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January 27, 2010

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clearly, we need to harshly interrogate Mr Kiriakou to find out exactly what he knows and doesn't know.

It has become clear to me that the deal between the CIA and the DOJ (via John Yoo and the OLC) after 9/11 was that that CIA would lie to the DOJ about the facts, in exchange, the DOJ would lie to the CIA about the law, in pursuit of the mutual goal of torturing al Qaeda operatives, just in case that might produce some actual intelligence, no matter how slim the chances might be.

This led to a neverending spiral where CIA says "we want to do X." DOJ says "the law says you can do X." CIA comes back later and says, "well, not only did we do X, we did X + 100, but it works! Is that OK?" DOJ says "OK, X + 100 is legal, in part because we assume you are speaking truth that it works!" And on and on.

Nevermind that X + 100 doesn't work, and that X is illegal and a war crime. And the fncking jackass CIA lawyers knew they were being lied to about the law but got the get out of jail free card from DOJ that they wanted and then went on their merry way. And the DOJ lawyers just assumed the facts were true (even though later they were told by CIA they were not), and went on their merry way.

John fncking Yoo taught me Youngstown within 30 months of when many of those fncking memos were written, and yet somehow he failed to mention it. And he's currently writing Op-Eds in the WSJ and being interviewed by NPR, as recently as the past 10 days in the latter case.

But we can't look backwards, nope. And fnck Congress too, cowards.

Well said Ugh.

For the record, CIA should have never been let within ten miles of an interrogation room. Should have left it to the experts in the FBI, and those military personnel with training. Morans.

I think all of what Mr. Kiriakou has said, including this latest batch, should be filed under "Of Indeterminate Veracity"; exceptions being those parts which are independently verifiable/refutable.

I feel like it was already clear long ago that Kiriakou wasn't there at the time, but I'm not sure where I get that from.

It was definitely alleged - and persuasively - but this is the first time he's admitted just how removed he was from the entire process. Oh, and that he was wrong and basically just made sh*t up.

Interesting that lately what we find is a lot of people saying they know stuff (Horton quoting Hickman saying that he saw something and heard it was a bad thing but he really didn't know anything himself) or admitting they don't as much as they said they did (as in here). Then the answer from the DOJ is that they investigated all this stuff and couldn't find a case to prosecute.

I am not sure why I seem to be the only one who is not surprised that the CIA successfully limited actual knowledge and documentation to a small enough group of people that it would be impossible to convict them in a US court.

Aside from this exercise, isn't that what we pay them to be good at?

isn't that what we pay them to be good at?

Actually, I think we pay them to collect information and analyze it in useful ways.

Regarding Kiriakou, my sincere wish is that nobody buys his freaking book.

"Actually, I think we pay them to collect information and analyze it in useful ways."

I don't think so, that is so NSA, we really hire them to protect our secrets and find out other peoples secrets, secretly.

This also reminds me of a former high ranking CIA official whining in my presence during John Rizzo's confirmation hearings that Congress was going to try to "pin" the torture stuff on Rizzo, even though DOJ said it was all okay and what was the CIA supposed to do?

Marty, the point of the Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret.

Merely knowing secrets doesn't prevent terrorist attacks or defend our way of life or change the price of eggs. Finding out other people's secrets and then keeping them entirely to yourself is a pointless exercise.

So take your thinking a step further. CIA learns something that al Qaida is trying to keep secret. Then what?

--TP

I don't think so, that is so NSA, we really hire them to protect our secrets and find out other peoples secrets, secretly.

Actually, I'm not sure that's quite right.

NSA is crypto and signals, both protecting our stuff and getting inside of other folks'.

CIA was originally intel and analysis.

The monkeywrenching cowboy stuff was added shortly thereafter. It's been once clusterf**k after another ever since.

Yeah, there was a lot of political manipulation, fixing of elections, toppling of regimes, etc. even early on in the Agency's existence.

Those were the good old days, huh? We had real enemies competing with us for world domination, none of this made up amateur Cheney crap. We could justify supporting almost any kind of propped up dictator as long as he said communism was bad. They bought our old weapons so we didn't have to retire them, they just kind of disappeared. And the CIA got to really add value in human intel and activist intervention because those other guys were doing it if we didn't.

Really there is a whole industry that has been significantly downsized. Now we just need the most covert of activities, ones we really don't want anyone at all to know about and what is the fun of that?

"It has become clear to me that the deal between the CIA and the DOJ (via John Yoo and the OLC) after 9/11 was that that CIA would lie to the DOJ about the facts, in exchange, the DOJ would lie to the CIA about the law, in pursuit of the mutual goal of torturing al Qaeda operatives, just in case that might produce some actual intelligence, no matter how slim the chances might be."

To echo Eric, Ugh, well said.

Seems to me like a whole lot of laws and quaint notions like due process and the like were overlooked, and broken, in the process.

In trying to obtain justice and whatnot, all of these agencies conspired to obstruct justice.

And Eric can speak better to this than I, but I think the creation of Homeland Security -- one big bureaucratic mess with which I have had some unpleasant experiences regarding my wife and, in particular, my Russian mother-in-law -- simply made things worse.

My head hurts.

Time for that nap.

P.S. I wonder what the classroom discussions and lectures were like under Mr. Yoo.

Must have been enlightening.

And Eric can speak better to this than I, but I think the creation of Homeland Security...simply made things worse.

What I can say is that, from what I've read, and from the people in the intel community that I've spoken to, that seems to be the consensus. But it's not just DHS, it's also the nascent homeland security industrial complex.

In trying to obtain justice and whatnot, all of these agencies conspired to obstruct justice.

And that's what I think happened with the three Gitmo detainees that were murdered committed acts of asymmetrical suicide warfare against the United States of America. The DoD is ordered by Rumsfeld to cooperate with the CIA torturers highly-skilled enhanced interrogators at Camp No and bring by various prisoners for beatings questoning. Military selects the ones it doesn't like because they have been uncooperative. It goes too far,* one of them dies while under CIA control, they kill the other two to eliminate witnesses, and return them to the regular camp. The commanders at the camp find out that night, totally freakout, call up the higher ups at DoD and scream at them for forcing the Gitmo commanders to cooperate with CIA and now look what has happened, and thus get all manner of cooperation, from DoD/CIA/White House to help cover it up as "suicides". Everyone looks bad so there is no interagency to rat the other one out, so everyone goes along and the farcical NCIS report is eventually issued.

When DOJ comes calling** three years later after the guards in the Horton story went to DOJ with their info, they're told to "STFU and mind your own business as this has been thoroughly investigated already by NCIS, which determined them to be suicides and oh by the way do you really want the entire DoD and intelligence community to rat fnck the Obama administration as much as possible only six months in over three Arabs who have been dead for three years, all the while Obama's trying to accomplish his agenda, which requires immense cooperation from said DoD and community? And have you seen the polling numbers on how much Americans love torture these days?"

We are so screwed.

*or perhaps this was intended, as a "warning" to the other inmates to be more cooperative.

**assuming they even bothered to go so far as to ask anything of DoD/CIA, which may be a big assumption.

or perhaps this was intended, as a "warning" to the other inmates to be more cooperative

Doubt it.

P.S. I wonder what the classroom discussions and lectures were like under Mr. Yoo.

I took two courses from John Yoo (both prior to his infamous stint at OLC). One was Con Law I, which is structure of gov't, powers of congress/executive/judiciary, separation of powers, etc. (no bill of rights stuff). He taught directly out or Erwin Chemerinsky's horn book, and thus no mention of Yoo's POTUS-as-King theory of executive power (had he done the latter, it might have gotten back to the other professors and he would have been laughed at, which I assume is what is going on now; actually my guess is that he's mostly shunned - note also that Berkeley is trying to keep the time and location of his classes out of the public domain to avoid any, er, disruptions). So, I and my fellow students likely got a very good education (and he certainly knew the material).

The other was a civil procedure class that was generally unnotable.

Doubt it.

That's probably right, at least with respect to the deaths, but it wouldn't surprise me that the treatment that lead to their deaths was intended to send some sort of a message.

That I could believe. But, you know the old adage, what can be explained away as incompetence and all that...

I wonder if President Obama will mention torture -- or Gitmo -- in tonight's speech.

Nah.

Yesterday's news.

Interested to see how he will work in the customary "and I am here to tell you the state of our Union is strong."

It will take some clever and good speechwriting.

At the risk of being forward, I wonder if Eric or Slarti could put up a State of the Union Open Thread, it being a significant speech and moment in time and all.

Would be shocked if Prez Obama does not follow my advice/criticism of late and, for a change, remember to stick with that old Clinton mantra: "It's the economy, stupid."

Yet Health Care Reform must be a centerpiece of the speech, too.

They got Plouffe back just in time.

Interested to see how he will work in the customary "and I am here to tell you the state of our Union is strong."

I'm doing shots every time he says "make no mistake". I plan on not coming in to work, tomorrow.

You got it.

I think all of what Mr. Kiriakou has said, including this latest batch, should be filed under "Of Indeterminate Veracity"; exceptions being those parts which are independently verifiable/refutable.

Statement 1 was "I know A for a fact."

Statement 2 was "I don't know A for a fact and never did."

Whether you believe 2 or not makes no difference: neither case results in any support for A.

I kind of agree with Mike on that.

"I'm doing shots every time he says 'make no mistake'. I plan on not coming in to work, tomorrow."

LOL.

I'll see your shot game and raise you a shot every time, in the pre- and post-game, Chris Matthews spittles on someone.

Gentlemen, have mercy on your respective livers.

Whether you believe 2 or not makes no difference: neither case results in any support for A.

That'd be crippling, were I trying to support A in any way, shape or form.

That'd be crippling, were I trying to support A in any way, shape or form.

It leaves me wondering what the point of the statement I quoted above is, and, if it has none, why you bothered to make it.

For reasons best known to themselves, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee (John Kerry, Chair) hired the lying scumbag spook Kiriakou as a staffer last year.

It leaves me wondering what the point of the statement I quoted above is, and, if it has none, why you bothered to make it.

Because I don't believe a word the guy says. That's not very hard to understand, is it?

It's probably considerably more difficult to parse if you imagine me saying that is an attempt to assert that the guy lied the second time (but not the first), and that torture really did work, but that's not what I was saying. I didn't say anything that could be reasonably parsed as that.

If you're still having trouble with it, probably you should just let it go, because this is already a lot more explication than ought to have been needed, or wanted.

Slarti: Because I don't believe a word the guy says. That's not very hard to understand, is it?

No, it's not.

But good lord, I do believe this is the first time I've ever seen you respond to people who didn't understand what you were trying to say the first time by - only 17 hours later - just restating more clearly what you originally meant to say, rather than ramping up the obscurity, annoyance, and obfustication of your replies!

Well done.

just restating more clearly what you originally meant to say

For future reference, what did I say, exactly, that clarified things for you?

Not being snarky; I really don't know.

I wonder what the classroom discussions and lectures were like under Mr. Yoo.

"...but this interpretation, although widespread immediately after the law was passed, has not recently been held to apply with regard to the powers of individual states. Question for the class - Mr Simpson, why do you think that this interpretation is not generally applied?"
"Uh, well, professor, I don't know."
"Really, Mr Simpson? Let's see if we can jog your memory."
"No! No, wait -- AAAAAAGGGGHHHHH! No! Stop! Oh, God, no! Don't do -- AAAAAAARGHH! AAAAHHH! It doesn't apply because of State of Ohio v. Kenyon!"
"There you are, Mr Simpson. You knew it all the time."

at 12:12 PM on 27 Jan you said: "I think all of what Mr. Kiriakou has said, including this latest batch, should be filed under "Of Indeterminate Veracity"; exceptions being those parts which are independently verifiable/refutable."

at 07:51 AM on 28 Jan you said: "I don't believe a word the guy says."

It's practically textbook.

So, my initial version said too much, rather than too little?

I think the second statement is actually less accurate, because of course if he said something that turned out to be correct, that would tend to make the second statement false in some way.

Which is why I said what I did to begin with.

Slartibartfast:

I agree with Jesurgislac that your second statement was clearer than the first.

I think I understand your statement about accuracy (@10:17) because I have done the same — viz. I have written literally-correct statements, even when that buries the meaning.

I did that for several reasons. One was dealing with pedants who treated English statements as if they were predicate calculus. Another was my own desire for precision.

I now prefer shorter, simpler statements. Provided that a reader applies common sense, they are easier to understand.

By common sense, I mean the proper application of heuristic or inductive reasoning versus deductive reasoning. Outside of mathematical domains, deductive reasoning works poorly. Inductive reasoning — making inferences based on evidence — works better.

If a person wants to interpret your statement: "I don't believe a word the guy says." as:

∀ x : x ∈ Statements : StatedByKeriakou( x ) → ¬ SlartibartfastBelieves( x )

then their understanding of English and people is fundamentally broken — in ordinary contexts, always does not mean ∀ and never does not mean ¬∃.

Fair enough, elm. Thanks for the feedback. It appears I may have erred on the side of excess caution in phrasing.

Perhaps something like "I don't take anything he says at face value" would have been both concise and would cover possibilities where it turned out that he said something verifiably true.

"I don't take anything he says at face value"

Fair enough. Though when he insists that he doesn't know what he's taking about, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.


Ack

Slartibartfast: I think your 11:34 rephrasing is both concise and clear, logic puzzles aside.

xkcd is one of my favorites. I thought it took the prize for self-referentialism with this, but this was also a pretty good effort.

test

(in case I need it anytime soon)

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