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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/18/09

What Did Democrats Really Know About Bush's Torture Program?

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Bradbury’s memos, released Thursday, include several footnotes to Helgerson’s report one of which states that the CIA used waterboarding “with far greater frequency than initially indicated” and used “large volumes of water” as opposed to the smaller amount the CIA said it intended to use. In fact, Bradbury's memos, while authorizing brutal techniques, also disputes the conclusions of Helgerson's still classified report that the interrogation techniques violated the Convention Against Torture. Thursday the allegations about the NSA’s surveillance activities “deserve and are receiving the fullest attention of the appropriate committees of Congress.”

Mayer further reported that the "2004 Inspector General's report, known as a 'special review,' was tens of thousands of pages long and as thick as two Manhattan phone books. It contained information, according to one source, that was simply 'sickening.'" The behavior it described, another knowledgeable source said, raised concerns not just about the detainees but also about the Americans who had inflicted the abuse, one of whom seemed to have become frighteningly dehumanized. The source said, "You couldn't read the documents without wondering, 'Why didn't someone say, "Stop!'""

Mayer wrote that Cheney stopped Helgerson from fully completing his investigation. That proves, Mayer contends, that as early as 2004 "the Vice President's office was fully aware that there were allegations of serious wrongdoing in The [interrogation] Program."

"Helgerson was summoned repeatedly to meet privately with Vice President Cheney" before his investigation was "stopped in its tracks." Mayer said that Cheney's interaction with Helgerson was "highly unusual."

As a result, McCarthy "worried that neither Helgerson nor the [CIA’s] Congressional overseers would fully examine what happened or why," according to the Post report.

McCarthy told a friend, according to the Post’s account: "She had the impression that this stuff has been pretty well buried. In McCarthy's view and that of many colleagues, friends say, torture was not only wrong but also misguided, because it rarely produced useful results."

In April 2006, 10 days before she was due to retire, McCarthy was fired from the CIA for allegedly leaking classified information to the media, a CIA spokeswoman told reporters at the time.

The CIA said McCarthy had spoken with numerous journalists, including The Washington Post's Dana Priest, who in November 2005 exposed the CIA's secret prison sites, where in 2002 the CIA videotaped its agents interrogating a so-called high-level detainee, Abu Zubaydah.

Following news reports of her dismissal from the CIA, McCarthy, through her attorney Ty Cobb, vehemently denied leaking classified information to the media. McCarthy, who is now in private practice as an attorney, did not return calls for comment.

The CIA said she failed a polygraph test after the agency launched an internal investigation in late 2005. The agency said the investigation was an attempt to find out who provided The Washington Post and The New York Times with information about its covert activities, including domestic surveillance, and it promptly fired her.

The Washington Post reported, "McCarthy was not an ideologue, her friends say, but at some point fell into a camp of CIA officers who felt that the Bush administration's venture into Iraq had dangerously diverted US counterterrorism policy. After seeing - in e-mails, cable traffic, interview transcripts and field reports - some of the secret fruits of the Iraq intervention, McCarthy became disenchanted, three of her friends say."

In October 2007, Hayden ordered an investigation into Helgerson’s office, focusing on internal complaints that the inspector general was on “a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.”

Original posted at The Public Record.

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
 
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