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Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

 

This Man Deserves Another Pultizer

Seymour Hersh is at it again, this time tracing the responsibility for Abu Ghraib directly to Rumsfeld's office, and that of his Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone:
According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

Rumsfeld, during appearances last week before Congress to testify about Abu Ghraib, was precluded by law from explicitly mentioning highly secret matters in an unclassified session. But he conveyed the message that he was telling the public all that he knew about the story. He said, “Any suggestion that there is not a full, deep awareness of what has happened, and the damage it has done, I think, would be a misunderstanding.” The senior C.I.A. official, asked about Rumsfeld’s testimony and that of Stephen Cambone, his Under-Secretary for Intelligence, said, “Some people think you can bullshit anyone.”

You have to admire Hersch, and the New Yorker, for the canny way this story is getting out. The facts alone are damning enough, but the fact that Rummy and Cambone have spent most of the last two weeks denying the linkages that Hersch has just detailed, makes it -- as Rummy might put it -- "radioactive."

The story also explains at lot about Cambone's sudden appearance alongside Major General Taguba during the recent Congressional hearings -- and confirms that Evan Bayh was on the right track during this memorable exhcange:

BAYH: My second question involves the dispute between you and the general about who had tactical control at the prison. As I understand it, he believes that the military intelligence individuals did exert practical, tactical control and it's your opinion that they did not.

As I understand your position, the intelligence authorities were given control over the facility but not control over the individuals running the facility.

What exactly does that mean? How do you have control over a facility but not the people who are running it?

CAMBONE: The same way that...

BAYH: What? Were they in charge of the plumbing, or the...

CAMBONE: No, sir. Well -- in the same way you have a building supervisor who doesn't tell the tenants how to do their business.

Right. Some people think you can bullshit anyone. I have a feeling we have another interesting week ahead of us.

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