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Joseph A. Palermo

Joseph A. Palermo

Posted: December 11, 2007 09:20 PM

It's Time to Subpoena Porter Goss


In March 2005, then-CIA director Porter Goss told the Senate "there are no techniques...that are being employed that are in any way against the law or would ...be considered torture." When Senator John McCain asked him about waterboarding, Goss would say only that is was "an area of what I will call professional interrogation techniques."

We now know that the CIA destroyed videotaped evidence of the torture of terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah, despite the fact there were ongoing federal court cases where the tapes might have been relevant as evidence and the 9/11 Commission had requested such evidence. The Congress must aggressively investigate this issue to discover whether or not criminal activity was being covered up and justice obstructed.

An Iran-Contra-style select committee must be formed with members of the House and Senate to hold serious hearings and begin a thorough investigation. This inquiry cannot be left to the Intelligence Committees because their members -- security hawks all -- have been severely compromised by their past condoning of torture in CIA interrogations. Only an entirely new committee, which Congress has the power to form in an instant, can begin to find out for the American people what was happening behind closed doors and whether or not heads should roll at Langley for obstruction of justice.

Keep in mind also that the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," which Dana "I-don't-know-what-the-Cuban-missile-crisis-was" Perino claimed today are perfectly legal, metastasized and spread from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and on to Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. Like Iran-Contra, what we're seeing today with the destruction of these incriminating videotapes is only the tip of the iceberg.

We cannot trust the Justice Department under the supreme waterboarder Michael Mukasey to investigate the Executive Branch, especially relating to this issue, so forget about calling for "Special Counsels." We cannot depend on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to investigate this issue because both committees have been compromised. Hence, there is only one alternative left: Create a new committee charged with investigating the CIA's interrogations since 2001. I propose that Dennis Kucinich, Henry Waxman, and Barbara Lee serve from the House side, and Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, and Robert Byrd serve from the Senate. The committee should be given full subpoena power and grant immunity to the underling CIA agents who are willing to talk.

If impeachment is "off the table," can we not at least demand from the Democrats who supposedly control the legislative branch to fulfill the Congress's rightful role as the nation's preeminent investigative body?