March 18, 2009



Rachel Maddow talks to Mark Danner who recently published an article in The New York Review of Books US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites.

Maddow: One of the remarkable things about the similarities between the different prisoner's descriptions is not just that it implies that they couldn't have all come up with the same story. It also implies that this was a very organized situation. This is not rogue CIA officers taking the gloves off and deciding what to do in the moment. What do you know? What do you believe we know about the level of coordination between officials at these black sites and officials in Washington who might have pursued this as a matter of policy?

Danner: Well we know first of all that the interrogators were in constant touch with their superiors at CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. In fact there is one of the interrogators of Abu Zubaydah Mr. John Kiriakou gave an interview to ABC News that is, you can find on the Internet in which he detailed this rather extensively. I quote from this report in which Mr. Kiriakou essentially says every time we had to use a new procedure, if we had to him him, slap him, whatever you would have to cable headquarters and get approval from the Deputy Director of Operations which is a very high position in the CIA.

Meanwhile the Director of Central Intelligence at the time, this was the spring and summer of 2002 in the case of Abu Zubaydah, was George Tenet who was traveling across the river every day to principles meetings at the White House. The principles committee includes the National Security Adviser, then Condoleeza Rice, the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of State Colin Powell, the then Attorney General John Ashcroft, the highest law enforcement official in the United States of course. All of whom were briefed on this day by day. Not least because George Tenet apparently was worried that he would get stuck with this.

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