Funny Interview …

With a German judge issuing arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents in connection with the US rendition program, the former CIA operations chief for Europe gave a funny interview with Der Spiegel (he is also hawking a book). Some of my favorite lines:

It was Vice President Dick Cheney who talked about the “dark side” we have to turn on. When he spoke those words, he was articulating a policy that amounted to “go out and get them.” His remarks were evidence of the underlying approach of the administration, which was basically to turn the military and the agency loose and let them pay for the consequences of any unfortunate — or illegal — occurences …

Let me give you a general thought: From the perspective of the White House, it was smart to blur the lines about what was acceptable and what was not in the war on terrorism. It meant that whenever someone was overzealous in some dark interrogation cell, President (George W.) Bush and his entourage could blame someone else. The rendition teams are drawn from paramilitary officers who are brave and colorful. They are the men who went into Baghdad before the bombs and into Afghanistan before the army. If they didn’t do paramilitary actions for a living, they would probably be robbing banks. Perhaps the Bush Administration deliberately created a gray area on renditions …

But never before have I seen the manipulation of intelligence that has played out since Bush took office. As chief of Europe I had a front-row seat from which to observe the unprecedented drive for intelligence justifying the Iraq war.

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