Promoted from Diaries – Moe Lane.
This is priceless:
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.
“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.
Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.
Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”
A spokeswoman for Admiral Blair said the lines were cut in the normal editing process of shortening an internal memo into a media statement emphasizing his concern that the public understand the context of the decisions made in the past and the fact that they followed legal orders….
Where to start? A little schadenfeude always is a great place to start.
For years, many of us watched in horror as classified documents regularly appeared on the front page of the New York Times. These leaks often put troops in harm’s way. I and many others here were aghast the Bush Administration did nothing to punish these national security breaches. The Left told us to man up, it’s a free country and all.
That was then, this is now. Certainly there is no comparison between letting the enemy know military secrets and letting the American people know that what has been ridiculously branded “torture” saved many, many American lives. It also is good to have proof that some folks at CIA apparently care more about their fellow citizens than reckless score-settling.
As to the substance, the more this information that emerges–L.A. avoided a spectacular terrorist attack and so forth–the more reluctant Congress will be to hold show trials to trash attorneys who gave the advice as to how to avoid another 9/11. Granted, it would have been hard enough. Many of the congressional interrogators were briefed and approved of the techniques, but we do have the spectacle of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd chairing finanical committees so it wasn’t impossible. Again, from the Times:
The assessment by Admiral Blair represents a shift for him since he took office. When he was nominated for the position and appeared before the Senate intelligence committee on Jan. 22, he said: “I believe strongly that torture is not moral, legal or effective.” But he declined to assess whether the interrogation program under Mr. Bush had worked.
“Do you believe the C.I.A.’s interrogation detention program has been effective?” Senator Christopher Bond, a Missouri Republican, asked him.
“I’ll have to look into that more closely before I can give you a good answer on that one,” Admiral Blair answered.
I look forward to all the positive news about enhanced interrogation over the next few months. Former Vice President Cheney wants this information declassified, but hey, it may happen anyway.