7 CIA Chiefs ask Obama to Cover up War Crimes, fear expanded investigation

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Dear Mr. President:

    We have served as Directors of Central Intelligence or Directors of the CIA for Presidents reaching back over 35 years. We respectfully urge you to exercise your authority to reverse Attorney General Holder’s August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.

~snip~

    Attorney General Holder’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute. Moreover, there is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused.

bold and italic added by diarist

     The last line is especially important in my opinion, as it proves Special Prosecutor John Durham and Attorney General Eric Holder may be taking this investigation all the way to the top, as they are required to do under the Constitution and International Law.

    Thankfully, long gone are the days when the CIA could lie with impunity and the DoJ was not independant, but a political tool of the Executive branch. I guess the CIA misses the good ole days of Bush/Cheney.

     Good thing those days are not coming back any time soon.  

    The letter was signed by former CIA directors Michael Hayden and Porter Goss, who worked for President George W. Bush; John Deutch and James Woolsey, who served during the Clinton administration; George Tenet, who worked for both President George W. Bush and President Clinton; William Webster, who served under President George H.W. Bush; and James Schlesinger, who headed the agency during the Nixon administration.

   CBSnews.com

     The only names of living CIA heads who have not signed are Ex President George H.W. Bush and current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

     I’d say that it’s safe to say that when Clinton and George W. Bush appointees oppose this investigation it can’t be considered a witch hunt. I’d also say that it is safe to say that when the head of the CIA under Nixon opposes something, you are doing the right thing.

     The full letter to the President plus analysis below the fold.

Here is the full letter to President Obama for those who would like to read it word for word.

September 18, 2009

The President

The White House

Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

We have served as Directors of Central Intelligence or Directors of the CIA for Presidents reaching back over 35 years. We respectfully urge you to exercise your authority to reverse Attorney General Holder’s August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.

Our reasons for making this recommendation are as follows.

The post-September 11 interrogations for which the Attorney General is opening an inquiry were investigated four years ago by career prosecutors. The CIA, at its own initiative, forwarded fewer than 20 instances where Agency officers appeared to have acted beyond their existing legal authorities. Career prosecutors under the supervision of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia determined that one prosecution (of a CIA contractor) was warranted. A conviction was later obtained. They determined that prosecutions were not warranted in the other cases. In a number of these cases the CIA subsequently took administrative disciplinary steps against the individuals involved. Attorney General Holder’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute. Moreover, there is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused.

If criminal investigations closed by career prosecutors during one administration can so easily be reopened at the direction of political appointees in the next, declinations of prosecution will be rendered meaningless. Those men and women who undertake difficult intelligence assignments in the aftermath of an attack such as September 11 must believe there is permanence in the legal rules that govern their actions. They must be free, as the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Lieberman, has put it: “to do their dangerous and critical jobs without worrying that years from now a future Attorney General will authorize a criminal investigation of them for behavior that a previous Attorney General concluded was authorized and legal.” Similar deference needs to be shown to fact-based decisions made by career prosecutors years ago.

Not only will some members of the intelligence community be subjected to costly financial and other burdens from what amounts to endless criminal investigations, but this approach will seriously damage the willingness of many other intelligence officers to take risks to protect the country. In our judgment such risk-taking is vital to success in the long and difficult fight against the terrorists who continue to threaten us.

Success in intelligence often depends on surprise and deception and on creating uncertainty in the mind of an enemy. As President you have the authority to make decisions restricting substantive interrogation or any other intelligence collection method, based on legal analyses and policy recommendations. But, the administration must be mindful that public disclosure about past intelligence operations can only help Al Qaeda elude US intelligence and plan future operations. Disclosures about CIA collection operations have and will continue to make it harder for intelligence officers to maintain the momentum of operations that have saved lives and helped protect America from further attacks.

Finally, another certain result of these reopened investigations is the serious damage done to our intelligence community’s ability to obtain the cooperation of foreign intelligence agencies. Foreign services are already greatly concerned about the United States’ inability to maintain any secrets. They rightly fear that, through these additional investigations and the court proceedings that could follow, terrorists may learn how other countries came to our assistance in a time of peril. The United States promised these foreign countries that their cooperation would never be disclosed. As a result of the zeal on the part of some to uncover every action taken in the post-9/11 period, many countries may decide that they can no longer safely share intelligence or cooperate with us on future counter-terrorist operations. They simply cannot rely on our promises of secrecy.

We support your stated commitment, Mr. President, to look to the future regarding these important issues. In our judgment the only way that is possible is if the criminal investigation of these interrogations that Attorney General Holder has re-opened is now re-closed.

Sincerely,

Michael Hayden

Porter Goss

George Tenet

John Deutch

R. James Woolsey

William Webster

James R. Schlesinger

RawStory.com

    The short version might as well read as

Dear Mr. President,

     Please cover up the CIA’s war crimes by abusing your office and becoming a war criminal yourself. Otherwise the terrorists win.

     Pretty, pretty please

                                      yours truly,

                                         30 years of CIA War Criminals

    Of course, the claims that CIA agents may have their morale harmed (feelings hurt) or that an investigation makes us less safe (to invade countries on false evidence derived by torture) is patently absurd, as evidenced by DoJ spokesman’s Matthew Miller’s statement below.

    Justice Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Holder works closely with the intelligence community to keep people safe, and he does not believe their commitment to conduct that important work will waver in any way.

CBSnews.com

    I’d also say that when Sen. Joe Lieberman (Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee) opposes something, it is in America’s interests, President Obama’s interests and the Democratic Party’s interests to do the opposite.

    The President and his Administration has repeatedly stated their opinion that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice should operate independantly of the White House and the Executive branch, as the founding fathers intended it. Further, we know that torture is a war crime and is a crime under American law. Even if the investigation by AG Holder and SP Durham is only limited to a narrow scope, it is impossible for that investigation not to run up against the OLC’s rulings under Yoo and Bybee, and that leads straight to Vice President Dick Cheney. It seems as though there is only one path for this to take if it is going to go anywhere at all, and that is to the top. The 9 Senators that asked AG Holder to play nice on War Crimes and VP Cheney’s previous and numerous statements clearly prove that the criminals within the previous Bush/Cheney Administration and the Republican party as a whole has much to fear from a thorough investigation, and judging from Holder and Durham’s records, that is what they are going to get.

     Of course, that is lost upon the CIA and the Republican party, who seems to think that they are entirely above the law that they are supposed to defend. It’s a good thing for law abiding Americans who respect the rule of law that President Obama is NOT President George W. Bush, and in Attorney General Eric Holder there truly is a new sherrif in town.

     Or so we all hope.

     Because it is obvious to everybody who is not a die hard Republican, Sen. Lieberman or a raving dittohead that torture is Un-American and against the law. It is also obvious that Iraq was a bullshit war of aggression and there were no WMD’s or substantial proof of WMD’s, other than the evidence that was gained by torture. Truly, Iraq WAS a war crime, from top to bottom, and, until we address that, we run the risk of the next President going to war with Australia of they feel like it, or torturing American citizens, or worse.

      Unlike the 7 CIA Chiefs who have asked President Obama to be a war criminal and cover up the crimes of the CIA, the Republican party and the Bush/Cheney Administration, I DO NOT want to “look forward”. I want to clean up the mess lefover by the Bushies. Until then, we are doomed to repeat the crimes made in our names, or worse. And that would be the greatest crime of all.

     So, my confidence is growing that AG Holder and SP Durham will do the right thing with respect to the rule of law. The fact that the CIA and Republican leaders are running scared only gives me greater hope that justice is on the way.

Also crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com

 

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  1. Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

    • Edger on September 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    at Talkleft:

    DOJ to Limit Criminal Investigations of CIA Abuses

    Attorney General Eric Holder took months to decide on whether to investigate any cases of abuse of detainees overseas with an eye towards criminal prosecution. He got a lot of praise (and in some venues, criticism) when he announced he’d consider it. The Washington Post reports the number of cases the DOJ may prosecute is down from more than a dozen to just a few .

    A senior official who took part in the review confirmed that of two dozen referrals, the Salt Pit episode was one of two or three cases close to being considered for criminal indictment.

    More..

  2. Read this and commented last night here.  You beat me to it!  But I’m so glad you posted it.  🙂

    Gee, why do I instantly think of someone?

    I can just see Cheney gettin’ “da boys” together and telling them softly to write Obama “da letter.”

    I guess Cheney still thinks he can somehow subvert the law(s). Whether Obama is for investigations or against investigations, it matters not. The Attorney General (Holder) has an official duty to see to it that the laws are upheld, albeit the Department of Justice has been a sham for a very long time now and then, too, there are many Republicans still in the DoJ fighting against any and all efforts of accountability of any nature whatsoever.  What part of war crimes do any of them not get?

    We need to REMIND Obama softly not to buckle to this pressure or, I would go further to not even respond. Afterall, how many countless times did Bush or any of them IGNORE anything and everything that was asked of them?

    (Been a little out of commission this week due to circumstances beyond my control, so I’ve still to listen to your radio success and will do so in due time, FYI.)

    • Joy B. on September 21, 2009 at 12:49 am

    …if Spain convicts these criminals in absentia because we wouldn’t. But it should be fun if any of them leave the country and get nabbed. I promise to laugh heartily.

  3. “re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.”

    Would be interesting if the investigation included 9/11, the day “that changed everything”.

    The former president (of Italy) told Italy’s oldest and most widely read newspaper, Corriere della Sera, roughly that:

    “[Bin Laden supposedly confessed] to the Qaeda September [attack] to the two towers in New York [claiming to be] the author of the attack of the 11, while all the [intelligence services] of America and Europe … now know well that the disastrous attack has been planned and realized from the CIA American and the Mossad with the aid of the Zionist world in order to put under accusation the Arabic Countries and in order to induce the western powers to take part … in Iraq [and] Afghanistan.”

    http://www.corriere.it/politic

    Hat tip to:

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/ar

    Are you surprised that the main stream media did not cover the story?

    For the record, I do not know exactly who really did 9/11, only that the official conspiracy theory violates the laws of physics and is therefore not true.

    Let’s get to the root of the issues.

    Thank you.

    Peace.

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