The Washington Post has a front-page, top-of-the fold article today on CIA rendition-supporter/torture proponent/videotape-destroyer Jose Rodriguez and his new book, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, which discusses CIA black sites and touts torture.
Ironically, today former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan will receive the Ridenhour Book Prize for his book, The Black Banners.
Hmmm. Wonder which book will sell better?
Rodriguez, who Forrest Gumped his way to the top of the CIA, describes in detail (except for the information censored by the CIA) the largest covert action program in U.S. history: rendering terrorism suspects to CIA "black sites" in countries that engaged in torture and were beyond the reach and protections of U.S. law. Rodriguez is unapologetic:
I am certain, beyond any doubt, that these techniques, approved at the highest levels of the U.S. government . . . shielded the people of the United States from harm and led to the capture and killing of Usama bin Ladin.
He says this even though the government later repudiated these "techniques" (read: "torture"), which included waterboarding.
In contrast, what you will not be reading about in the Washington Post today, is that Ali Soufan is receiving the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize for The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. Soufan, a Lebanese-American, was the only FBI agent who spoke Arabic in New York City, and one of only eight in the country. With The Black Banners, he has written the definitive history of al-Qaeda, and provides irrefutable evidence that torture is not only antithetical to American values, but produces false and dangerous information.
The Black Banners demonstrates time and again that it is intelligent questioning, not torture, that yields valuable information from suspects. Soufan’s questioning of Abu Jandal, bin Laden’s former personal bodyguard, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks remains one of the most successful interrogations of any al-Qaeda operative. He refused to participate in any “enhanced interrogation techniques,” arguing that they are not only immoral but produce bad and faulty intelligence.
Soufan retired from the FBI in 2005, disillusioned by how the war against al-Qaeda was being handled. Soufan says,
It’s important to not allow the torture issue to harm the reputation, and thus the effectiveness, of the C.I.A. . . The agency is essential to our national security. We must ensure that the mistakes behind the use of these techniques are never repeated.
Rodriguez tries to justify ordering the destruction of 92 videotapes of the interrogation of Abu Zubayda, who was waterboarded at least 83 times: I was just getting rid of some ugly visuals.
Rodriguez has not been prosecuted, much less indicted.
The icing on the cake of these two wildly divergent accounts of rendition and torture is that ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou--the man actually caught Abu Zubayda, the man who refused to take torture training, and the first CIA officer to call waterboarding "torture" is the one being prosecuted under the Espionage Act.
That's effed up.
(Note: To support John Kiriakou "like" the Defend John K Facebook page or go here.)