Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This Is a Pro-Agency Story

That's what John Kiriakou tells Robert Siegel in an interview on ATC tonight. I'm inclined to take him at his word, too. There's something fishy about this whole Kiriakou fellow. Are we really supposed to believe - as he tells Siegel - that he didn't get CIA permission before going public about the waterboarding of Zubaydah? Frankly the whole Kiriakou episode smells of a carefully planned story/leak. When I first heard him on ABC news the other morning, I assumed he was still an active CIA asset (though claiming to be retired), and was getting out the "ticking time bomb" and "torture saves American lives" line because evidence of CIA torture was going to be exposed anyway as relates to the contorted destroyed-tapes story. Who knows?

What I do know is that Seigel's interview was about as compliant, dull and unremarkable as such an interview could be. Seigel obviously did no homework on the Zubaydah case or he might have challenged the absurdity of Kiriakou's claims that "it worked in that case. And I firmly believe that American lives were saved because of it." Siegel could have simply said, "Can you back up that claim with any evidence besides your own words?" He might have asked how a mentally ill prisoner's tortured testimony could possibly have saved lives? He might have asked how Zubaydah's confessions coming about two months after his capture provided actionable intelligence. Or he might have mentioned that another "high value" CIA detainee's torture yielded "information" that has cost thousands of American (and over a million Iraqi) lives!

All these what ifs would assume that Siegel is really interested in getting at the truth. Instead he comes off as either lazy or complicit, letting Kiriakous get away with saying, "this is a pro-Agency story to be honest with you...the agency is a group of very hard working, very patriotic individuals out there all over the world risking their lives every day to make the United States a safer place. It's an intelligence success story." He really said this!

And Kiriakou must have loved being interviewed by someone who lets him end the interview by stating that the Zubaydah case is "something that Americans should be proud of."

Well, I'm not. I'm disgusted by it, and I'm disgusted that NPR can't challenge this stupid Jack Bauer "saved lives" rubbish. Anyone who knows about torture (much of which is sponsored by the US government) knows that there is no "ticking time bomb" scenario; what there is are hundreds of thousands of innocent people subjected to the ultimate tool of state terror - the violation of their bodies and minds. And once in a while, some poor victim of torture may be guilty of some kind of crime, but they are the minuscule exception.


WarOnWarOff said...

Yep, Kiriakou's putative "change of heart" wrt torture just did not square with his opining that Zubaydah's torture had "worked." There's something else being contrived here, what with Kiriakou's boyish presence and ah shucks innocence.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Eh, just further proof of what we already know - Robby Rootypoop Cheekle's a wuss. Just coasting for the paycheck. Seems the guy only puts his fang dentures in for challenging a guest with a position that runs counter to the WH memo du jour.

What's more, he read himself 2 responses in the letteyyyyrs section tonight - not surprisingly the views expressed mirrored the Mighty Myt's post. Umm, I don't think he sounded very fazed by the criticism.

larry, dfh said...

Thanks for the doubt about that interview. It sounded fishy to me; it made me very uneasy, in a "don't worry, everything has been taken care of" kind of way. You were absolutely correct about the fallout. This PM on ATC had a stand-alone interview with Tony Blankeley expressing joy over such interrogations and the great benefit of 'destroying' the films so that the islamofascists can't get hold of them, whence all hell would break loose.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Oh yes, that was yet a newly lowered low for All Thinktanks Considered - a feature commentary from a mouthpiece at the Washington Times. Too bad the Weekly World News closed up, they could've mined those depths as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, the Blankeley commentary was such a steaming pile of stuff. Even my wife, who is much less a cynic than I, came through to door tonight saying, "Did you hear that piece..." I think ATC does it just for the web hits. He cited YouTube so much, that you know he doesn't have a clue what is - other than the end of Western Civilization as we know it (or at least that's what he heard).

And Siegel was a trip, blandly reading the letters critiquing his non-performance without even defending himself or offering an explanation. Oh that's right, I forgot that he Missy, and ME-Shell are "perfect." They need not explain any silliness or ignorance that transpires. Bleah, more than I could stomach tonight. No more ATC for a while. Buuurrrp.

Porter Melmoth said...

Yessir, Tony B. regularly makes a fool out of himself on 'The Maclaughlin Group', where he's safely contained. Solo, he's a Neocon menace.

I think this whole tape destruction story is a WH plot to punish the CIA/intelligence community for delivering the credible report, just a few days earlier, regarding Iran's nukes. The tape destruction story, odious as it is, pales in comparison. Dick & Co wanted war badly. Now THEY've been hornswoggled, so now CIA must pay. The premise for the tapes falling into the wrong hands is absurd. Security storage, even at the leaky CIA, could have been maximized. Just think of the stuff being stored at the CIA that we HAVEN'T seen yet! The media should not be deceived by this 'shocking' tapes story. BushCorp wants everybody to get hung up on it while the real biggie, Iran, looms in the background.

Benoit Balz said...

Do Robert Segal and the editors at ATC really not
realize they're being used as a propaganda vehicle?

Yeah, former CIA officer John Kiriakou "went public", and he went public with typical, blatant Rovian spin.

The whole performance was pure talking points: "This is a pro-agency story to be honest with you. I think the American people want to know and should know that the agency is a group of very hard-working, very patriotic individuals out there all over the world risking their lives everyday to make the United States a safer place. It's an intelligence success story...We don't torture people...this will blow over I'm sure and like I say this is an intelligence success story. This is something Americans should be proud of..."

That's propaganda. Why does NPR let it go unchallenged?

Something Americans should not be proud of is the way NPR consistently facilitates these laughable PR efforts. It's embarrassing.

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