CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

2009

July - August

Materials presented in chronological order.

Warrick, Joby, and Peter Finn. "Internal Rifts on Road to Torment: Interviews Offer More Nuanced Look at Roles of CIA Contractors, Concerns of Officials During Interrogations." Washington Post, 19 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[A]s the Senate intelligence committee examines the CIA's interrogation program, investigators are focusing in part on [James E.] Mitchell and John 'Bruce' Jessen, former CIA contractors who helped design and oversee Abu Zubaida's interrogation. These men have been portrayed as eager proponents of coercion." However, an account by a former U.S. official, "alongside the recollections of those familiar with events at the CIA's secret prison in Thailand, yields a more nuanced understanding of their role than has previously been available."

Pincus Walter. "Senate Panel Backs DNI In Turf Battle With CIA." Washington Post, 23 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In its 22 July 2009 report on the fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization bill, the SSCI asserted that DNI Dennis Blair, "not CIA Director Leon Panetta, should have ultimate authority to name the top U.S. intelligence delegates overseas."

Panetta, Leon. "Congress and the CIA: Time to Move On." Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"I've become increasingly concerned that the focus on the past, especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action.... It is worth remembering that the CIA implements presidential decisions; we do not make them. Yet my agency continues to pay a price for enduring disputes over policies that no longer exist.... The time has come for both Democrats and Republicans to take a deep breath and recognize the reality of what happened after Sept. 11, 2001.... The country was frightened, and political leaders were trying to respond as best they could. Judgments were made. Some of them were wrong. But that should not taint those public servants who did their duty pursuant to the legal guidance provided."

Shane, Scott. "Interrogation Inc.: 2 U.S. Architects of Harsh Tactics in 9/11's Wake" New York Times, 12 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were military retirees and psychologists, on the lookout for business opportunities." They built "a thriving business that made millions of dollars selling interrogation and training services to the C.I.A.... The psychologists' subsequent fall from official grace has been as swift as their rise in 2002. Today the offices of Mitchell Jessen and Associates ... sit empty, its C.I.A. contracts abruptly terminated last spring."

Mazzetti, Mark. "C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help in Plan to Kill Jihadists." New York Times, 20 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to current and former government officials, the CIA "in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda.... Blackwater's work on the program actually ended years before [CIA Director Leon] Panetta took over the agency, after senior C.I.A. officials themselves questioned the wisdom of using outsiders in a targeted killing program." See also, Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith, "CIA Hired Firm for Assassin Program: Blackwater Missions Against Al-Qaeda Never Began, Ex-Officials Say," Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2009.

Risen, James, and Mark Mazzetti. "C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones." New York Times, 21 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to government officials and current and former employees, Xe Services (the former Blackwater) contractors, "at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan,... assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by [CIA] employees.... The role of the company in the Predator program highlights the degree to which the C.I.A. now depends on outside contractors to perform some of the agency's most important assignments." The contractors are "not involved in selecting targets or actual strikes. The targets are selected by the C.I.A., and employees at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., pull the trigger remotely."

Shanker, Thom. "U.S. Military Unit to Stay in Philippines." New York Times, 21 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to Pentagon officials, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will keep the "elite 600-troop counterinsurgency operation," known as the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, "deployed in the Philippines despite pressure to reassign its members to fulfill urgent needs elsewhere such as Afghanistan or Iraq.... Senior officials say the American force and partners in the Central Intelligence Agency were instrumental in successes by the Filipino armed forces in killing and capturing leaders of the militant group Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front."

Warrick, Joby, and R. Jeffrey Smith. "CIA Used Gun, Drill in Interrogation: IG Report Describes Tactics Against Alleged Cole Mastermind." Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to the CIA's inspector general's report on the agency's interrogation program, due to be made public on 24 August 2009, "CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured al-Qaeda commander [Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri] into giving up information,... former and current U.S. officials who have read the document said" on 21 August 2009. See also, Mark Mazzetti, "Report Provides New Details on C.I.A. Prisoner Abuse," New York Times, 23 Aug. 2009.

Johnston, David. "Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases." New York Times, 24 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to a person officially briefed on the matter, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility "has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing [CIA] employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects."

CNN, "Source: Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Interrogations," 24 Aug. 2009, reports that the Justice Department announced on 24 August 2009 that "Attorney General Eric Holder has asked federal prosecutor John Durham to examine whether CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists were illegal."

See Pam Benson, "CIA to Cover Legal Expenses of Employees Caught Up in Interrogation Probe, Official Says," CNN, 28 Aug. 2009, reports that CIA Director Leon Panetta has decided "to reimburse the legal expenses of agency officers who might be investigated for their roles in the controversial interrogation program, according to a U.S. intelligence official." See also, Walter Pincus, "CIA Will Cover Legal Fees: Policy Will Help Officers Ensnared in Interrogation Probe," Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2009, A10.

Kornblut, Anne E. "New Unit to Question Key Terror Suspects: Move Shifts Interrogation Oversight From the CIA to the White House." Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2009, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Senior administration officials said on 23 August 2009 that "President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects." The unit, named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) is comprised of "experts from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies." It "will be housed at the FBI but will be overseen by the National Security Council -- shifting the center of gravity away from the CIA and giving the White House direct oversight.... The director of the HIG is expected to come from the FBI, and the deputy will be selected from one of the intelligence agencies."

Lake, Eli. " Petraeus to Open Intel Training Center." Washington Times, 24 Aug. 2009. [http://www.washingtontimes.com]

Gen. David Petraeus is establishing Central Command's own intelligence organization, the Center for Afghanistan Pakistan Excellence. The center "will train military officers, covert agents and analysts who agree to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan for up to a decade." It will be headed by "Derek Harvey, a retired colonel in the Defense Intelligence Agency.... Harvey said the center would focus on integrating all sources of information to develop strategic products for both war fighters and decision makers in Afghanistan and Pakistan." He believes that too much reliance is placed "on intelligence sources and ... what is coming from provincial reconstruction teams, civil-affairs officers, commanders and operators on the ground" is not being fully integrated. Harvey "dismissed claims" that the CIA had been "cut out of the loop," noting that "the CIA had detailed many analysts to support his new center."

Finn, Peter, Joby Warrick, and Julie Tate. "CIA Report Calls Oversight of Early Interrogations Poor: 'Improvised, Inhumane' Techniques Were Result." Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2009, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"A partially declassified" report by the CIA Inspector General released on 24 August 2009 "describes the early implementation of the agency's interrogation program in 2002 and 2003 as ad hoc and poorly supervised, leading to the use of 'unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented' techniques.... But the report, noting the steady accumulation of guidelines from agency headquarters, said discipline and safeguards within the program 'improved considerably' over time. Still, the report pointed to ongoing tensions between interrogators in the field and officials at the CIA Counterterrorism Center as to when detainees were compliant and when the use of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' was appropriate."

Highlights from the 2004 report are available at: Washington Post, "The CIA Inspector General's Report," 25 Aug. 2009, A4. See also, Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, "C.I.A. Abuse Cases Detailed in Report on Detainees," New York Times, 25 Aug. 2009.

Shane, Scott, and Mark Mazzetti. "Report Shows Tight C.I.A. Control on Interrogations." New York Times, 26 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"[T]he strong impression that emerges" from the newly released documents on the CIA's interrogation program is one of "overwhelming control exercised from C.I.A. headquarters and the Department of Justice -- control Bush administration officials say was intended to ensure that the program was safe and legal." See also, Joby Warrick, Peter Finn, and Julie Tate, "CIA Releases Its Instructions For Breaking a Detainee's Will," Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2009.

Wall Street Journal. "The Real CIA News." 27 Aug. 2009. [http://online.wsj.com]

"Now that we've had a chance to read" the documents about CIA interrogations, "it's clear the real story isn't the few cases of abuse played up by the media. The news is that the program was thoughtfully developed, carefully circumscribed, briefed to Congress, and yielded information crucial to disrupting al Qaeda.... The outrage here isn't that government officials used sometimes rough interrogation methods to break our enemies. The outrage is that, years later, when the political winds have shifted and there hasn't been another attack, our politicians would punish the men and women who did their best to protect Americans in a time of peril."

Johnson, Loch K. "CIA Needs Vigilant Oversight, but It Won't Always Work." Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[H]igh-profile investigations will not transform human nature, turning intelligence officials -- or the presidents and White House aides who direct them -- into angels, unsusceptible to zeal and folly.... We will launch new investigations and introduce new reforms, but sometimes all we can do is clean up the messes after the fact. So let's get used to it."

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