(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
In June of 2007, John A. Rizzo had been the C.I.A’s acting general counsel on and off for most of the past six years, including the period in 2002 when the Bush administration was constructing a legal foundation for the agency’s then secret detention and interrogation program. As acting council, it was Mr. Rizzo has guided many agency leaders on the legal labyrinth of clandestine operations and the often ensuing investigations.
During his confirmation hearing’s for the permanent post before the Democratic controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, Senate Democrats pressed Mr. Rizzo about whether he agreed with a 2002 Justice Department memorandum that gave legal guidance to the C.I.A. program. The memorandum argued that nothing short of the pain associated with organ failure constituted illegal torture. The memorandum had been issued at the request from the agency on the use of interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, in secret detention centers overseas. While Mr, Rizzo testified that at the time he did not object to the memorandum, he told the Senators that he now felt that it was overly broad. In September, just before the was to vote to reject him for the position, the White House withdrew the nomination without explanation. Mr. Rizzo remained in his position until the Summer of 2009 when he retired after 30 years.
Now two years since his departure, Mr. Rizzo granted an interview to PBS’s Frontline, “Top Secret America” on September 6 and what he is saying further confirms that President Barack Obama has lied, and continues to lie, to the American people about the CIA’s secret programs and who knows what else.
I was part of the transition briefings of the incoming Obama team, and they signaled fairly early on that the incoming president believed in a vigorous, aggressive, continuing counterterrorism effort. Although they never said it exactly, it was clear that the interrogation program was going away. We all knew that.
But his people were signaling to us, I think partly to try to assure us that they weren’t going to come in and dismantle the place, that they were going to be just as tough, if not tougher, than the Bush people.
With a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations. Things continued. Authorities were continued that were originally granted by President Bush beginning shortly after 9/11. Those were all picked up, reviewed and endorsed by the Obama administration.
As a candidate, President Obama had promised “a top to bottom review of the threats we face and our abilities to confront them.” He pledged to overhaul of the Bush administration’s war on terror, which he criticized for compromising American values. He had also promised in 2008, that he would filibuster the reauthorization of FISA without major reforms. He lied then, too, voting for the act’s renewal and “promising”to say, to fix it later. Needless FISA not been “fixed” nor has the Patriot Act which has been extended for four years, unamended, at the president’s request. For this Mr. Obama has garnered the approval of admitted war criminal and former Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney who proudly proclaimed in an interview with Politico’s Mike Allen
“[Obama] ultimately had to adopt many of the same policies that we had been pursuing because that was the most effective way to defend the nation.”
Obama has continues these core Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, strengthening them and converting them from right-wing dogma into bipartisan consensus. Dick Cheney must be so proud.