An Evening of Crucial Disclosures by Jane Mayer
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WHAT THE CIA DOESNT WANT YOU TO KNOW
The Sunday after September 11, 2001 Vice President Dick Cheney sat down for an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press. In that much quoted interview, Cheney gave a memorable description of how the administration viewed the continuing threat and how it planned to respond:
Well have to work sort of the dark side, if you will. Weve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies if we are going to be successful. Thats the world these folks operate in. And, uh, so its going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal basically, to achieve our objectives.
Since 2001 New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer has been investigating and reporting on what the dark side really means. For the first time, she pieces together the full story of how Cheney, and a handful of extraordinarily powerful, but almost unknown lawyers including his Chief of Staff David Addington, took command of the war on terrorism. They seized on the mood of national fear to institute a top secret, covert program that twisted or ignored 221 years of constitutional history. She chronicles the behind-the-scenes meetings in the White House, Justice Department and CIA, and shows how the decisions taken behind closed doors in Washington spiraled out around the world, often with unintended consequences, violated the Constitution, and dramatically hindered the pursuit of Al Qaeda.
Here are some of the revelations:
The single minded campaign, born in the office of the Vice President, to legalize torture and expand the Presidents powers as Commander-in-Chief to the point of unchecked authority with the ability to violate virtually any law.
The first full account of the secret Red Cross report describing the detailed allegations of torture made by the CIAs top fourteen terror suspects all of whom are currently held in Guantanamo Bay -- and the Red Crosss warning to the United States government that this treatment unequivocally constituted torture, exposing Bush Administration officials to prosecution for war crimes.
The personal reasons that drove Dick Cheney to so many undisclosed locations post-9/11 including his fear that he had personally been exposed to Anthrax.
Details about the scores of innocent people the United States Government has abused including the inside story of a mistaken CIA rendition, and the revelation that the CIA is investigating a half-dozen more such erroneous kidnappings.
The unorthodox CIA psychologists who advocated the use of Cold War KGB methods intended to obtain false confessions, and the near complete lack of actionable intelligence gained from these un-American techniques.
The viral spread of legally dubious torture techniques from an obscure U.S. military training program, known as SERE, throughout the U.S. war on terror.
Previously unpublished, shocking details showing what the CIA did to detainees to make them talk and new revelations about the growing doubts and fights within the intelligence agency over these harrowing tactics.
The fear of criminal charges that drove the CIA to destroy interrogation videotapes and what the tapes may have shown.
Vice President Cheneys intimidation of the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who admitted he disagreed with the torture program, but couldnt fight back.
The stories of the brave dissenters, many of who were lifelong conservatives, inside the administration, as well as the military officers and FBI agents, who openly challenged the legality of these practices and lost their jobs in the process. Two top Justice Department officials critical of the White House became so fearful; they conversed in codes, in case their phones were tapped.
The mounting of a secret internal rebellion aimed at closing Guantanamo.
The admission by Cofer Black, the former head of the CIAs Counterterrorist Center, that he expected to be indicted some day for the program they ran.
The striking declaration by Condoleezza Rices former counselor, Phillip Zelikow, that the Bush Administrations descent into torture will be seen as abhorrently as Franklin Roosevelts internment of the Japanese during World War Two.
About the Author:
Jane Mayer is the co-author of two best-selling narrative non-fiction books, LANDSLIDE: THE UNMAKING OF THE PRESIDENT, 1984-1988, and STRANGE JUSTICE: THE SELLING OF CLARENCE THOMAS, the latter of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting. Before that, she was a senior writer and front page editor for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Journal's first female White House correspondent.
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