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Monday, April 30, 2012

José Rodriguez's Defense of CIA Torture Sounds Better in the Original German

With apologies to the late, great Molly Ivins, Jose´ Rodriguez’s defense of torture on on “60 Minutes” Sunday night sounds better in the original German.

Ivins, a legendary Texas journalistic crusader, once said the same about long ago Republican candidate Pat Buchanan's defense of right-wing "culture wars" against liberals.

But back to Rodriguez: Imagine a blonde-haired blue-eyed Nazi German general explaining in an interview -- regretfully, of course -- they had to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on the Polish resistance.

“Zeh ver tretening us, killing German soldiers. Vat ver vee to do?”

Of course, there’s no “moral equivalency” between Polish guerrillas and al Qaeda's religious thugs. But declining to torture among other things, is what makes us different from Nazis.

Watch “60 Minutes” yourself. Make up your own mind.

But also note that one thing that’s constant in police states is the mentality of the generals and colonels who make the torture system run.

Here’s a take on Rodriguez from someone who watched him close-up from inside the CIA. It’s not flattering.

Rodriguez could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

“I see we have another self-serving book, this time from Jose Rodriguez.
“José was D/NCS when I was working [on the 7th floor] and while he's a nice man, he's the poster child for the Peter Principle (rising to your own level of incompetence) - totally out of his league, and completely eclipsed while in that job by Steve Kappes [who was Deputy CIA Director at the time].   
“In an awkward series of events, José had been Kappes' replacement when Porter Goss ‘fired’ Kappes and [his deputy Michael] Sulick in November 2004. He had no business moving up that high, and we all suspected his promotion was because Goss wanted someone who would be a ‘lapdog’ and not cause problems, which is what he got with José -- the issue with the destroyed tapes notwithstanding.

“José rose from relative nothingness to D/NCS [Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service] very quickly. Granted, he was head of CTC” -- Counterterrorism Center --  “at the time, but even that was somewhat suspect given that he had no CT background. 
“He was incredibly stiff as D/NCS - no real ideas on where to go, which wasn't all that surprising given his lack of senior experience.
“The one incident I recall was when he called a world-wide COS [CIA chiefs of station] conference. He brought back every COS from around the world to HQS in the spring of 2005 for a one-day meeting to discuss new ‘directions’ for NCS.  We heard all these proposals for operations, personnel, etc, and then found out at the end of the day from Jose himself that NOTHING was funded -- none of what he discussed was ever put into being, and we wasted probably about $1 million in travel costs for all 200+ of [them] to come back for this meeting ... 
“Like I said, he's a nice man, but he had no idea how to interact with Congress, other organizations within the community, or basically how to play the political game.  We all suspected that he was pulled up by Goss because Goss knew he was a lightweight and thus wouldn't stir the waters.  Steve [Kappes] was, for all purposes, D/NCS while Jose had the title. 
“Even with all of his ‘I was trying to protect our people’ line, there's a very healthy dose of self-preservation involved here. 
“The fact that he's now coming out with a book after he made such a big deal of remaining undercover during his tenure as D/NCS ... really lowers him in my view -- and I was no huge fan of his to begin with.”
And that's who drove the CIA into a ditch.