Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tale of the tapes, part 3

The saga of the destroyed CIA interrogation tapes continues to be an intriguing mystery. Well, perhaps not to some, whereupon Wednesday this story was just another article of impeachment for the Times until they got busted by Perino. Apparently those shades of gray the left always likes to discuss don't apply to conservatives for some reason.

There are other possibilities, of course. Does anyone in America think the CIA is not beyond doing something like this on their own? Government pensions are lucrative. But let's say the administration secretly did order the destruction of the tapes--NOT because they might have identified agents or provided massive jihadist propaganda, but because whatever the detainees said after they cracked was too sensitive for public consumption.

Here's what Gerald Posner said in 2003 about Zubaydah's gut-spill in his book "Why America Slept":
To the surprise of the CIA team watching the event unfold live on video, Zubaydah said that 9/11 changed nothing because both Prince Ahmed and Mir knew beforehand that an attack was scheduled for American soil that day. They just didn't know what it would be, nor did they want to know more than that. The information had been passed to them, said Zubaydah, because bin Laden knew they could not stop it without knowing the specifics, but later they would be hard-pressed to turn on him if he could disclose their foreknowledge.
One could say that since this information was relayed to Posner in 2003 it suggests it wasn't all that super-sensitive, which might shoot down the protection theory--unless the waterboarding process actually brought out the grimy details. Posner notes that all the high level contacts mentioned from both the Saudi and Pakistani governments died under mysterious circumstances within a year of the revelation. All coincidences, of course (dying of thirst happens all the time).

So my mind is open. I'm willing to believe Bush made the tapes go away because of their Abu Ghraib deluxe quality. Or that he was afraid of agents, and administration officials, being hauled off to the Hague one day for the ultimate in political gain. Or that rogues in the intel community were once again trying to get a Democrat elected. Or hell, that the tapes show exactly what the 'program' consists of, which is what Bush has been trying to protect all along. People always assume the worst.

Here's another fun possibility, consider it a plug for the value of deflection. Posner's book came out in late 2003, just as the Valerie Plame /Joe Wilson brouhaha was heating up. About the same time we were coming up empty on finding weapons in Iraq, a previous slam dunk according to Tenet. The CIA was on the hook for missing a massive attack then the main stated reason for removing Saddam, all while a blue ribbon commission was investigating their actions leading up to 9/11.

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