Story from the Daily Beast.
The CIA’s former top spook, unable for years to respond publicly to criticism of his role in waterboarding terrorist suspects after 9/11, is finally getting the chance to answer his critics. And to launch a counterattack.
In a memoir being published Monday and obtained by The Daily Beast, the former CIA official Jose Rodriguez defends the waterboarding program and says he was right in 2005 to order the destruction of videotapes of the harsh interrogation sessions, in which suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were held down and subjected to a simulated drowning.
In his book, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives, Rodriguez, a career undercover CIA officer who headed the agency’s clandestine services from 2004 until his retirement in 2007, tries to turn the table on his critics, identifying many people—in and out of the United States government—who, he says, have hindered the fight against Al Qaeda and other international terrorist networks.
According to Rodriguez, Nancy Pelosi lied when she claimed she was not informed about the use of waterboarding:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other CIA critics in Congress. Rodriguez challenges Pelosi’s assertion that, while a ranking member of the House intelligence committee after 9/11, she was not informed in detail about the use of waterboarding.
“Pelosi said that we only briefly mentioned waterboarding and left the impression that it had not been used,” Rodriguez writes, insisting that the California Democrat was fully briefed—by Rodriguez himself—about waterboarding and its use. “ He says that Pelosi was explicitly briefed on waterboarding and posed no objection to the technique. “I know she got it.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that she, like almost all Americans less than a year after, wanted us to be aggressive to make sure that Al Qaeda wasn’t able to replicate their attack.” He writes that “Pelosi was another member of Congress reinventing the truth.”
The Obama administration. Rodriguez says President Obama has abandoned interrogation techniques—including waterboarding—that allowed the CIA to prevent terrorist attacks after 9/11. He said the administration has become too reliant instead of the use of missile-armed drones in Pakistan and elsewhere to kill, instead of to capture, terrorists.
“Drones can be a highly effective way of dealing with high-priority targets,” Rodriguez writes. “But they should not become the drug of choice for an administration that is afraid to use successful, legal and safe tactics of the past.” He adds, “Needless to say, there is no opportunity to interrogate or learn anything from a suspect who is vaporized by a missile launched by a keystroke executed thousands of miles away.”
Right Scoop posted an interview with Jose Rodriguez, in which he explains that he personally briefed Pelosi on the waterboarding.