Read time: 4 minutes

Col. Wilkerson: Dick Cheney Fully Informed About Prisoner Torture

A visibly angry and shaken former chief of staff to General Colin Powell laid responsibility at the feet of the one person who knew it all.
Views:

I share the anger Col. Wilkerson gets across during his interview with Chris Hayes about the lies and misdirection in the CIA torture program. Wilkerson was visibly angry during the entire interview, but nowhere was that more evident than when he pointed the finger directly at Cheney at the end.

Here's the transcript, but the video says it all.

HAYES: There's one thing that struck me in this report that I have to ask you about. This is in the summary that we got today.

An internal CIA email from July 2003 noted that "...the WH [White House] is extremely concerned that Secretary Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what's been going on."

You were working for Secretary Powell at that time. Your reaction to that.

WILKERSON: I'm sure that's probably the case. I got to see him -- I worked for him for twelve years and I got to see him blow his stack worse than he'd ever blown it before at the CIA with George Tenet and John McLaughlin, because he sensed what was being done to him.

He took me into a room and told me to cut about 25 percent of the presentation he was supposed to give out. Told me to take it out because it was worthless. He was even worried that it wasn't accurate.

And then within a few minutes George Tenet showed up with the spellbinding news that high level Al Qaeda operatives had revealed under interrogation, he said -- no revealing that he was being tortured at the time -- that he'd revealed significant contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's operatives in Baghdad.

This was a flat-out lie. We later learned it was Sheik Al-Libi, we learned he was being tortured, no US personnel were even present, and that in a week to ten days he recanted what he'd given under torture.

So this is the kind of thing that was happening when I was out at the CIA for five days and nights with these people who are now trying to tell the American people that they are competent and they were telling the truth.


↓ Story continues below ↓

HAYES: So I just want to clarify here. So you didn't know about the program, the Secretary didn't know about the program and it looks like Condi Rice didn't know about the program. There were a lot of people at the highest levels of government in the executive branch who were not read in to the fact that we were torturing people.

WILKERSON: I think that's true. I'll go out on a limb and I'll say the only person who was completely read in and no one knows all the details, but the one who was read in on both the need for the law to cover their rear ends and the need to continue the program because it was effective was Richard Bruce Cheney.

He was the man in the shadows orchestrating all of this from his position in the White House.

And he has appeared on every cable news channel since he left office, treated as though he is a legitimate commentator about matters of national security.

I'll go out on a limb, too. I'll say that based on this report alone, the CIA should be entirely disbanded and cease to exist as an entity. Then the public should be fully informed as to every operative at home and abroad who has ever been a part of this agency, because it has created monsters.

When those monsters retire or leave their posts with the CIA, they live in your neighborhoods, shop in your markets, and get jobs as "security experts", poisoning our politics and maybe even running for office. But you won't know that, because CIA operatives' identities are mandated to remain secret by law.

If Republicans in Congress want so badly to repeal something, they should consider repealing all sections of law that birthed the CIA. If they're so desperate for hearings, they should consider holding hearings geared toward making torture a capital crime, whether performed by the CIA or the U.S. military.

We all have to wear the taint Richard Bruce Cheney brought down on us with his full-throated endorsement of inhuman and evil methods of causing pain, humiliation and harm to other human beings. It's wrong that there's no consequences for those who perpetrated it, and it's wrong that Cheney isn't languishing in a privatized prison somewhere.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.