urged caution in destroying the tapes…

Posted on Thursday 20 December 2007

White House Lawyers Told Of Videotapes
CIA Chief Says They Urged Caution in Destroying Tapes

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told lawmakers privately last week that three White House lawyers were briefed in 2004 about the existence of videotapes showing the interrogation of two al-Qaeda figures, and they urged the agency to be "cautious" about destroying the tapes, according to sources familiar with his classified testimony. The three White House officials present at the briefing were David S. Addington, then Vice President Cheney’s chief counsel; Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel; and John B. Bellinger III, then the top lawyer at the National Security Council, according to Hayden’s closed-door testimony before the Senate intelligence committee. When told that some high-ranking CIA officials were demanding that the tapes be destroyed, the White House lawyers "consistently counseled caution," said one U.S. official familiar with Hayden’s testimony. Another source said that Harriet E. Miers followed up with a similar recommendation in 2005, making her the fourth White House lawyer "urging caution" on the action.
I think this is supposed to exonerate the White House – to be a defense of some kind. The White House lawyers, when faced with the question of whether the C.I.A. should pre-emptively destroy some tapes of people being tortured, "consistently counseled caution." That sounds like "don’t get caught" to me. I remember back then. Bush was stumping Congress for retroactive immunity for C.I.A. Agents. I suppose the C.I.A. Agents were saying they weren’t doing any more of that torture stuff unless they were assured they weren’t going to be immune from prosecution. My fantasy is that they were saying the same thing the telecoms are saying, "You told us to do this, but we’re beginning to feel set up. You tell us to do something, and then when it falls apart and becomes public, we take the hit. No thanks!" That’s what happened in the U.S. Attorney firings. The D.O.J. officials assembled at the White House to discuss the coming Congressional Hearings and Rove said to them, "you’re going to have to tell them why you did this" not "why we did this." So I hear "consistently counseled caution" as not taking responsibility, covering their backsides, and hanging the C.I.A. out to dry [for following orders]. Ask Scooter Libby…
u·ni·tar·y ex·ec·u·tive /ˈyunɪˌtÉ›ri  ɪgˈzÉ›kyÉ™tɪv/
      1. a government with all of the power and none of the responsibility
As Harry Truman didn’t say, "The buck stops there!"

    December 20, 2007 | 7:40 AM

    My Dad use to say the quote a lot “He protest too much”( . Well, that’s what the White House crowd did yesterday when the NYTimes front page story said that the WH was much more involved than they originally said. Dana Perino did her little words dance saying She never said what the Times wrote even though no one accused her of saying it. Does She, Bush, Cheney, Addington, and Fielding think that we are all Christmas shopping and too busy to pay attention. I don’t think so.

    December 20, 2007 | 7:54 AM

    I forgot to say that in all the spy movies I’ve ever seen, you hear the boss say if you get caught you’re on your own. I was a kid when the spy pilot Gary Powers was caught by the Soviet Union. President Eisenhower did something surprising when he admitted that Powers was indeed spying for the United States when he was caught flying over Russia. I remember commentators on tv saying that they were shocked that the president admitted the truth to the world. Bush would never admit that he had the tapes burned because Cheney has already told him it’s for the good of the country to lie. Bush wouldn’t recognize honor if he tripped on it.

    December 20, 2007 | 12:17 PM

    “Bush wouldn’t recognize honor if he tripped on it” is completely right. I don’t say the word “honor” when I talk about Bush for that reason. It seems like not just a quality he lacks, it’s a word he wouldn’t even understand the meaning of…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.