Partial Transcript from Crooks and Liars:

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.

Danner’s full account of the Red Cross report, US Torture: Voices from the Black sites,the ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees” in CIA Custody by the International Committee of the Red Cross is chilling. Danner’s opening paragraph reads like the opening statement by the prosecution in a criminal trial.

We think time and elections will cleanse our fallen world but they will not. Since November, George W. Bush and his administration have seemed to be rushing away from us at accelerating speed, a dark comet hurtling toward the ends of the universe. The phrase “War on Terror”—the signal slogan of that administration, so cherished by the man who took pride in proclaiming that he was “a wartime president”—has acquired in its pronouncement a permanent pair of quotation marks, suggesting something questionable, something mildly embarrassing: something past. And yet the decisions that that president made, especially the monumental decisions taken after the attacks of September 11, 2001—decisions about rendition, surveillance, interrogation—lie strewn about us still, unclaimed and unburied, like corpses freshly dead.

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