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What next!

August 28, 2009


By Michael S. Smith II, SCHotline Contributing Editor

Mr. Smith is executive editor of The Ethical Standard, a publication produced by The Free Enterprise Foundation, a think tank housed in Charleston, S.C. at The Citadel (

Writing his book Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger asserted nuance is the essence of statesmanship. If there is much truth to this maxim, President Obama and members of his administration are writing their roles in history as anything but those of statesmen.

Responding to a request issued by Attorney General Eric Holder, on August 24 CIA declassified portions of an Inspector General’s Special Review published in May of 2004. Titled “Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities: September 2001 – August 2003,” this report will serve as the first piece of publicly disclosed discovery materials in the Department of Justice’s special investigation of alleged abuses perpetrated by CIA interrogators against suspected terrorists.

This news arrived shortly after the Obama administration made public plans hatched by CIA to create a program that would have targeted high-level terrorists for assassination. As if Americans expected anything less from “the company” following 9/11!

Clearly the administration is trying to cast intelligence officers who worked to protect America after 9/11 in the same light as the terrorists who they were working to glean information from in order to prevent future “man made” catastrophic events from occurring at home and abroad.

One has to ask: Have members of Obama’s team lost their minds? Seriously: This is nucking futs!

Yes, there are sections contained in the report which highlight the trepidations expressed by several interrogators, trepidations regarding how their activities may be construed by any prospective future investigations into their handiwork — investigations like the one being opened by Eric Holder. There is even a portion of the report which suggests the uses of enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding are perhaps an affront to America’s stated positions on human rights, and that such is particularly problematic when taking into account the U.S. Department of State’s public condemnations of similar tactics commonly used by other countries.

Still, the results speak for themselves, and America cannot afford for CIA to slide back into the risk-averse spell it fell under during the Clinton-era (i.e. the period when Osama bin Laden’s network prepared to unleash the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the world).

In fact, located on pages 86-89, Sections 214-218 outline various details of how the uses enhanced interrogation techniques have yielded significant gains for intelligence officers leading our fight against bin Laden’s network.

According to those sections of the report:

“Between 9/11 and the end of April 2003, the Agency produced over 3,000 intelligence reports from detainees. Most of the reports came from intelligence provided by the high value detainees …

“Detainees have provided information on Al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups. Information of note includes: the modus operandi of Al-Qa’ida, … terrorists who are capable of mounting attacks in the United States …

“Detainees, both planners and operatives, have also made the Agency aware of several plots planned for the United States and around the world.”

In section 216, one finds the following shocking piece of history: “Detainee information has assisted in the identification of terrorists. For example, information from Abu Zubaydah helped lead to the identification of Jose Padilla and Binyarn Muhammed — operatives who had plans to detonate a uranium-topped dirty bomb in either Washington, D.C., or New York City.”

After reading the report I cannot help but suggest President Obama seems to be developing a nasty proclivity for self-sabotaging politically motivated decisions. As William Murchison of Real Clear Politics recently wrote of the matter, “Around the presidential neck, this spectacular blunder will dangle, albatross-like — long after Obama starts to wish he’d never heard of the CIA or, for that matter, the left of the left of the left.”

It is time for the Obama administration to remove its utterly unethical and petty pursuits of partisan political gains from its (mis)management of organizations which operate at the center of the American foreign policy process. The impacts of this new investigation will reverberate across our entire defense sector, and the fallout will be disastrous for morale at every level of every agency and organization part of that sector.

Targeting intelligence officers who have kept America safe from terrorist attacks since 9/11 with lawsuits will prove even more costly for our country than the administration’s profligate social programs agenda.

What next!


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. CIA permalink
    August 29, 2009 5:32 AM

    Michael, I enjoy your editorials but are you stupid?

    One day an SCHotline story is written “yy Michael Smith II.”

    Another is entitled “What next!” Note the exclamation point as opposed to the more appropriate question mark.

    Again, I like THE CONTENT of your editorials… but why not proof-read first?

  2. August 31, 2009 2:30 PM

    The exclamation point was not an (copy) editorial oversight — it replaced the question mark traditionally used to conclude an interrogative sentence to emphasize the rhetorical nature of the (exclamatory) remark, and to, of course, catch one’s attention.


    Michael S. Smith II

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