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The Sunday Times (London) reports that the CIA official blamed for the destruction of the torture tapes, who was subpoena'd on Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee, is looking for immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony that probably would implicate White House officials.

Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, is determined not to become the fall guy in the controversy over the CIA’s use of torture, according to intelligence sources.

It has emerged that at least four White House staff were approached for advice about the tapes, including David Addington, a senior aide to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, but none has admitted to recommending their destruction.

Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, said it was impossible for Rodriguez to have acted on his own: “If everybody was against the decision, why in the world would Jose Rodriguez – one of the most cautious men I have ever met – have gone ahead and destroyed them?”

Silvestre Reyes, Chair of the Committee, issued a statement two weeks ago saying that he's "not looking for scapegoats" in the investigation, signaling that he was willing to cut a deal with the man the Bush administration was pinning the blame upon. Rodriguez is no innocent of course, and it's disturbing to learn that Reyes considers him to be "an American Hero". Rodriguez was chief of staff of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center while it set up the network of black sites and implemented the Bush administration's torture regime. But Rodriguez is also described by Larry Johnson as having learned from his involvement in Iran-Contra that it's imperative to avoid being hung out to dry by the politicians whose bidding he does.

He learnt his lesson and recently appointed Robert Bennett, one of Washington’s most skilled lawyers, to handle the case of the destroyed interrogation tapes. “He has been starting to get his story out and was smart to get Bennett,” said Johnson.

If Rodriguez gains immunity, the White House cover-up will become the focus.

The House investigation comes on the heels of President Bush's comments that he did not "recall" the existence of the torture tapes until he was briefed on the matter by CIA director Michael Hayden about two weeks ago, and a subsequent New York Times report that at least four White House officials discussed the tapes at least two years ago.

The four staffers cited were Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general who served as White House counsel until early 2005; David Addington, a key aide to Vice President Dick Cheney; John Bellinger III, who until January 2005 was the senior lawyer at the National Security Council; and Harriet Miers, who succeeded Gonzales as White House counsel.

There's just no getting around it, this trail leads all the way to the top.

And thus we can expect further scoundrels to grace the op-ed pages, emerging to defend waterboarding, torture, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, and so forth. You know the drill.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 11:52 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please don't set us up for another letdown. (11+ / 0-)

    Maybe the administration will finally be held accountable for some of its criminal activity.

    •  Tune In At 6:00! (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terre, oibme, moosely2006, puchismo107, timbuck

      Will Bush implicate himself, and declare Executive Privilege?  

      Will Congress go all Monica Goodling, and then go on t "important business?"  

      What about the courts? Were any Laws, broken here?

      Don't Torture yourselves - tune in at 6:00

    •  You already know the answer to that. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terre, rlharry, puchismo107, cameoanne

      As we all do if we think about it honestly for a minute. This will heat up, get a few front page mentions, and then just as quickly fade out as subpoenas are ignored.

      In 2008, I think we all ought to resolve to be less gullible about these things.

      •  chrississippi vows: (0+ / 0-)

        In 2008, I think we all ought to resolve to be less gullible about these things.

        Actually, I don't think 'we' the kossers were less gullible from the start.  We're the most skeptical bunch.  It's the MSM and a congress that wilts under the stare down from the weakest, lamest duck, most unpopular president of modern times.

        What can really be done?

        As a genX'er not around yet during the 60's and most of the 70's it used to baffle me to study these decades and be completely unable to relate to the various far left radical organizations that would resort to violent demonstrations or even domestic terrorism to get their point across for enacting change.  Although far short still of embracing violence, I'm now at least able to at least relate to that mindset; by tapping into the wellspring of pure rage that builds over feeling completely powerless in the American political process.

    •  Don't worry - be HAPPY! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CTMET

      SWL's comin' down the chimney tonite!

      "I believe in the promise of America." ~ John Edwards '08

      by Terre on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:08:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Accountable ? Dont think so..In a perfect wurld.. (0+ / 0-)

      Why, of course cahney-bauh-condi-rummy-etc-etc-etc would all go down..But,[Always the Butt!], we for better or WURSE abide in bushwurld and...I know what you are thinking about CTMET but :

      'but it isn't so, nohow.'
      'Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'

      That is logic in buswurld and they are all mad and the asylum has been overtaken by the patients..They always want to put them somewhere..

      "Better a little late, than a little never"..Doctor Julian Winston

      by Johnny Rapture on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:13:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  hasn't Jay Rockefeller urged (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ydef

      that all this be covered up? He opposes a special prosecutor, of course; he has said that the whole torture tape issue should be left to the intelligence committee chairmen to sort out.

      Needless to say, Rockefeller has not bothered to explain why, as Chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, he failed to object to the destruction of the tapes after being briefed on the matter. Rockefeller (in 2006) backed a nine-year retroactive immunity for all those who ordered and committed acts of torture; he urged the reinterpretation of the Geneva Conventions, and voted (with a Republican majority) for the Military Commissions Act of 2006, suspending habeas corpus and indemnifying the CIA for its past abuses.

      Why do West Virginians continue to elect him? Don't they see what a phony he is?

      •  why west virginia votes for Rockefeller (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ydef

        They vote for Rockefeller, I would imagine, for the same reason they vote for former klan member Byrd...They fit the profile of what West Virginia wants and the entire South for that matter (I am from Georgia...). Lets just be thankful they are in the democratic club instead of on the Republican side. Not to say they shouldn't be held culpable...I think in many ways they are just as responsible as the executive for burying and overlooking this. Nonetheless, that joke of majority in the senate would be nonexistent without Byrd and Rockefeller. I don't pretend to like what they do...but sure as hell beats having a red state...as i would know...

    •  Prosecute the guy! (0+ / 0-)

      Rolling the little guy to reach the higher-ups may work against the Mafia, but it doesn't work against the government.  We've seen that too many times already.

      Better to pile on the guy who destroyed the tapes rather than give him a pass.  That way we get one (better than zero) and maybe put some fear in the zillions of other bureaucrats.  

      "The devil (Bush) made me do it" should not be a defense.  Prosecute and jail Jose Rodriguez!

      •  It doesn't work on the government (0+ / 0-)

        only because there's absolutely no punishment/imminent jail term targeted on their foreheads to force compliance.  Only written congressional demands 'or else' that they probably throw in the paper shredder without bothering to open them at all these days.

  •  Good (10+ / 0-)

    Rodriguez is probably who we'd want to roll over.  He's sufficiently senior to have a real good idea of who was who above him and lots of knowledge about where to look.  With his long time rep within the intelligence community he's also not so likely to be willing to be a patsy for the Bushites.

  •  THE USA uses TORTURE (11+ / 0-)

    That is what the discussion should be about.  Our popular culture has embraced it (24.)  Our public disccussion of it has devolved into the destruction of tapes that prove it.  Our public morales have been diluted to outsourcing it.

    Bush Claims we don't use torture by the slimmest of terms.

    "When will we stop?" should be the question.

    Never give up on peace!!! What are you left with if you do???

    by Gator on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 11:57:57 AM PST

    •  Our corporate-owned airwaves have embraced it. (8+ / 0-)

      Our corporate owned news media have chosen to support it. Our national CEO has outsourced it. There is nothing that would lead me to believe torture is embraced by the populace.

      If it were, why the need to control the media, lie, cover up and cheat?

      Big boss man..you ain't so big, just tall, that's all.-Written by Jimmy Reed. Belted Out by Koko Taylor.

      by TheFatLadySings on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:03:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's where the focus should be (6+ / 0-)

      and I wish it had been there all along. It's amazing how far our national sense of values has dropped, that much of the country can look on and smirk while American officials order prisoners to be tortured. And who would have thought, just a few years ago, that we'd be seeing op-eds like the thing I linked to?

      Incidentally, I chose these words advisedly: "the White House cover-up will become the focus." Your thoughts were exactly mine as well.

      •  yes, but too many fools believe bush (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smintheus, elwior

        when he says we do not torture. they do not stop to think that bush is being "truthful" only because he defines torture in a manner different from the rest of the planet.

        if this story breaks, then americans may start wondering, well, just how does bush define torture. Then, they will realize the US practices the very torture that most oppose.

        Great story, you have knocked out one outstanding story after another. thanks.

      •  This story looks more important than people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smintheus

        realize.
         Yes, it seems we've been down this road, and come up empty, but to me this one is substantially different because of who the players are, and the nature of the crimes involved. People may yet be surprised by what comes out here, and what the implications are.
         It may be a good idea to watch this carefully, and reserve judgement for a time until we see how this particular episode, and the subsequent ones play out. No sense gushing out expectations, but it may be wise to put the cynacism on hold for a time as well.

        "We the People of the United States..." -U.S.Constitution

        by elwior on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 03:41:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Producers of 24 (0+ / 0-)

      Gator says:

      [blockquote]Our popular culture has embraced it (24.) [/blockquote]

      Without question, I couldn't agree with you more that it is a damn shame that the crypto-fascist producers of 24 have created this fairy tale illusion that torture not only works, but works every single time without fail when employed by the super protagonist Jack Bauer.  It's outrageous!!!

      The tipoff should have been when the 24 producers were caught flying in and out of the Dominican Republic with Rush Limbaugh on his gulf-stream to ostensibly participate in its booming sex tourism industry because customs on the way back found Rush didn't have a prescription for a bottle of prescription Viagra found on him that was in someone else's name.

      24 should have right then and there been exposed to the rest of America as the neocon propaganda tool that we all know it is.

  •  Back onto the table, Nancy, (7+ / 0-)

    is where it belongs, between the fruitcake and figgy pudding.  In fact, toss the fruitcake, and just put the impeachment right there.  (No one eats the fruitcake anyway.  And just what the hell IS figgy pudding, besides a vestigial, fossilized reference in one of the little-known, seldom-sung verses of a popular Christmas carol?  Toss that too, while you're at it.  More room for lots and lots of impeachment.  With this administration we'll be coming back for seconds, and probably thirds.)

  •  I hope the whole house of marked cards comes (6+ / 0-)

    tumbling down. But, unless one breath is all it takes to push it over, I won't be holding mine (breath, not cards).

    Big boss man..you ain't so big, just tall, that's all.-Written by Jimmy Reed. Belted Out by Koko Taylor.

    by TheFatLadySings on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:01:10 PM PST

  •  Emptywheel posted a timeline (7+ / 0-)

    showing that the tapes were intentionally destroyed at the end of the 9/11 Commission's work.  

    ....the CIA held onto the tapes until the 9/11 Commission finished and then found a period to destroy them (apparently in the time period between when Leonie Brinkema asked if there were tapes and they said no)....

  •  Good lucking nailing Bush or Cheney (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, St Louis Woman, Ydef

    They have plaques on their desks that read:

    The Buck Stops Anywhere But Here

    And George W. Bush says he sleeps well at night

    by moosely2006 on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:05:16 PM PST

  •  A Shame Nobody Diaried This Yesterday (7+ / 0-)

    Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

    by The Baculum King on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:06:42 PM PST

  •  Is this "Fitzmas", several years late? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, viral, moosely2006

    How many years ago was it we kept hoping Patrick Fitzgerald would indict Karl Rove and a bunch of others for our Christmas present?

    I can't imagine we'll know anything more by this time tomorrow.  But we can spend several days in Schadenfreude City, thinking about what will go through the heads of Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Meiers, Bolton, and many others as they try to go to sleep tonight.  It won't be visions of dancing sugar plums.

    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

    by david78209 on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:07:02 PM PST

  •  The question is," How will the Democrat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ydef

    leaders FUBAR this?" After all thi might lead to the inescapable fact that Bush and dick Cheney should be impeached. We don't want Granny Scold (aka Nancy Pelosi) soiling her adult diaper.

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for Democrats to do nothing. You listening, Reid, Pelosi, huh?

    by usedmeat on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:08:20 PM PST

    •  What's interesting ... (0+ / 0-)

      is how conservative beltway pundits like Novak are predicting that this story won't have legs because torturing of known terror suspects is an iffy issue that risks breaking either way during an election year and the Democrats know it.  Too many wing-nuts convinced of the efficacy of torture from watching 24 with religious fervor with its world view spilling into the mainstream is what makes it 'iffy'.

      Which is why the focus of any investigation needs to be all about exposing this 'torture works' meme as a neocon illusion based in pure fantasy.     Anyone that so much as hints that there is any truth to it needs to be treated with merciless public derision and ridicule with perps being relentlessly shamed into silence to preclude any chance of it taking on a life of its own legitimacy in mainstream popular thinking.

  •  Scandal FATIGUE Sets In ... (5+ / 0-)

    How many times have I thought: "This one will get them ..."

     

    How many times?

    •  countless times (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry

      that's because you are assuming the decency and the ethical fortitude of Congress, the professionalism of the MSM and the attention span of the public to be greater than any of them has proved to be.....

      I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. --Albert Einstein

      by SottoVoce on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 01:09:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "immunity from prosecution "? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, AJColo

    What prosecution? Has he been in a cave for the past 6 years? Nothing will happen to him. Nothing.

    Children are smarter than any of us. Know how I know that? I don't know one child with a full time job and children. - Bill Hicks

    by kitebro on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:11:47 PM PST

  •  Wow, This is depressing (0+ / 0-)

    I told my roomate about this and he pretty much said the same thing all of you guys are.  That nothing is going to come of it.  The last few years have been outrage after outrage.  Illegality after illegality.  The Vice President literally committed treason by every definition of the word and today it is nothing more than a footnote while he walks around trying to start WW3.   While I still cling to hope, I am starting to believe that nothing is going to happen either.

  •  As mentioned the other day... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smintheus

    Perino must be asked if bush saw the video, not the tapes. All the denials to date refer to the "tapes." Bush may have seen it on dvd or as an mpeg file. He may have ordered evidence destroyed without knowing it specifically originated from videotape.  

    It is not beneath them to lie like this. In August 2002, bush said he had no plans on his desk for invading Iraq... a lie unless taken absolutely literally.

  •  I'll Place My Bet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Baculum King, smintheus, rlharry

    On Addington being the eventual fall guy du jour for this scandal.  There are several reasons I say this:

    Of the four lawyers named, Addington is the one most likely to have advised that the tapes be destroyed.  We already know from news reports that HM advised against destroying them.

    This has Cheney's fingerprints all over it.  And if Cheney was the decision maker here, then he is going to need another loyal minion to take the fall for him.

    The MO for this criminal enterprise has always been to give Bush "plausable deniability".  The "first time I recollect" statement fits that mold.

    •  feebog, (0+ / 0-)

      What's your bet: He'll get the Medal of Freedom? Or pardoned?

      "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

      by rlharry on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 01:25:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong Order (0+ / 0-)

        Indicted, convicted, pardoned, then the medal of Freepdom.

        •  waitasec ... (0+ / 0-)

          In order to be pardoned, doesn't he first have to be convicted by a special prosecutor?

          Since Justice has made clear they will not appoint a SP to this case, how could this possibly move beyond a massive but predictable administration stonewall after Rodriguez rolls on all the WH figures involved?

          It's not completely hopeless since one distinguishing difference this time is that all the congressional republicans are unified going on record in support of getting to the bottom of the tape destruction despite all indications that the administration will not cooperate.

          And the resentment and behind the scenes real politicking going on between the CIA and BushCo could also come into play.

  •  Hire a food taster (0+ / 0-)

    and go into a very deep bunker until it is time to testify -- bonus Christmas advise for Mr. Rodriguez.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 12:18:36 PM PST

  •  Fast Forward: Bush will pardon or block this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    Bush will pardon the guy or block him from testifying using the State Secrets excuse.  No one will impeach Bush and nothing will happen.  Now we can move on to the next crime and repeat above.

  •  Is Anyone Surprised? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    I have truly lost count of all the (fill in the blank)- gates in the Bush Administration. Its almost fatiguining to keep up with all these different problems. You can argue that Bush and his administration are stupid and/or evil. However, what is truly irritating is the unbelievable gross ineptitude of our federal government. I really don't understand how any group of elected officials can do this poorly. While talking to some friends yesterday, I realized, every single department in this administration has faced and caused some kind of disaster. It almost makes you think they are trying to fuck up. Tragically, all of these people are so entrenched, that they won't ever leave. What really makes me sad is that a lot of the Democrats are going to run to the center because they think its the only way to win. However, its depressing to see that what this country's problems will go unfixed. What inevitably ends up happening is Americans get screwed on everything they so desperately need. oy...what a happy holiday.

  •  Why bother? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    What's the point in offering the guy immunity? So what if he fingers people in the Admin. If they still had the tapes and they showed Bush himself extinguishing cigarettes on some guys genitals it wouldn't matter, nothing would happen.
    The Democrats have already made it clear that they plan to run out the clock. Nobody will be held accountable for anything.
    I couldn't give less of a shit what sort of pointless investigations they open anymore.
    My focus now is on holding the damned Dems accountable. Primaries, primaries, primaries, we have to make them pay big time in the primaries.

  •  They recall nothing (0+ / 0-)

    They flat out don't remember.

    There were other much more important things for the leader of the free world to be addressing than what goes on in the dungeons of the gulags.

    "free world" ?

    Oh that. Well, used to be.


  •  dumya is going to be doing a lot of (0+ / 0-)

    foreign travel in '08 to "rebuild the US image".  My interpretation is that is:  he plans to be out of reach when the sh** hits the fan.  That article was on HuffPo today, also.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 02:02:50 PM PST

  •  Now You Know Why (0+ / 0-)

    The four staffers cited were Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general who served as White House counsel until early 2005; David Addington, a key aide to Vice President Dick Cheney; John Bellinger III, who until January 2005 was the senior lawyer at the National Security Council; and Harriet Miers, who succeeded Gonzales as White House counsel.

    This is why Bush wanted Harriet Miers on the Surpreme Court!

    "Vice President Cheney is expanding the administration's policy on torture to include tortured logic" Sen. Dick Durbin D-IL

    by Tuba Les on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 02:09:00 PM PST

  •  excellent news (0+ / 0-)

    I'm hoping against all odds that we finally see some accountability on this one.

    Harry Taylor for Congress, Courage is Contagious

    by Fredly on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 02:30:18 PM PST

  •  Bushworld and alternate realities: (0+ / 0-)

    In a surprise visit to the middle east, President Bush  met  with the Most Rev Imad al-Banna, the Archbishop of Basra,  who  cancelled Christmas in that city asking Christians to refrain from putting up Christmas trees or exchanging gifts.

    Said Bush, " We  know what it's like, for little Cindy Lou Who, but sacrifices must be made."

    To ensure  the terrorists do not view this as a victory, he promised to resurrect his line item veto on the resent Iraqi war funding bill, and remove authorization for 150,000 Christmas stockings to be sent to U.S. soldiers in combat.

    He will also issue a signing statement changing the official Christmas cheer from "Ho Ho Ho!" to "Heh Heh Heh!"

    He was overheard off-camera to have added,"That'll learn 'em!"

    /snark is all we have left.

    Pay attention, they're lying!: http://www.antiwar.com/orig/porter.php?articleid=10400

    by Fireshadow on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 03:14:15 PM PST

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