Behind The CIA's Black Sites
The New Yorker has an interesting piece about the now infamous program and the validity of the evidence it produces…
In March, Mariane Pearl, the widow of the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, received a phone call from Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General. At the time, Gonzalesâ€™s role in the controversial dismissal of eight United States Attorneys had just been exposed, and the story was becoming a scandal in Washington. Gonzales informed Pearl that the Justice Department was about to announce some good news: a terrorist in U.S. custodyâ€”Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who was the primary architect of the September 11th attacksâ€”had confessed to killing her husband. (Pearl was abducted and beheaded five and a half years ago in Pakistan, by unidentified Islamic militants.) The Administration planned to release a transcript in which Mohammed boasted, â€œI decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.â€
Pearl was taken aback. In 2003, she had received a call from Condoleezza Rice, who was then President Bushâ€™s national-security adviser, informing her of the same news. But Riceâ€™s revelation had been secret. Gonzalesâ€™s announcement seemed like a publicity stunt. Pearl asked him if he had proof that Mohammedâ€™s confession was truthful; Gonzales claimed to have corroborating evidence but wouldnâ€™t share it. â€œItâ€™s not enough for officials to call me and say they believe it,â€ Pearl said. â€œYou need evidence.â€ (Gonzales did not respond to requests for comment.)
Sadly, this isn’t surprising.
What’s most revealing, though, is how much we’re toeing the line between right and wrong. Passages like this bear that out…
A former C.I.A. officer, who supports the agencyâ€™s detention and interrogation policies, said he worried that, if the full story of the C.I.A. program ever surfaced, agency personnel could face criminal prosecution. Within the agency, he said, there is a â€œhigh level of anxiety about political retributionâ€ for the interrogation program. If congressional hearings begin, he said, â€œseveral guys expect to be thrown under the bus.â€ He noted that a number of C.I.A. officers have taken out professional liability insurance, to help with potential legal fees.
My question is do we really think this is a sustainable method in the long fight against Islamic extremism? Doesn’t seem like it to me. It doesn’t seem like it to one of Daniel Pearl’s friends either…
Asra Nomani, the Pearlsâ€™ friend, said of the Mohammed confession, â€œIâ€™m not interested in unfair justice, even for bad people.â€ She went on, â€œDanny was such a person of conscience. I donâ€™t think he would have wanted all of this dirty business. I donâ€™t think he would have wanted someone being tortured. He would have been repulsed. This is the kind of story that Danny would have investigated. He really believed in American principles.â€
Ahh yes, but what are American principles nowadays?