful ally in the battle against racial profiling in the pursuit of drug traffickers.
"I think in evaluating Mike's record, you need to look not only at his handling of the war on terrorism in 9/11, but also at the role he played in dealing with racial profiling in New Jersey - very different roles at very different times," said former Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Mintz, who worked under Chertoff in the early 1990s.


On the day hijacked planes smashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Chertoff was in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division.

After 9/11, Chertoff's tactics in ferreting out terrorists drew criticism from the very people who had applauded his crusade to expose racial profiling on New Jersey's highways. Some of that criticism came after Chertoff directed the arrests of 762 illegal immigrants, most of whom later turned out to have no ties to terrorism.


In June 2003, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine released a report criticizing federal authorities, saying they had made little effort to distinguish real terrorist suspects from harmless foreigners inadvertently swept up in the dragnet. Though many were jailed for months, only one of the 762 detainees - Zacarias Moussaoui - was charged with a terrorism crime, the report found.

Civil-rights advocates argue that the war on terror has become a kind of war on immigrants, not unlike the way the war on drugs morphed into a war on black and Latino motorists. The legality of those 762 arrests is besides the point, said David Harris, a critic of racial profiling and a criminal law professor at University of Toledo in Ohio.

more ...

According to a June 20, 2000 article in the The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, Chertoff defended accused terrorist financier Dr. Magdy Elamir. Elamirs HMO was sued by the State of New Jersey to recoup $16.7 million in losses. At least $5.7 million went to unknown parties... by means of wire transfers to bank accounts where the beneficial owner of the account is unknown, according to the article.

Foreign intelligence reports given to then chairman of the House International Relations Committee Ben Gilman,
R-New York, in 1998 accused Magdy Elamir of having had financial ties with Osama bin Laden for years, according to an Aug. 2, 2002 Dateline NBC broadcast.

In 1999, Magdy Elamir and brother Mohamed were named suspects in Operation Diamondback, an FBI/ATF undercover infiltration of Pakistani arms merchants who sought to arm Osama bin Laden with conventional and nuclear weapons, according to independent researcher and former New Jersey police officer All Dateline confirmed that Elamir and his corporations had paid at least $5,000 to Egyptian arms dealer Diaa Mohsen, who Elamir referred to on camera as a family friend. Moshen was sentenced to 30 months for his involvement in Operation Diamondback. However, Elamir was never convicted. By the time Operation Diamondback culminated in arrests in the summer of 2001, Michael Chertoff was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the criminal division and Operation Diamondback would have fallen under his prevue since it was a criminal case and not a counterterrorism case, Duncan said.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
5. Chertoff headed the anthrax investigation
The legislation allows intelligence officials to share information with prosecutors for the first time. The immediate effect will be that a bundle of intelligence files from the CIA and other agencies on terrorism suspects will be shipped to a Justice Department terrorism task force headed by Attorney General Michael Chertoff.

Files on prior attacks and radical groups gathered before the Sept. 11 attacks are of particular interest for what they may reveal about possible new attacks, Justice Department officials said.

While new intelligence information will be available, investigators are still waiting for tests that will show whether the anthrax sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., was treated with chemical additives.

That would indicate the anthrax probably was produced in a sophisticated state-sponsored lab. Officials have cited early indications that the anthrax attacks might be the work of a domestic terrorist.

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said the anthrax sent to Daschle was altered to make it more easily inhaled.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. this issue fell down the pre-election memory hole, didn't it
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Oct 18th 2017, 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC