Dec 9, 2007
Videotape Destruction Deke
The leak to the New York Times about the destruction of videotapes documenting "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the CIA was likely made to distract attention from the ramifications of the Iran NIE.
The story -- alleging crimes such as obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence -- is juicy enough to keep the media and the public occupied until the next beguilement is required.
That the questioning of major Al Qaeda figures would be videotaped -- especially by the lawyer encumbered Agency -- should surprise no one -- except of course, the 9/11 Commission. Big city police interrogations are routinely videotaped.
The destruction of the tapes is exactly the type of cudgel that someone who is unhappy with recent CIA initiatives might be tempted to bring to bear. That someone is quite likely a GOP member of Congress.
And the sideshow is primed to play even further into the agenda of the maximalist threat proponents.
One of the two detainees whose taped interrogation is in question -- Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [the one they are currently saying little about] -- claimed under CIA duress that Al Qaeda has a nuclear bomb. Yes, you read that right. He later recanted and told the story on March 14, 2007 at his Combatant Status Review Hearing at Guantanamo [36-page pdf]. His allegation had to have been scrutinized as much as possible and discredited by the IC, or the transcript of the CSRT [which was redacted for security purposes] would not have included that bit of information.
But, what more perfect substitution for the Iran nuclear threat -- which some mountebanks are continuing to sell -- than a nuke in the hands of Osama bin Laden?
While we are still on the subject of the Iran NIE, setting aside the showmanship of the White House in light of when they were informed about the intelligence, an interesting Strategic PSYOP angle can be discerned.
Our public assertion that Iran has shuttered their nuclear weapons program now serves as a morale-builder for their Persian Gulf neighbors, who have been nervous about the big kid on the block. Yesterday, Iranian FM Mottaki bowed out of his previously confirmed appearance at the International Institute for Strategic Studies-sponsored Manama Security Forum.
Also, the price of oil may have had a ceiling placed upon it for the time being.