Pardon The CIA

No, seriously.

Ok, maybe not pardon, but immunize them from prosecution.

Like it or not…and BOY do I not like it….the CIA is necessary. Well, let me rephrase. The United States needs a robust and effective Intelligence apparatus. What initials we refer to it by is not that important. What is important is that we have am Intelligence gathering agency. Preferably a law abiding one. Definitely a non-politicized one. And VERY definitely, one that does not torture. And certainly one that, unlike our current CIA, does not maintain a network of secret prisons, torture ships, and a dedicated rendition airline.

The incredible infrastructure of America’s Industrial Torture Machine shocks the conscience of those whose consciences have not been sledgehammered into oblivion by the continuous parade of immoral actions of the Bush years. Bush and Cheney sold us a new reality of America as torturers and wagers of aggressive war, and apparently, as is our pavlovian consumerist wont, a LOT of Americans bought it. At the price of moral clarity and our national conscience.

As much as I have opposed and reviled the CIA throughout my life as they have traveled the globe toppling legitimate governments, starting wars and shaping the world from behind a black op veil….the CIA has always been a tool. A tool that much like the military, American Presidents use to enforce and extend (see Clausewitz) their foreign policy. At no time in the noxious, stained history of the CIA has that been more poignant than here at the close of the most noxious, stained Presidential administration ever.

As we can see from this:


 One former CIA agent says that every punch, every slap, was individually authorized through Langley:

       The former intelligence officer says the interrogators’ activities were carefully directed from Langley, Va., every step of the way.


“It wasn’t up to individual interrogators to decide, ‘Well, I’m gonna slap him. Or ‘I’m going to shake him.’ Or ‘I’m gonna make him stay up for 48 hours.’ Each one of these steps, even though they’re minor steps, like the intention shake– or the openhanded belly slap, each one of these had to have the approval of the Deputy Director for Operations.

       “. . . . [B]efore you laid a hand on him, you had to send in the cable saying, ‘He’s uncooperative. Request permission to do X.’ And that permission would come. ‘You’re allowed to him one time in the belly with an open hand.'”

   Think about how extraordinary that statement is! Agents in the field, were marionettes, getting directions from the White House basement, relayed through CIA HQ at Langley, about every single blow, every zap, every drop of waterboarding. And Cheney admits it!

   It also turns out that the White House has it’s own interrogation room in the basement. Sounds more like Saddam’s basement than our president’s, doesn’t it?

(Please excuse the triple link! It was the best way to H/T all concerned.)

Though it is far from a completely accurate analogy, given their nefarious covert history, the CIA is a tool. In this case, a tool the Bush Administration used to torture, murder, and who knows what else.

If someone else had written what I have just written, MY first instinct would be to object! I would object on the grounds of Nuremberg. I would object that following orders is no excuse for ‘underlings’ to break the law and every moral code.

But at Nuremburg, unlike our present situation, the LEADERS were also on trial….not JUST the underlings.

Yes the underlings are responsible for their actions. But they are NOT responsible for the policy of torture that led to the their actions.

If you do not punish the people who actively told them to torture, how can you punish the torturers?

In our present situation, our present moral and political situation, all we have to do is look back at Abu Ghraib for the “Bad Apples” defense to know how this will play out IF Bushco has its way.

As long as they can pin it on the underlings, they will.

Did Lynndie England authorize the torture that she was part of? No the President and Vice-President did, they have admitted it.

Add in the fact that one of the Right Wing, torture supporting pundits (yes, YOU Joe Scarborough) biggest arguments against prosecuting torture…..and the CIA’s argument too….is that prosecuting torture would cause them to “look over their shoulder” as they go about doing their covert jobs.

Which I must point out, is total bullshit if you are calling the WH for torture instructions.

Yes, the CIA tortured and that is bad. But in THIS case, they were ordered to torture and even told HOW to torture. They were told to torture by The President of the United States. And they were told, by The President of the United States, that it was legal. Because he SAID it was legal. They were told to set up an Industrial Torture Machine. And they did.

But if we only prosecute them and not the President, Vice-President and Secretary of Defense who told them to torture…then not only will justice not be served, but future Presidents themselves will be, in essence, pre-pardoned for torture. Knowing that only underlings, as guilty as they may be of carrying out illegal and immoral acts, will be the ONLY ones who are held accountable.



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  1. we are well and truly down the Rabbit hole!


  2. … giving immunity to underlings to get the big fish has always been a part of our justice system.

    But then I think of Monica Goodling …

    … or try NOT to, lol.

    “I didn’t MEAN to break the law!”


    I have to wonder, after 8 years of BushCo, how much good intelligence we are receiving.

  3. thanks for the link.  It’s hardly my most original thought, but reflective of what I do when I’m not being obnoxious around here.

  4. what exactly is its purpose? I think I reject all the possible answers to the question.

  5. I think there should be a limited immunity with a time limit.

    If you don`t walk up & talk by a certain time, coming forward later when the heat is creeping closer to you, shouldn`t be good enough. As flagpole mentioned not all the “bad apples” are simply bad apples, some of them sought the work out of a wish to inflict pain on the brown skinned hordes.(maybe)

    A limited immunity should also be dependent on all the truth, nothing but the truth & the degree of involvement in respective circumstances.

    Once the first few dominoes start falling, there should be nothing but a groundswell of requests for immunity. I am hopeful that those who knew about it, were ordered to “do” it, or later regretted their actions, but all felt eventually how wrong it was to torture, would have documented some of the details.

    I believe that some must have been slowly indoctrinated in an escalating degree of wrongness, along with the peer pressure factor, that by the time they realized how horrible their respective acts were, they may have realized they were screwed if they did speak up, or were convinced by worse offenders that they were screwed more than had they actually spoken up.

    I believe though, that the policy makers in the halls of power, who disregarded the Geneva convention, the basic rules of humanity, & abandoned the possible future American POW`s to identical torture, should be given the best justice the US can provide, as was accorded the Japanese in Tokyo, & the war criminals in Nuremburg, where the death penalty was handed down repeatedly, for offenses that have been admitted to here in the US, by the same policy makers.

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