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Yes, I gave Rummy short shrift in my book because there were so many other bad guys on whom I needed to vent my spleen.  But let me be clear, I got into trouble because any serious inquiry surrounding "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh would have led straight to Rumsfeld's personal involvement, which the government was extremely eager to shut down, immediately, vigorously and aggressively.

Recently-resigned Secretary of Defense (at least he had the luxury of resigning with some pretense of dignity), Donald Rumsfeld, was an intelligence junkie who obsessed about the details of interrogations with high-value detainees and was constantly pressing to use brutal techniques.

There is much, much more still not out there, including Rumsfeld's direct involvement in interrogations at Abu Ghraib, using his famous 8000-mile screwdriver.  He was on videoconference links wih Pappas and others throughout the period of greatest abuse.  If they tell the truth, at some point, this will all come out.  

And it would have come out had there been any serious inquiry by Congress or the press.  According to a secret document I obtained in June 2004, an Army intelligence officer "advised that before interviewing Lindh, instructions came from higher headquarters for him to coordinate with JSOTF [the Joint Special Operations Task Force] JAG officer.  He was told . . . he could collect on anything criminal that was volunteered."

But Higher Headquarters told the intelligence office more than that.  Rumsfeld's office told him not ot handle Lindh with kid gloves.  In a stunning revelation, the documents states: "The Admiral told him that the Secretary of Defense's counsel had authorized him to 'take the gloves off' and ask whatever he wanted."  These instructions to get tough wth Lindh, contained in the document I have, are the earliest known evidence that the Bush Administration was willing to push the envelope on how far it could go to extract information from suspected terrorists.

In a reversal of the usual procedure, according to this document, the "JAG had said that if Lindh said anything incriminating, read him his rights."  Needless to say, it defeats the purpose of Mirandizing someone to do so only after they have already made incriminting statements.  The purpose of the Miranda warning is to neutralize the distinct psychological disadvantage that suspects are under when dealing with interrogators.  After a person has been taken officially into custody, but before any interrogation takes place, the subject must be informed of his Miranda rights.  The Army intelligence office "told the JAG he did not have a copy of Miranda and asked JSOTF to send Miranda by fax but he never got it.  He never gave Lindh the Miranda warnings."

(As if any person off the street who watches the "Law & Order" franchise can't recite the Miranda warning off the top of his head . . .)  But, apparently not.  When Lindh was evenuatlly given the Miranda warning, FBI Agent Reimann admits that he ad-libbed, "You have the right to a lawyer, but of course there are no lawyers here in Afghanistan. . . ."  

So this case was one mistake after another from the get-go.  And this is not about some bleeding-heart sympathy for Lindh.  It's bout playing by the rules.  As a governmetn attorney, we were supposed to turn square corners, not cut corners.  

I got into trouble because any serious inquiry surrounding Lindh would have led straight to Rumsfeld's personal involvement, which they were extremely eager to shut down, immediately, vigorously and aggressively.

Originally posted to Jesselyn Radack on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 02:46 AM PST.

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