April 18, 2008

Michael Scheuer Shares His Hubris

Although the headline might lead you to believe Mr. Scheuer has become a humanist, the rest of the article shows he is no apologist but simply trying to distance himself from the most outrageous activities that occurred under his watch. I used to think this author of Imperial Hubris was motivated by a clear-eyed understanding of what lines our nation should not cross. Perhaps we have different ideas (and ideals) regarding how deeply the foundation for a moral and ethical civilization must be to create a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But think for yourself, and read on:
'Extraordinary-rendition' procedure unreliable, says CIA vet who created it
From Monday's Globe and Mail
April 14, 2008 at 4:27 AM EDT
DURHAM, N.C. — The creator of the CIA's "extraordinary-rendition" program says he has always distrusted interrogation intelligence flowing from the controversial practice, given that the admissions it produced were usually "very tainted" by foreign agencies who jailed suspects at the behest of the United States.
Michael Scheuer, an outspoken anti-terrorism crusader, took part in a Duke University law-school panel on Friday. There, experts debated the future of the highly controversial snatch, jail and interrogate program that he created, and whether it should survive beyond the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, which has often justified rendition as an intelligence gold mine.
In Canada, rendition has become synonymous with the process that resulted in Ottawa's Maher Arar spending a year in a Syrian jail, where he was beaten with electric cables during the first phases of his captivity. Canadian officials have apologized to the telecommunications engineer and compensated him with $10-million (U.S.), upholding that he was wrongly smeared in intelligence exchanges emanating from Canada, prior to the U.S. decision to render him.
[...] In addition to Mr. Arar's case in Canada, high-profile renditions controversies have arisen in Germany and Italy. Mr. Scheuer made a point of saying he would personally put the German suspect back on a rendition plane, but did not say the same that about the other two cases. The program he conceived was restricted to targeting only the highest level terrorism suspects, he said.
Questioned about the Arar affair, Mr. Scheuer asserted that that rendition was not technically a CIA job, but rather an FBI initiative, by agents working in cahoots with unspecified agencies north of the border.
That prompted a response from Canadian lawyer Ron Atkey, who was in attendance to give a speech about the years he spent inside the Arar Commission battling government secrecy to reveal what Canada knew about the CIA rendition program.
Mr. Atkey pointed out Canadian agencies were found to have had no foreknowledge of the U.S. decision to put Mr. Arar on a Gulfstream jet and fly him to the Middle East, after his 2002 arrest in a New York airport.
"The biggest piece of baloney," Mr. Scheuer said. "They [the Canadians] were totally surprised like Captain Renault in Casablanca," he quipped. [my bold]
The allusion referred to a scene in the 1942 film, where a duplicitous French gendarme shuts down an illegal casino operation in Morocco - saying "I'm shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on in here!" even as he is handed a big win from the roulette wheel.
Mr. Scheuer went on to describe certain U.S. newspaper reporters as "scurrilous" traitors for revealing details of the rendition program.[...]

Wikipedia on Mr. Scheuer: [...] is a former CIA employee. In his 22-year career, he served as the Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (aka "Alec Station"), from 1996 to 1999, the Osama bin Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorist Center. He then worked again as Special Advisor to the Chief of the bin Laden unit from September 2001 to November 2004.
Scheuer resigned in 2004. He is currently a news analyst for CBS News and a terrorism analyst for the Jamestown Foundation's online publication Global Terrorism Analysis.[1] He also makes radio and television appearances and teaches a graduate-level course on Al-Qaeda at Georgetown University. He also participates in conferences on terrorism and national security issues, such as the New America Foundation's December 2004 conference, "Al Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11."

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