[DEBATE] : The US torturers have powerful people defending their enhanced interrogation techniques...
Riaz K Tayob
riaz.tayob at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 15:25:15 BST 2009
Panetta providing cover for advisers complicit in CIA torture: investigator
Published: Thursday April 9, 2009
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In light of the revelations in the Red Cross torture report, one private
investigator is speculating that the CIA director's continuing argument
that the Justice Department shouldn't release three Bush-era torture
memos is seeming more and more like an attempt to provide cover to CIA
advisers who were likely complicit in the formulation of agency torture
Writing in the Daily Beast Wednesday, John Sifton, a private
investigator and attorney, says Leon Panetta is giving cover to two of
his subordinates by pleading with the Obama administration to not
release three torture memos by a former Office of Legal Counsel attorney
that the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to gain access to.
"Take Stephen Kappes," writes Sifton. "At the time of the worst torture
sessions outlined in the ICRC report, Kappes served as a senior official
in the Directorate of Operations—the operational part of the CIA that
oversees paramilitary operations as well as the high-value detention
program. (The directorate of operations is now known as the National
Clandestine Service.) Panetta has kept Kappes as deputy director of the
CIA—the number two official in the agency."
Michael Sulick, a deputy of Kappes from 2002-2004, is now the director
of the agency's National Clandestine Service, another very senior
position at the CIA.
"Since the basic facts about their involvement in the CIA interrogation
program are now known, Panetta's actions are increasingly looking like a
cover-up," asserts Sifton.
Earlier this week, The New York Review of Books published the full
contents of a confidential International Committee of the Red Cross's
40-page report on torture practices at Guantanamo Bay and at black site
prisons abroad. The report's leaking has made waves with its gruesome
descriptions of interrogation practices such as suffocation by water,
beatings by collar, assaults by dog and forced isolation.
While the ICRC did not give the names of any of the CIA officials
involved in the harsh interrogation practices, as Sifton notes, the ICRC
was told by former CIA Director Michael Hayden, that interrogation plans
for detainees were submitted to CIA headquarters were approved by the
"Director or Deputy Director of the CIA." It can be inferred then, that
knowledge (and acceptance) of the interrogation practices was held at
the highest levels of the CIA and would likely include Panetta's deputies.
Panetta himself is new to the intelligence field and was not involved in
the creation of the criticized interrogation practices. Prior to
President Obama's appointment of him as CIA director, Panetta held
positions as President Clinton's Chief of Staff and as a member of the
House of Representatives.
The Department of Justice has until April 16 to decide to disclose the
three OLC torture memos, authored by Steven Bradbury in 2005. The ACLU
agreed to the extension in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit
against the government after the DOJ promised to also consider releasing
an additional torture memo. This memo, written by OLC attorney Jay Bybee
in August 2002, is believed to provide the first framework for the CIA's
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