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Thursday, April 23, 2009


Rivers Coming Together

by digby

Ron Suskind on Maddow yesterday:

And what‘s fascinating here, if you run the timeline side by side, you see, really, for the first time from that report that the key thing being sent down in terms of the request by the policymakers, by the White House, is find a link between Saddam and al Qaeda so that we essentially can link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks and then march into Iraq with the anger of 9/11 behind us. That was the goal and that was being passed down as the directive.

It‘s, you know, it‘s often called the requirement inside the CIA for both agents with their sources and interrogators with their captives. “Here‘s what we‘re interested in, here‘s what we, the duly elected leaders, want to hear about. Tell us what you can find.”

What‘s fascinating, in the Senate report, is finally clear confirmation that that specific thing was driving many of the activities, and mind you, the frustration inside of the White House that was actually driving action. The quote, in fact, inside of the Senate report from a major said that as frustration built inside of the White House, that there was no link that was established—because the CIA told the White House from the very start there is no Saddam/al Qaeda link. We checked it out. We did every which way. Sorry.

The White House simply wouldn‘t take no for an answer and it went with another method. Torture was the method. “Get me a confession, I don‘t care how you do it.” And that bled all the way through the government, both on the CIA side and the Army side. It‘s extraordinary.

Mind you, Rachel, this is important. This is not about an impetus to foil an upcoming potential al Qaeda attacks. The impetus here is largely political diplomatic. The White House had a political diplomatic problem. It wanted it solved in the run-up to the war.

And mind you, and I think the data will show this—after the invasion, when it becomes clear in the summer, just a few months after in 2003, that there are no WMD in Iraq. That‘s the summer of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame—my goodness, there are no WMD. Now, the White House is being hit with a charge that they took us to war under false pretenses. That‘s when the frustration is acute.

My question, the question for investigators now: Is how many of these interrogations were driven specifically by a desire to come up with the Saddam/al Qaeda link? It‘s essentially rivers coming together.

All day I've been seeing torture apologists all over TV frantically trying to block this particular line of inquiry. They know that it's potentially the most explosive revelation of all. If the White House ordered torture to try to get the prisoners to falsely confess to links between al Qaeda and Iraq ... well all bets are off.

I have to say that even in all my cynicism about the Cheney gang, this didn't occur to me, but now it seems obvious. They used torture techniques that were specifically designed to get false confessions after all. Is it really reasonable to believe they did that by accident?

Update: Marcy Wheeler did a slightly rough transcript of Liz Cheney's interview with Norah O'Donnell today. Liz seems a little nervous. I wonder why?