brings former colleagues together like enhanced interrogation. This week,
former Bush administration officials John Yoo and Marc Thiessen rallied to the
defense of a newly promoted CIA officer under pressure for her reported support of
enhanced interrogation in the aftermath of 9/11.
officer in question was recently appointed acting director of the CIA's
clandestine service, the branch responsible for sending spies overseas and
running the drone program. Though the officer remains undercover, her promotion
came under scrutiny last week after the Washington Post revealed that she helped
run the interrogation program and personally signed off on the destruction of
videotapes documenting interrogation, including a tape that shows Abu Zubaydah "vomiting and screaming" while getting
waterboarded. The cable authorizing the tape's destruction appears below:
Wednesday, John Yoo, one of the Bush administration's top legal advisors,
criticized CIA director John Brennan for not making the woman in question the
permanent director of the clandestine service. (The CIA is considering other
spies for the job, but maintains that she's a "strong candidate.") But Yoo isn't having
any of this dithering on Brennan's part.
of the heat from the Left during his confirmation, Brennan is blocking the most
qualified operative to head the CIA's key division because of her involvement
in interrogations," he wrote for National
Review. "This is the very politicization of the CIA that conservatives
feared when Brennan was nominated."
has long maintained that enhanced interrogation or torture was necessary for
intelligence gathering purposes in the aftermath of 9/11, and thinks current
CIA officers shouldn't be penalized for promoting such tactics.
Thiessen, a former Bush speechwriter, also rallied to the CIA officer's defense
in a Tuesday op-ed for the Washington
is an outrage," he wrote. "According to several former senior CIA officials I
spoke with, the officer is highly respected and unquestionably qualified for
of glossing over the CIA officer's role in destroying the torture tapes, like
Yoo did, Thiessen accused the Post of making up lies about her involvement in that
Post reported incorrectly that the officer in question "signed off on the 2005
decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners" undergoing enhanced interrogation.
In fact, while she helped her then-boss, former clandestine service chief Jose Rodriguez, draft the cable ordering the tapes'
destruction, the decision was made by Rodriguez and Rodriguez alone.
claim was unusual because the Post was by no means alone in reporting that the
woman in question actively lobbied for the tapes' destruction. Here's the New York Times:
former C.I.A. officers said she was a strong advocate for getting rid of the
tapes, which had been sitting for years inside a safe in the agency's station
in Bangkok. "She and Jose were the two main drivers for years for getting the
tapes destroyed," said one former senior C.I.A. officer.
FP asked the CIA if the woman in question did actually sign off on the
documents as reported, spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said "it would be
inappropriate to comment directly on a specific communication such as the one
and Yoo are the first prominent officials to defend the acting director. Last
week, Glenn Carle, a former CIA officer who spent 23 years in the clandestine
service, opposed her promotion in an interview with FP. "We should
repudiate these sorts of practices, whatever the pressures and judgments of the
moment were," he said.