A group of distinguished intelligence and military officers, diplomats, and law enforcement professionals delivered an urgent message this morning to the chairman and the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling on them to hold the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey until he takes a clear position on the legality of waterboarding.

Their message strongly endorses the view of former judge advocates general that waterboarding “is inhumane, is torture, is illegal.” The intelligence veterans added it is also a notoriously unreliable way to acquire accurate information.

They noted that the factors cited by the president and Mukasey as obstacles to his giving an opinion on waterboarding can be easily solved by briefing Mukasey on waterboarding and on C.I.A. interrogation methods.

The intelligence veterans noted that during their careers they frequently had to walk a thin line between morality and expediency, all the while doing their best to abide by the values the majority of Americans have held in common over the years. They appealed to Senators Pat Leahy and Arlen Specter to rise to the occasion and discharge their responsibility to defend those same values.


MEMORANDUM FOR: Chairman and Ranking Member Senate Committee on the Judiciary

FROM: Former U.S. Intelligence Officers

SUBJECT: Nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General

Dear Senators Leahy and Specter,

Values that are extremely important to us as former intelligence officers are at stake in your committee’s confirmation deliberations on Judge Michael Mukasey. With hundreds of years of service in sensitive national security activities behind us, we are deeply concerned that your committee may move his nomination to the full Senate without insisting that Mukasey declare himself on whether he believes the practice of waterboarding is legal.

We feel this more acutely than most others, for in our careers we have frequently had to navigate the delicate balance between morality and expediency, all the while doing our best to abide by the values the vast majority of Americans hold in common. We therefore believe we have a particular moral obligation to speak out. We can say it no better than four retired judge advocates general (two admirals and two generals) who wrote you over the weekend, saying: “Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.”

Judge Mukasey’s refusal to comment on waterboarding, on grounds that it
would be “irresponsible” to provide “an uninformed legal opinion based on
hypothetical facts and circumstances,” raises serious questions. There is
nothing hypothetical or secret about the fact that waterboarding was used by U.S. intelligence officers as an interrogation technique before the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004. But after Alberto Gonzales became attorney general in
February 2005, Justice reportedly issued a secret memo authorizing harsh
physical and psychological tactics, including waterboarding, which were
approved for use in combination. A presidential executive order of July 20,
2007 authorized “enhanced interrogation techniques” that had been banned for use by the U.S. Army. Although the White House announced that the order provides “clear rules” to govern treatment of detainees, the rules are classified, so defense attorneys, judges, juries — and even nominee Mukasey — can be prevented from viewing them.

Those are some of the “facts and circumstances.” They are not hypothetical; and there are simple ways for Judge Mukasey to become informed, which we propose below.

Last Thursday, President George W. Bush told reporters it was unfair to ask Mukasey about interrogation techniques about which he had not been briefed.

“He doesn’t know whether we use that technique [waterboarding] or not,” the president said. Judge Mukasey wrote much the same in his October 30 letter, explaining that he was unable to give an opinion on the legality of
waterboarding because he doesn’t know whether it is being used: “I have not been made aware of the details of any interrogation program to the extent that any such program may be classified and thus do not know what techniques may be involved in any such program.” Whether or not the practice is currently in use by U.S. intelligence, it should in fact be easy for him to respond. All he need do is find out what waterboarding is and then decide whether he considers it legal.

The conundrum created to justify the nominee’s silence on this key issue is a synthetic one. It is within your power to resolve it readily. If Mukasey
continues to drag his feet, you need only to facilitate a classified briefing for him on waterboarding and the C.I.A. interrogation program. He will then be able to render an informed legal opinion. We strongly suggest that you sit in on any such briefing and that you invite the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to take part as well. Receiving the same briefing at the same time (and, ideally, having it taped) should enhance the likelihood of candor and make it possible for all to be—and to stay—on the same page on this delicate issue.

If the White House refuses to allow such a briefing, your committee must, in our opinion, put a hold on Mukasey’s nomination. We are aware that the
president warned last week that it will be either Mukasey as our attorney
general or no one. So be it. It is time to stand up for what is right and require from the Executive the information necessary for the Senate to function responsibly and effectively. It would seem essential not to approve a nominee who has already made clear he is reluctant to ask questions of the White House. How can a person with that attitude even be proposed to be our chief law enforcement officer?

We strongly urge that you not send Mukasey’s nomination to the full Senate before he makes clear his view on waterboarding. Otherwise, there is considerable risk of continued use of the officially sanctioned torture techniques that have corrupted our intelligence services, knocked our military off the high moral ground, severely damaged our country’s standing in the world, and exposed U.S. military and intelligence people to similar treatment when captured or kidnapped. One would think that Judge Mukasey would want to be briefed on these secret interrogation techniques and to clarify where he stands.

The most likely explanation for Mukasey’s reticence is his concern that, should his conscience require him to condemn waterboarding, this could cause extreme embarrassment and even legal jeopardy for senior officials this time not just for the so-called “bad apples” at the bottom of the barrel. We believe it very important that the Senate not acquiesce in his silence—and certainly not if, as seems the case, he is more concerned about protecting senior officials than he is in enforcing the law and the Constitution.

It is important to get beyond shadowboxing on this key issue. In our view,
condoning Mukasey’s evasiveness would mean ignoring fundamental American values and the Senate’s constitutional prerogative of advice and consent.

At stake in your committee and this nomination are questions of legality,
morality, and our country’s values. And these are our primary concerns as well. As professional intelligence officers, however, we must point to a supreme irony—namely, that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation practices are ineffective tools for eliciting reliable information. Our own experience dovetails well with that of U.S. Army intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. John Kimmons, who told a Pentagon press conference on September 6, 2006: “No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that.”

Speaking out so precisely and unequivocally took uncommon courage, because Kimmons knew that just across the Potomac President Bush would be taking quite a different line at a press conference scheduled to begin as soon as Kimmons finished his. At the White House press conference focusing on interrogation techniques, the president touted the success that the C.I.A. was having in extracting information from detainees by using an “alternative set of procedures.” He said these procedures had to be “tough,” in order to deal with particularly recalcitrant detainees who “had received training on how to resist interrogation” and had “stopped talking.”

The Undersigned
(Official duties refer to former government work.)

Brent Cavan
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA

Ray Close
Directorate of Operations, CIA for 26 years—22 of them overseas; former Chief of Station, Saudi Arabia

Ed Costello
Counter-espionage, FBI

Michael Dennehy
Supervisory Special Agent for 32 years, FBI; U.S. Marine Corps for three years

Rosemary Dew
Supervisory Special Agent, Counterterrorism, FBI

Philip Giraldi
Operations officer and counter-terrorist specialist, Directorate of Operations, CIA

Michael Grimaldi
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Federal law enforcement officer

Mel Goodman
Division Chief, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Professor, National Defense University; Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy

Larry Johnson
Intelligence analysis and operations officer, CIA; Deputy Director, Office of Counter Terrorism, Department of State

Richard Kovar
Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA: Editor, Studies In Intelligence

Charlotte Lang
Supervisory Special Agent, FBI

W. Patrick Lang
U.S. Army Colonel, Special Forces, Vietnam; Professor, U.S. Military Academy, West Point; Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); founding director, Defense HUMINT Service

Lynne Larkin
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations, CIA; counterintelligence; coordination among intelligence and crime prevention agencies; CIA policy coordination staff ensuring adherence to law in operations

Steve Lee
Intelligence Analyst for terrorism, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA

Jon S. Lipsky
Supervisory Special Agent, FBI

David MacMichael
Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA; History professor; Veteran, U.S. Marines (Korea)

Tom Maertens
Foreign Service Officer and Intelligence Analyst, Department of State; Deputy Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, Department of State; National Security Council (NSC) Director for Non-Proliferation

James Marcinkowski
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations, CIA by way of U.S. Navy

Mary McCarthy
National Intelligence Officer for Warning; Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council

Ray McGovern
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; morning briefer, The President’s Daily Brief; chair of National Intelligence Estimates; Co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Sam Provance
U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst, Germany and Iraq (Abu Ghraib); Whistleblower

Coleen Rowley
Special Agent and attorney, FBI; Whistleblower on the negligence that facilitated the attacks of 9/11.

Joseph Wilson
Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Ambassador and Director of Africa, National Security Council.

Valerie Plame Wilson
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations

Previous articleThe Iran Crisis: Positive Signs?
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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
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  • Though it ultimately seemed to fall upon deaf ears, thank you all for the attempt and your firm and pricipled stand in regards to the conduct of the American leadership.

  • PrchrLady

    Thank you Kathleen!!! I have been following since you set link… great jog sumarising too… Susan, see what I mean about misssing something cause it gets lost??? there has to be a better way???

    This is totaly amazing. Totally. We must keep fighting. Perhaps there are still some republicans with a soul in congress, who will join those that stand up against these war criminals. of the worse kind. may they rot in hell forever for their crimes.

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  • Kathleen

    Will continue to send out this critical letter to Senators and friends

    • THANK YOU! And we can all e-mail / call our Senators:

      I have faith that my two senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, will do the right thing. I hope. Must check their sites to see, and call their D.C. offices to be sure.

      Kathleen, e-mail me at your convenience : susanunpc at gmail dot com

  • Kathleen

    Senator Cardin “will the nominee be able to stand up to this administration, I have deep doubts”

    “water boarding is torture and illegal today, water boarding is clearly illegal, yet Judge Mukasey has hedged on this issue.” “I want an Attorney General who will be independent of the Bush administration. Micheal Mukasey needs to be the AG for the American people and the Bush administration”

    Mukasey’s answer about water boarding “was deeply troubling”

    Senator Whitehouse that Mukasey “was given instructions by the Bush admininstration that this was a no fly zone” The reason I voted against Mukasey is that this was ” a moment of moral clarity which should be a clear and straight forward answer about water boarding and torture”

    “We are on a slow and sickening slide” under the Bush administration.

    Whitehouse is brilliant. Yowser.

    • SirScud

      Senator Whitehouse is, indeed, a welcomed addition to the Senate.
      Are you sure that your quotation(?) of his remark..
      Senator Whitehouse that Mukasey “was given instructions by the Bush administration that this was a no fly zone” The reason I voted against Mukasey is that this was ” a moment of moral clarity which should be a clear and straight forward answer about water boarding and torture”
      is accurate? It seems to be an exaggeration of his context.

  • Kathleen

    Senator Durbin quoting Arthur Schlesinger Jr. on the torture position of the Bush administration “no position has done more damage to the US’s reputation..ever”

    Senator Durbin said that they asked Judge Mukasey a simple question “is waterboarding torture”

    Judge Mukasey answered in a vague way “that it is hypothetical”

    Durbin “water boarding is not hypothetical”

    Durbin pounding the table “What is the risk of not being clear about water boarding”
    “Judge Mukasey’s position is troubling”

    Durbin “Judge Mukasey is not alone in his dodge”

    Senator Durbin is obviously deeply concerned.

  • Kathleen

    So was this appointment Schumers master plan?

    Schumer “Dept of Justice is adrift, now we aer on the brink of a reversal” “Judge Mukasey is the man for this job”

    Was Schumer part of getting rid of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty? Schumer recommended Mukasey to Bush. I ask again is this Schumer Master Plan for Attorney General

    Will Schumer, and Mukasey apply the “rule of law” to the Aipac espionage case, or is there undermining going on here?

  • Kathleen

    Feingold backing up his “no” vote with example after example of the murky answers of Mukasey in regard to “executive power trumping the law”

    Feingold is a man of the law. I believe he was really hard on Clinton lying under oath about his bj.

    Feingold said that commitment to the law is a “non negotiable quality of the Attorney General of the United States”

    Feingold “the United States needs an Attorney General who stands squarely on the side of the Rule of Law”

    Feingold ripped it up with integrity.

    • Where are you watching this? I turned on C-Span2 and see nothing.

      Say, they will get the veto override on the water bill, right? A first against the damnable Bush.

    • Cee

      Too bad Feingold isn’t in th place of Pelosi or better yet, running for office. Keith mentions him.

      Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Waterboarding and Torture [VIDEO]

  • Kathleen

    the Vote was 11 to 8. If Schumer and Feinstein would have voted against torture the vote would have been tied.

    If Mukasey interferes in the upcoming espionage trial all my fears as to why Schumer recommended him and the reason Schumer and Feinstein voted for him will be confirmed.

    Feingold “Mukasey is an improvement, but we need more. Mukasey falls short”

    Damn Feingold is an honorable person.

    “We need an Attorney General who can look the President in the eyes and say NO”

    • Frigging Schumer! Frigging Feinstein!

      Hurrah for Feingold, Kennedy and the others who voted NO.

  • Kathleen

    I am surprised that the letter from Johnson, Plame, Wilson and others has yet to be mentioned.

    I did not realize that Senator Schumer recommended Mukasey to President Bush. What is up here? What are Schumer and Feinstein up to?

    Who would have been the “acting” Attorney General if Bush refused to send up another nominee? What would have happenned in that case?

    • KATHLEEN! I don’t know you, but I’m already a fan. I love all the comments you made this morning to keep us up to date on the Senate hearing, which — okay, I’m on the West Coast — I slept through. THANK YOU!

      I see via Talking Points Memo that it’s going to the full Senate.

      AND, thank you for your tremendous efforts in spreading the word about this great letter.

      I agree with you entirely about a lot of the lefty blogs. It’s occurred to me that they know that their bread-and-butter is bashing something, whatever it is, in order to stir up their readers. It’s all about getting angry reactions — not about learning, discussing, and spreading positive arguments. Those blogs that practice the angry rhetoric, sadly, do get a lot more hits. But they produce more heat than light.

      This letter, as you has promulgated it so widely, is all about light. It is the wisest words from those who are experts in intelligence, the military, and interrogation.

      It’s tragic they ignored the letter. Shame on them. At least it was at the top of the recommended list at Daily Kos all day. However, it should have been promoted to the front page, imho.

      Perhaps you’ve posted here and I’ve simply missed your posts because I’ve been in the hospital and on the mend. But I greatly, greatly appreciate your energy and your POSITIVE passion.

      My two cents about “heat versus light.” Wait until we get a Democratic president in ’09 (please, god, please). Those same blogs will be ALL over the new president. They won’t give the new pres. a moment’s peace. They won’t give the new pres. the time, the reflection, the necessary organizational procedures to get everything going before they start the attacks and they start their incessant demands.

      We have been in such an angry, upset, reactive mode for the past seven years because of the Bush presidency, far more disastrous than any of us could have ever imagined. We need to get off our high horses, should we luckily elect a Democrat to the White House, and give that new president some breathing room. God knows they’ll need it because they will be faced with the most ENORMOUS challenges imaginable — more than any president has ever had to face, and in every single area of foreign and domestic policy. The list is unimaginably long.

      That president will need us AT their backs. Not picking away from the get-go.

      But the “heat” blogs won’t do that because that’s not how they make money. Frankly, imho, they’ve become a lot more about how much money they can make off making people angry than they are about getting us a better system of government and a slow but sure restoration to international and domestic sanity.

      OFF my own high horse 🙂 AND WELCOME, Kathleen!

  • Kathleen

    The C-span cameras just spanned the Senate crowd, no one really listening to Senator Feinstein.

    Senator Feinstein”he has a really short time” to do his work. Will be telling if Mukasey interferes in the espionage trial.

    Senator Graham “I believe Mukasey is a man of the law” “he is the right guy at the right time”

    • Mukasey will also probably block Rep. Conyers from prosecuting Harriet Miers and what’s-his-name for contempt of Congress.

      Thanks for live-blogging the hearing Kathleen!

  • Kathleen

    Senator Grassly kissing up

    Uh Oh Senator “turncoat, opportunist” Feinstein. “I believe the Dept of Justice was always a “beacon”. This beacon has been dimmed” Hello Senator Feinstein your family’s war profiteering and willingness to continue to sit on MILCON until the spotlight was directed on your “conflict of interest” issues dimmed that “beacon”.

    Your vote on the Kyl Lieberman amendement, your yes vote on Mukasey continue to dim that “beacon”

    Diane a logical question is what is your “yes” for Judge Mukasey really about.

    Feinstein bought Bush’s threat that “he will not send another nominee”. How much is this about the possibility of having Judges appointed who will be soft on issues that Feinstein and Schumer want the Attorney General to go soft on.

    Feinsteins “conflict of interest” should be investigated.

  • Kathleen

    Senator Kohl politely ripping Judge Mukasey up.

    “He seems to be willing to protect this administration, Judge Mukasey mirrors the Bush administrations opinion on waterboarding. The Attorney Generals commitment should be to the constitution and the law. I hope Judge Mukasey is the person we need, but I do not think at this time he is. I will vote against his nomination:

  • Kathleen

    A few comments from FDL.

    Ed*ard Teller @ 65

    Oklahoma kiddo @ 58

    What are the motivating factors involved in the Schumer-DiFi-Mukasey event?

    It might be their intense love of a foreign country, not a very trustworthy ally, which covets its neighbors’ lands and has been waterboarding prisoners since the early 1950s.

    From Kathleen

    And the possibility to directly interfere and dismiss the upcoming espionage trial

  • Kathleen

    Senator Kennedy “Waterboarding is illegal under the Geneva Convention, the Torture Act, the Detainee Treatment Act, and it violates the constitution”

    “Can our standards have sunk so low” “he is not the clear, decisive, straight forward Attorney General that we so critically need at this time”

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  • Kathleen

    Senator Kennedy up at the hearing. “under Gonzales we lost our way”

    “We need an Attorney General who is clear, decisive, straight forward. I had hoped that Judge Mukasey could be that person. I am sorry to say that he is not the right person to lead the Justice Dept at this critical time”

    “Judge Mukasey can not say that water boarding is torture

    Kennedy is ripping Mukasey up.

  • Kathleen

    Calling the roll. Will any Republicans vote no.

  • Kathleen

    The Hearing going on now. Hopefully Senator Leahy brings up this letter

  • Kathleen

    FDL now has a post up about the Mukasey issue. Sent the letter to Firedoglake again,hopefully they will finally post it. It is so appropriate and powerful.

  • Kathleen

    So for the legal heads here. How could the Mukasey appointment effect the upcoming Aipac Espionage trial?

    Could Mukasey dismiss it or undermine that trial?

  • TomaHawk

    The question of whether “water boarding” is torture was settled some 60 years ago. The US prosecuted Japanese military who practiced this tactic on US service personnel during WWII. It was declared torture and a war crime under the standards of the Geneva Conventions on War by our government. There is record that the US has declared Water Boarding as torture. It should no longer be a matter of interpretation.

  • Kathleen

    Blog Wars 2…I got it

  • Kathleen

    Hey Hoosier Hoops what is the name of that movie?

  • Kathleen

    While the Iranian issue is critical which is the focus of Christy Hardin Smith at the website Firedoglake this morning. Can you imagine how much more effective the progressive blogosphere could be if they would take letters like the one above and spread it throughout the blogosphere (and they had every opportunity last evening) so that Senators came into their offices this morning with thousands of e-mails posting this letter from this distinguished and heavy hitting group of intelligence and military officials and diplomats?

    Can the progressive blogosphere accept and digest constructive criticism. Or will their egos and their “backstage crews” egos continue to get in their way?

    Call your Reps this morning, mention this critical letter….

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  • Kathleen

    I want to again thank all of the above mentioned intelligence and military analyst,diplomats and law enforcement professionals who signed this letter.

    Last night I believe I witnessed again why so-called “progressives” lose many of these battles. I took your letter and sent it directly to Firedoglake, Huffington Post and Raw Story last evening. I sent it to them many times last night encouraging them to post it so that participants in those blogs and websites could write their Senators last evening referencing or posting your letter. Imagine if our Senators would have come to their offices this morning with this letter sent to them thousands of times. I sent it directly to Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith. Jane was on line last evening. I know Christy and Jane and the other bloggers at FDL do so much, but sometimes I think egos and personal agendas get in the way of being effective.

    You folks served this letter on a platter to blogs and websites giving permission to use it in full, yet last evening at Firedoglake the bloggers chose to write about “the wingnuttiest right wing blog post of all time, Pakistan (clearly an important issue, but it will still be there in a few days) Scientology, Elliot Spitzer and Lou Dobbs” Huffington Post front page was partially filled with articles about Heather Mills, Barbara Walters and Ron Paul. Hell all of these issues will be there Wednesday, the hearing for Mukasey is today. Firedoglake and other blogs could have co-ordinated an effort last night, or simply have posted your letter on their sites and let people run with it, but they did not. Why is that?

    Now I know Firedoglake hates any kind of criticism they would rather develop a fan club rather than a community where real debate takes place. Read the blog it is generally every one agreeing and stroking Jane and the other bloggers. While I greatly appreciate what they do they are truly unable to take criticism. Who does this sound like? This is where the left can go right (wrong).

    You folks presented this letter on a silver platter and the majority of folks in the progressive blogosphere did not use it. And we wonder why we lose a great deal.

    Thanks again for your important letter. I will continue to spread it around.

    • Kathleen:
      Just an FYI.. There Actually is a movie about Firedoglake.. It was a sundance movie called Blog wars 2.. Pretty cool indy movie..
      Thanks for all your efforts in getting the word out on the above posted letter.

      • Kathleen

        I respect many of the Bloggers at Firedoglake, but I swear their egos sometimes get in the way of them being effective. I sent this letter off to their “backstage crew” last evening at least 8 times (I am a bit obsessive compulsive). As mentioned above I also sent it directly to Christy and Jane (who was on line last evening) Now I know they do a great deal and have many things to focus on. I also know they have a hard time taking constructive criticism (watch what happens on the site if you question some of their bloggers opionions) But this vote is today, and these intelligence and military officials placed this letter at the blogospheres collective feet yesterday. Thank goodness Think Progress posted it. Why these bloggers do not run with such an opportunity I just can not figure it out. Go look at what they covered last night and early this morning.

        I have also challenged the FDL folks on the Israeli Palestinian issue. They stick their toes in once in a while (seldom really). Now they will argue with this, they get very defensive about this, but when you bring this issue up at their website (I have been banned for challenging the head moderator who actually became verbally and personally abusive you can actually follow the conversation at one of the blogs “WE the people”). The “off topic” blog police show up and have hammered me when I post articles about this issue and when I bring it up. Now others can go “off topic” continually about their storm windows, sports, recipes etc and the “off topic” police never ever object to this. The Bloggers use very strong language for Reps and others ( I have never come close to using this type of language). I tell you some of the threads when this topic comes up should be studied by media professionals.

        I really believe there are very serious BLOG CLOGS at many Progressive websites specifically on the I/P issue. I believe these blogs are unconsciously self monitoring themselves on the Israeli Palestinian issue as the MSM has been doing for the last 50 years. I think this would be an interesting phenomena for some expert to follow and study (I am a peasant)

        Anyway back to my original point. I hope everyone contacts their REps with this letter from these incredibly brave intelligence folks who signed this letter and placed it at our feet. They are true patriots and I am humbled by their service and bravery. I wish the progressive blogosphere would have run with this letter yesterday.

    • Cee

      You folks presented this letter on a silver platter and the majority of folks in the progressive blogosphere did not use it.

      Do you think they’re going to oppose their handlers and be subjected to a internet waterboarding?

      • Kathleen

        Good point and frightening to realize that there are so called “progressive” blogs that clearly have handlers. Blogs like Firedoglake are building “fan clubs” not progressive communities built on respectful and challenging debate.

        Leahy stands firm against torture, Spector spinning spinning.

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  • sandii

    schumer and feinstein both vote to support mukasey as they both voted to support the kyl-lieberman resolution to brand iranian rev. guard corps a terrorist organization. wonder if aipac is pulling strings on this issue as well?

    • Brenda Stewart

      I think you are on to something there, I have often thought this as well.

    • Kathleen

      think about how this appointment could effect the upcoming espionage trial that has been delayed I believe 6 times. I had wondered what was up when Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty resigned during the Attorney General scandal.

      I believed Paul McNulty was playing a very serious role in this investigation and prosecution. I wondered whether radicals were trying to take him out of play in this investigation and trial.

      Senator Schumer and Feinstein, Yes on Kyl Lieberman, Yes on Mukasey. These Democrats sure turn right (wrong) when it comes to the middle east.

      • Cee

        On the AIPAC trial

        AIPAC, Espionage, and Legal Sabotage

        Published on Monday, November 05, 2007.

        Now there has been a major development on this front. No one took seriously the defense’s motion, made a few months ago, that they be allowed to subpoena Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Council chief Stephen Hadley, and a whole platoon of government officials and former officials. The motion was made on the grounds that these officials, too, had transmitted classified information to AIPAC, and that this is proof that such behavior was and is routine, part of the normal way of doing business in the world of Washington lobbyists. The defendants’ case has always been that they have a First Amendment right to commit espionage, and that their indictment amounted to a government assault on their right to “free speech.” Gee, too bad the Rosenbergs never thought of this unique rationalization for treason, although I doubt it would’ve gotten them anywhere. The AIPAC defendants, however, may have more luck in this department…

        No judge had ever allowed such a thing, at least in recent memory, and no one expected Judge Ellis to look favorably on this request. That he granted the defense motion in all but a few cases is bad news for the government – and good news for the Israel lobby, which may just be spared the embarrassment of having its essential nature as a fifth column for Israel exposed to the light of day.

        In addition to Rice, Wolfowitz, and Hadley, the following can expect to be served with a summons to appear at a trial that may never happen: Larry Franklin’s boss, Douglas J. Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Elliott Abrams, neocon par excellence and Iran-Contra alumnus, who served as Bush’s “deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy”; Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council adviser to Bill Clinton and author of the now infamously influential book The Threatening Storm, which convinced so many liberal Democrats to support the invasion of Iraq; Marc Grossman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs; Marc Sievers, chief political affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and one of Rice’s chief advisers on Iraqi affairs; David Satterfield, a political officer at our Tel Aviv embassy; William Burns, the American ambassador to Russia; Lawrence Silverman, currently a deputy chief at the American embassy in the Slovak Republic; Matthew Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state; and Michael Makovsky, a former staff member of the Office of Special Plans, the policy shop where the “intelligence” pointing to Saddam Hussein’s fabled “weapons of mass destruction” was cooked up into talking points. Franklin also served in that policy shop.

        The idea that the U.S. government is going to allow this is absurd. Rather than expose the entire Israeli covert operation in its midst and permit testimony that would dramatize how much access the Israelis already have to our officials and the policy-making process, the Bush administration now has an ideal excuse to shut this case down. Rice wouldn’t even show up to a congressional hearing to answer questions about prewar intelligence, and she similarly tried to defy the 9/11 Commission on the grounds of “executive privilege.” In spite of her expressed willingness to “cooperate with our legal system,” I fully expect her to show the same disdain for Judge Ellis’ court.

  • Greetings,

    Hopefully I may find the assistance that I am looking
    for in regards to finding a ATTORNEY with some balls & isn’t afraid of some serious career criminals running AMERICA…

    This 5/26/2004 Press Conference had these 7 people in
    This print-out was 12/4/2004 & 3 were captured going
    from color to black & white = CAPTURED OR KILLED…

    Many things happened after the 5/29/2004 capture of 2



    Well I do believe that I truly fucked-up someones’ game-plan back then – well now all of the language is
    in place for AMERICA to be overthrown by PRESIDENTIAL

    Funny thing here is “the decider” recently let a MOST

    Also “the decider” violated his oath to defend the constitution & or adhere to it – REWARDS/BOUNTIES…

    Then throws “THE PROTECT AMERICA ACT” down our throats & he let a (MWT) out of U.S. custody while under a U.S. FEDERAL INDICTMENT…

    You can read the letter I sent to Senator Leahy as well as other Congressional Oversight Committee Chairman + a e-mail to Speaker Pelosi about these crimes & the culture of corruption…



    Many of you past govt. workers KNOW THE DEAL only now
    people who may have been part of the scenario then – are now no longer part of the picture…



  • lespool

    Jake D, irregardless of your age, your penchant for abortions, passion for violence, and pleas for man’s inhumanity to man is a divine manifestation — an epiphany — an apocalyptic revelation doncha know? My gawd, you have a purpose in life after all! Now you git your pusillanimous skinny ass down to the nearest recruitment office and enlist in the US Army. — Your reason to exist sir is to die in the war on terror over there so you don’t have to fight your fellow Americans over here. — And then the rest of us can evolve!

  • Michael John Keenan

    The Senator Feinstein deserves a Certificate of Maturity in History from Himmler himself.

    In Jean Amery’s, The Minds Limit, his capture and descent into torture by German Nazi’s, starts by pointing out that his torturers showed no “banality of evil” in their faces. First there is the “laugh” and then the “first blow.” The prisoner then realizes that they are “helpless”. Lost is the “trust in the world.” Certainly there is no “mutual aid in nature.” No. It is time for the “business room. “This is more commonly referred to as the “Black Room” in today’s parlance.

    But before describing his own torture the author makes “good on a promise I gave.” Not that they where not specialists in torture, but more so his conviction that “torture was the essence of Nationalist Socialism….more accurately stated, why it was precisely in torture that the Third Reich materialized in all the density of its being.” I ask you dear Citizens should we also “codify” that the detainees at Camp X-ray can also be children as recently reported in the news? Not only does that sound slightly like the rule of anti-man but I do believe anti-child included. And if that is so then the rule practiced as such has “expressly established it as a principle.” So just what else in “essence” does go on at Camp X-ray? “Tricks?” Plead mercy, pray tell? And now comes news on Abu Ghraib.

    Refuse Himmler’s offer for a Certificate of Maturity in History and stop those jet flights I would suggest, Ms. Feinstein. Nay, to forsake the Constitution and be depraved of our humanity would be more painful in the end. Slavery to torture is all you will get. At least Hitler was restrained from jettisoning the Geneva Conventions even with his back against the wall in February of 1945. I smell now the chief prosecutor Jackson’s closing arguments at the Nuremberg trials. Go tell that to the Marines Senator Feinstein!

    What else will I be called to bear witness too by those who claim falsely to be my fellow citizens like this so-called Senator and who accept torture as a second nature? Do they not know that the word citizen or the word individual allows for no definition, which accepts the philosophy of anti-man nor anti-women? That by accepting torture, any definition of torture, that this country’s history is then removed in one fell swoop. Gone is the cry of Peoples Sovereignty born of the English Civil War. And gone too is the claim that people after the U.S. Civil War will never again be considered as just some owners private property in this nations economy. And what in their place now reigns but the concept of the Corporation as a person? Banished is the so-called Constitution of the United States. So why not now that the Articles of the Confederation are back in vogue and unimpeded by any Bill of Rights. This will work just fine as it has for Blackwater. Ultimately, the dead corpse of a Corporation is venerated over the flesh and blood of the living. Welcome all to the Senators world of Corporate Feudalism where all shall love and worship the new State Torturer who rules the World Supreme.

    The committee did not even seek or get a quid pro quo and have Mukasay agree to appoint a special prosecutor for investigating all these alleged crimes.

    Or let us nominate someone like Judge Damon Keith as AG instead. He handled Nixon perfectly. This would also prevent the same tragedy under Nixon from turning into a farce under Bush.

    I am Citizen Michael John Keenan

    The Los Angeles Times has my permission to print my response to Senator Feinstein’s Saturday opinion.

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  • subtropolis

    Larry, I just came across a new site that attempts to explain what this practice (technique?) is and is not:

    “Our main purpose is to provide you with the clearest possible understanding of what waterboarding is, so you can draw your own conclusions about it.”

    The explanations are quite clear and have helped me to better understand what this is.

    How To Help

    We are interested in:

    * Confirmations or corrections of the material posted here, from former or present interrogators.
    * Personal accounts of waterboarding experiences, especially from former detainees of any government or civil conflict.
    * A tort lawyer willing to help draft a liability waiver to allow us to waterboard willing participants.
    * Professional EMTs or paramedics willing to pro bono supervise a consensual, recreational waterboarding, especially in Washington DC.

    Perhaps you or someone you know could give it a look.

    I’m not so sure they should be thinking about “willing participants” but, anyway …

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