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The MSM must make clear that the two CIA reports Dick Cheney asked to make public were written years after the torture of KSM and others became publicly known. These reports were concocted, under Tenet and Goss' command at CIA, to deliberately justify torture against the public outcry Cheney knew would ensue.

From TPM's David Kurtz and Greg Sargent, "A Glimpse of the Dark Side":

Dick Cheney apparently kept a file in his office marked "Detainees" (.pdf). Cheney [has] requested the National Archives to declassify and release certain documents that he says "proves" that U.S. torture produced actionable intelligence. In particular he requests two CIA reports: a 12-page report dated July 13, 2004, and a 19-page report dated June 1, 2005. The point here is that by 2004-05, the Administration's self-justification for its torture policy was well underway. These reports are not contemporaneous accounts of what intelligence the torture yielded. Rather, the CIA and Cheney were 'papering the file well' after the fact.

Spencer Ackerman explains why those dates are significant:

June 1, 2005, [t]hat's the day after new OLC chief Steven Bradbury had released the final of his three May 2005 memos that reauthorized the CIA's interrogation program... Cheney recognized this wouldn't be the end of the debate on torture -- either internally, or with Congress and the Courts. Having material from the CIA -- especially a CIA helmed by his ally, Porter Goss -- arguing for the need for the program's continuation would be powerful ammunition for any bureaucratic fight.

Mark Danner's op-ed in the WaPo (after his two excellent NYROB articles) describes a similar motivation for the infamous legal memos:

[T]hose Justice Department memos were written for just this moment: the moment when all would come to light. That they exist is a chronicle of scandal foretold. The memos are the true offspring of the Church Commission, the mid-1970s investigation of CIA wrongdoing that looms over this scandal and that changed forever how covert actions were conducted. Before Church, "black ops" were undertaken with no explicit legal order: If wrongdoing came to light, the president denied knowledge. After Church, the president was required to sign a "finding" making approval explicit. For former Vice President Cheney [who was in the White House during the Church hearings] and others, the findings and other reforms that followed from Church were in essence when "the gloves went on."

And so, after 9/11, when the gloves came off, there would be no deniability: All was documented with lawyers' briefs and study group reports and official signatures. That leads to the third paradox of torture: Responsibility is spread so broadly, beginning, as they say, "at the highest level," that the political problem is not whether, eventually, to prosecute but whom, and how high. Too many are implicated: George Tenet and others at the CIA saw to that. They foresaw precisely this moment, and they were determined, when the music stopped, not to be the only ones left standing with no chair.

[This Diary is not original research; but given the flood of things coming out about torture, then the switch to swine-flu coverage, I felt this was worth highlighting and repeating.]

Originally posted to S. Wraight on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:44 PM PDT.

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