Sunday, December 04, 2005

MSNBC: Rita Crosby Live & Direct

Monday, October 31, 2005

Guests: Darryl Schnell, Thomas James, Helge Hellberg, Martin Lewis, Georgia James, Jim Marcinkowsky, Melissa Boyle Mahle, Ron Fischetti, John Baeza, Steve Huff

Read the Transcript

RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody...

But first tonight, some big news coming out of Washington, D.C. President Bush nominates Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, as he still faces many questions concerning the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame‘s identity. Some say tonight that the president was just trying to change the subject away from that scandal...

COSBY: And joining me now is Jim Marcinkowsky, who trained with Valerie Plame, and also Melissa Boyle Mahle. She‘s a former CIA spy, and she‘s the author of a book called “Denial and Deception: An Insider‘s View of the CIA From Iran-Contra to 9/11.”

COSBY: You know, and how detrimental, Melissa, when something like a Brewster Jennings is let out? Because I would imagine a lot of agents use that as their cover.

MAHLE: Well, I tell you, when you start exposing how—what kinds of covers that the CIA uses in whether business or whatever, you start setting a trail that bad guys can follow and say, Hey, let‘s look at these kind of companies and see what—you know, Maybe we can find some more agents.

COSBY: Well, that‘s what I was going to say. There‘s a huge rippling effect, right, Melissa?

MAHLE: Yes, and I think that‘s one of the things that really concerns the CIA because we need to protect our agents and our officers if we‘re going to be able to achieve our mission.

COSBY: You know, Melissa, you worked as a female spy in the Middle East. What was that like? And how dangerous was it?

MAHLE: Listen, I was a counterterrorism officer. I worked in the Middle East. My cover was extremely important to me because I depended on it for hiding my identity so I could protect myself, my family and my agents.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Village Voice

Prisons of Darkness

Liberty Beat
Prisons of Darkness
CIA leads U.S. in 'researching for the low moral ground' in the war against terrorism
by Nat Hentoff
December 2nd, 2005 12:00 PM

Terrorism suspects need to be prosecuted not tortured.
Headline, Financial Times
November 23

Harsh interrogation techniques authorized by top officials of the CIA have led to questionable confessions and the death of a detainee since the techniques were first authorized in mid-March 2002, ABC News has been told by former and current intelligence officers and super-visors. . . . Robert Baer (former CIA case officer): You can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture's bad enough. ABC News
November 18, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito

If you torture, what you get is a mixed bag of intelligence. And when you don't know what's real and what's false, how do you use it? Melissa Boyle Mahle, former CIA covert agent handling spies, CNN, November 20

In the November 21 USA Today�much revitalized by its relatively new editor, Ken Paulson, formerly of constitutional watchdog Freedom Forum�CIA chief Porter Goss revealed more than he intended in an interview with John Diamond. After the obligatory snake oil pitch ("This agency does not do torture [which] doesn't work"), Goss said the CIA's mission requires "putting a lot of judgment in the hands of individuals overseas."

Moreover, since several European governments professing to be shocked at CIA kidnappings by these "individuals" in their countries are investigating these CIA torture "renditions," Goss "is pressing for the CIA to improve its ability to operate on its own overseas." (Emphasis added.)

That's why the CIA's champion in the Bush administration, Dick Cheney, is working so hard to officially give the CIA an exception to treaties we have signed and to our own laws forbidding inhumane treatment, including torture. In the USA Today interview, Porter Goss let slip his hope for the CIA to have no limits anywhere in the world to its "enhanced interrogation techniques":

"Sometimes other sovereign nations have somewhat divergent views or opinions, and so it's a good idea�even with your best friends�to have a secret." (Just as the CIA keeps so many secrets from us Americans, acting as a rogue nation in the name of this nation.)

By unleashing the CIA, the Bush administration�having steadily cut down our constitutional rights and liberties at home�keeps striving to export its lawlessness abroad in this crucial war on terrorism. As facts on the ground documenting our use of torture keep mounting, Bush's repeated incantation of the democratic values we want to support around the world become increasingly hypocritical in what is obviously and ultimately a war of ideas.

Meanwhile, as USA Today reports, Porter Goss "is directing an unprecedented 50 percent expansion in the agency's analyst and field officer ranks and coping with new missions." Goss equates the CIA with "being a very efficient submarine
going along in a hurricane. We are doing very well."

Keep that truly frightening submarine image in mind as I quote from a far too under-reported November 14 follow- up report by the bipartisan independent commission that investigated the 9-11 attacks. This follow-up, USA Today wrote on November 15, declared that "the U.S. policy on treating detainees is undermining the war on terrorism by tarnishing America's reputation as a moral leader."

Responding to Dick Cheney's relentless drive to make the CIA the only intelligence agency to not be accountable for its interrogation techniques, 9-11 commissioner Tim Roemer said this exception would not only result in flawed intelligence but would also give the terrorists a valuable recruiting lift by further worsening the worldwide perception of the United States as its own kind of unchecked human rights abuser.

As word gets out that there are no constraints on the CIA, the terrorists' propaganda engineers will be "lining up the next generation of jihadists on a conveyer belt."

Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the 9-11 Commission, makes a blunt point that eludes Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al.: "The United States must define itself in the Islamic world. Otherwise, the extremists will gladly do the job for us."