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In the NY Times:

"WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

[Lee: Emphasis -- Obama's own National Intelligence Director]

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday."


"Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

Why was this deleted? If the Obama administration is going to release highly classified documents in an unprecedented basis, claiming to do so for The Noble Truth, but redact half the story (what intelligence was actually gained, potential lives saved, plans thwarted, etc.) it smells a lot less like The Truth, and more like controlling the narrative.

In other words: Rank Politics.

My favorite part of the story is at the very end.

"“Do you believe the C.I.A.’s interrogation detention program has been effective?” Senator Christopher Bond, a Missouri Republican, asked him.

“I’ll have to look into that more closely before I can give you a good answer on that one,” Admiral Blair answered."

So, he's going to go on the talk show circuit and talk about how bad these tactics were, but can't give a straight answer about whether they worked or not? Sounds to me like pretty much everyone in the new administration has one goad; fuck the truth, we have a narrative to advance, and that narrative is that Bush tortured these poor, innocent bad guys.

All I want to hear are straight answers from someone. Anyone. Did it work or didn't it? Did we stop bad guys or didn't we?

Apparently there isn't a politician alive who can give yes or no answers.

Which is why, Frank, we have independent, public investigations. Let's make the information public, with prudent protections of confidentiality, to see if it worked, and what was done and for what reasons.

I note you react to none of the contradictions I pointed out in the article you linked to.

And as for you, Lee, I note that you apparently didn't read the part of the article where Admiral Blair said he thought we could have got the same information without torture, and that the whole thing wasn't worth it.

Politicians aren't the only people avoiding the truth.

Oh I did, and I respect the Admiral's position, because he seems to be shooting straight and I can weigh his judgement and the various facts that come out accordingly.

But if the Obama administration merely "happens" to release documents that help their case, yet keeps classified or redacted those that don't help their case -- as they have done so far and show no signs of changing -- then I know to treat this as merely politics, and judge that accordingly as well.

Lee, the Obama Administration didn't "happen" to release any documents. The documents were released as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request. FOIAs aren't optional. If there is no legal basis upon which the documents can be retained, they have to be released. That's the law!

I agree that all the documents should be released. But Lee, you need to engage a little in reality. Your nutty is showing.

"All I want to hear are straight answers from someone. Anyone. Did it work or didn't it? Did we stop bad guys or didn't we?"

I would like to hear those answers, too. I abhor weaselly releases of document that try to stress a point rather than disclose what was actually said. But the important thing to remember is that we, as a nation, can not practice nor condone torture. This is one of the things that keep us from being "bad guys." If we torture, we become as bad as our adversaries. Lawless, barbaric, not worth fighting for.
I've been repeating this for a few days, now. I read people's comments and assume that you are thoughtful folks with families and that you care about this country. I have to wonder, though, at which small, incremental step on the road to barbarity you will balk. We, unfortunately know the answer when that question was asked in Munich in 1942. We know the answer when it was asked in Yugolslavia in the early '90s. We know the answer when it was asked in Rwananda in 1994. I really want to believe that we are better than that as a nation, that Frank would defend other's rights as he would defend his own because that is what keeps this country strong and on the right path.
I find the back and forth over "your side lies, too" beside the point. If Obama allows torture to continue he becomes evil. No comparison with Bush is necessary. He wouldn't be less or more evil than Cheney. I don't think that truth and justice are abstract concepts. I don't think that "just a small, tiny, really hardly any, bit" of torture is okay. I hope some of those defending torture think about truth and justice and come to the same conclusion. Then go all out on the Obama administration for pulling shit like redacting documents to make them look good but also follow those documents where they lead to make sure we know what civilized human being stood there and passed the command down the chain that said we could become less than human.

Your nutty is showing.

Read that, and immediately thought of that episode of Friends where the guy wears the loose running shorts and is flashing brain all over the place to the horror of bystanders....


Now back to more trivial things.

The methods of interrogation/torture (pick your term... any term) were released, but the results, the benefit that would be part of any cost/benefit analysis, was blacked over. Reportedly the larger chunk of whole pages.

It is these blacked out pages that I should have been more precise on in using the ironic quote marks. The blacked out pages that could potentially be used to undercut the argument the Obama administration is trying to make.

Which fits the pattern of Adm. Blair's admission that the tactics used did work, also being ommitted from the draft given to reporters.

If they're going to give us the story, give the full story, or they leave themselves open -- with legitimacy -- to political shenanigans.

That last sentence should read "... to the appearance of engaging in political shenanigans."

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