from Truth-Out Website
(Photo: CSIS: Center for
Strategic & International Studies/Flickr)
Last month, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released a blistering report that documented a secret drug interdiction program in Peru that was responsible for the death of an American missionary and her infant daughter in 2001.
The report provided a detailed study of the efforts of senior CIA leaders, including Deputy Director John McLaughlin and Deputy Executive Director John Brennan, to cover up Agency malfeasance, stonewalling the White House, the Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the flaws of the interdiction program.
Brennan, who was President Obama's original
choice to be CIA director until the report complicated the confirmation
process, is currently the deputy director of the National Security
Few people remember that it was McLaughlin who
actually delivered the "slam-dunk" briefing to the president in January
2003. Nevertheless, the Obama administration named McLaughlin to lead the
internal investigation of the CIA's intelligence failures in the attempted
bombing of a commercial airliner and the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in
The CIA office of general counsel's aggressive campaign to prevent a criminal prosecution of the agency officers culminated with Deputy Director McLaughlin's letter to the assistant attorney general that promised,
The report carefully documents the lies and the
stonewalling, but no "significant disciplinary action" has ever been taken.
CIA officers knew of and condoned the violations, which formed an,
Violations of procedures required to intercept and shootdown drug trafficking aircraft occurred in all 15 shootdowns in which the CIA participated.
CIA personnel in Peru provided inaccurate statements reporting that all required procedures had been conducted, high-level agency officials endorsed these reports and they were passed to Congress and the NSC.
In many cases, suspect aircraft were shot down
within minutes of being sighted by Peruvian fighter aircraft, without being
properly identified, without being given required warnings and without being
given time to respond to warnings. Visual signals were not even conducted in
the 11 shootdowns that occurred in daylight.
The office of general counsel specifically
advised the Peru Task Force not to report findings dealing with malfeasance.
Agency lawyers violated their legal obligations as US attorneys by making
sure that reports of violations did not appear in any formal report and,
therefore, could not be provided to the Senate intelligence committee, the
NSC and the DOJ.
The failure of the CIA to keep Congress and the NSC fully informed of the program violated the agency's legal obligations.
The family of the 2001 victims received $8 million from the US government on the basis of the false assertion that the missionary shootdown was an aberration in a,
The Peru report in 2008 as well as IG reports on renditions and detentions in 2004 and the 9/11 study in 2006 created great animosity toward the OIG within the CIA.
Senior members of the National Clandestine Service and the Office of General Counsel were infuriated by the independent and hard-hitting IG investigations. They convinced CIA director General Michael Hayden to weaken the role of the OIG. Hayden directed his special counsel to conduct oversight of the IG's work.
This action violated the law that created the
statutory IG in 1989 and ignored procedures that were in place to examine
the work of the IG.
There were specious documents prepared in 2002
and 2003 to pave the way for the use of force in Iraq, including a National
Intelligence Estimate and an unclassified white paper, once again without
accountability. In fact, the authors of these reports had their careers
advanced, while occasional critics were marginalized.
He has refused to take any action on accountability for torture and abuse, and his administration has refused to pursue legal action against the CIA for the destruction of the tapes that documented the sadistic behavior of CIA employees and contractors.
The CIA officer most responsible for the
destruction of the tapes, Jose Rodriquez Jr., said that it would be
less damaging to destroy the tapes than to allow them to be seen. Rodriquez,
who successfully fought a subpoena to testify before the House intelligence
committee, could not have been more right.
This approach has not worked well in the past and will fail in the end.
As a constitutional lawyer, President Obama must realize that the stature of international law is diminished when a nation violates it with impunity and that the stature of a nation is diminished when it commits crimes against humanity.