Thursday, September 21, 2006

The least likely mutiny

The current Harper's magazine has a call to rebellion by government officials from Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. It isn't online but you can read excerpts here. This isn't exactly what he had in mind, but it is a helluva start: Rendition - CIA ‘refused to operate’ secret jails
The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects to the military-run detention centre at Guantánamo this month in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme.

The former officials said the CIA interrogators’ refusal was a factor in forcing the Bush administration to act earlier than it might have wished.

When Mr Bush announced the suspension of the secret prison programme in a speech before the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, some analysts thought he was trying to gain political momentum before the November midterm congressional elections.

The administration publicly explained its decision in light of the legal uncertainty surrounding permissible interrogation techniques following the June Supreme Court ruling that all terrorist suspects in detention were entitled to protection under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions.

But the former CIA officials said Mr Bush’s hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going.

They are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons -- fear of getting caught -- to be sure. But this move indicates that even in the CIA they are now less afraid of the Bush cabal than they are of what will follow. Two years ago, such a mutiny would have been unthinkable.


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