James Risen Speaks
James Risen, co-author of the New York Times blockbuster article exposing warrant-less spying on Americans, appeared on NBC's Today Show yesterday morning. Risen has published a new book, "State of War", that includes Bush's NSA Wiretap program along with other damning revelations.
Risen made some important points during his interview:
- 12 or more officials blew the whistle on NSA program. Risen describes these people as patriots who believed that the spying program was illegal. "They were motivated by the purest reasons."
- Risen reports that Bush may have suggested that pain medication be withheld from detainees. There is some evidence that this may have been the beginnings of a slippery slope which led to torture and the mistreatment of detainees.
- The CIA asked as many as 30 Iraqi-Americans to go to Iraq prior to the war and use their contacts to determine the state of Iraq's WMD programs. In each case, the individual returned to report that all of Iraq's WMD programs had been ceased or destroyed in the prior Gulf war. Iraq nuclear program, in particular, was said to have been destroyed by bombings in the first Gulf war. The CIA dismissed the reports as Saddam's propaganda. Here again, we have more evidence that the Bush Administration ignored intelligence that did not help their goal of starting a preemptive war on Iraq.
- During the period from 9/11 through the beginning of the Iraq war, Risen say that the checks and balances on the Executive Branch broke down. Foreign policy was radicalized at the hands of Rumsfeld, Tenet, Cheney, Rice and a few others who would not allow career professionals in the State Department to participate.
So how did the revelation of the "warrantless eavesdropping" Bush was engaged in actually hurt national security?
---guest blogged by David Edwards