We Killed People, and We Should Say So

Publishing this diary does not help the United States of America. On the contrary, just as many voices in the political world have alleged, making this information publicly available will aid our enemies and wound the resolve of our allies.

But we have no choice, for the consequence of silence is too great. The CIA Inspector General’s report reveals how many times the agency stepped over the bounds that had been established by the Office of Legal Council.

Many, such as myself, believe that the original legal opinions offered by the OLC were invalid by way of their ridiculous assertions, significantly that the 8th Amendment failed to apply to the situation of detainees because they had not been criminally charged. Nevertheless, I accept Holder’s decision to prosecute outside of the OLC bounds; the responsibility for torture done under legal orders falls to those who made those actions “legal.”

Yet we did worse. The report lists the death-of-a-thousand-cuts for the OLC memos. Waterboarding was done in a manner inconsistent with that which had been approved, without consulting medical services. Indeed, the head of that office reported that the actual manner of Waterboarding was not shown to be efficacious or safe.

A person came to Asadabad base voluntarily, and left in a bodybag after (it is alleged) being beaten to death with a large flashlight. (194) Agency personal beat a teacher being interviewed in front of 200 students. (196)

To Mr. Hannity and my own Senator: How many people do you think came forwards after word of this incidents came forward? How much intelligence did we lose? How much security was lost just because we could not control ourselves? In losing the goodwill of thousands, we lost their knowledge.

Sometimes, intelligence is based on an accident. A person looking out of their window sees a wanted man exiting a car on the street; a woman hears a rumor about weapons being stored in her neighborhood; a man glimpses bomb making equipment through a door ajar. Yet, when these potentially valuable lapses in security occurred, we were and are unable to capitalize, because we have allowed ourselves to be painted as the bad guys that we know we are not.

We can shut up and attempt to hide the truth, as the previous administration did, but at least part of the truth will find a way, no matter how much the powers in Tehran or Washington will against it. Instead, we need to show honesty about what we did, and in that honesty reveal our remorse with more sincerity than 50 speeches could muster. Today’s events are another step on that long and difficult road, and I applaud them. The long-term consequences are too great for short-sighted compromises of integrity.