The British are singing the chorus to Binyam Mohamed’s version of “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.” Remember how British intelligence informed the Americans about Saddam Hussein stockpiling WMD’s? Once again the British got it wrong. The mainstream American press went along for the ride with the CIA as the scapegoat.
Recently, the British appellate court made public a seven paragraph classified document detailing Ethiopian-born British resident Binyam Mohamed’s military tribunal case. Mohamed was a terrorist who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and charged with plotting to bomb American apartment buildings. He was released by the Obama administration without any trial for fear of torture allegation repercussions, and sent to Britain in 2009.
It seems that there is a constant disconnect between who are the “bad guys” and “good guys.” A former operative strongly stated, “People like Binyam Mohamed look like poor innocent victims and not the terrorists they really are.”
Just as the British court’s ruling was wrong, so was the way this whole issue was reported in the press.
Take for example Henry Chu’s article in the Los Angeles Times. Chu stated twice that Mohamed was mistreated, “while in US custody,” by depriving him of sleep and being shackled during questioning. Wonder if he read the same released document that I did? He was not water-boarded, beaten, and slapped around. How come Mohamed does not complain, as he did in 2005, about being forced to endlessly endure American music such as Eminem? To me, that might be true torture. The interrogation methods used on Mohamed seem pretty meek to me. A former high ranking CIA official emphatically stated that,
“We made sure the harsh interrogation was designed to not permanently hurt anyone.”
Interesting that Chu made sure he quoted Mohamed’s claims yet did not quote any from the CIA’s point of view. This is balanced reporting? Those former CIA officials emphatically stated that no one in the agency tortures. A former high ranking official summarized everyone’s feelings stating that “In no way the US did what he alleges. The US would never have done it.”
What is most upsetting is that people are not reverting back to September 10th, 2001 as General Hayden pointed out, but are reverting back to September 10th, 1776. The British, with the mainstream’s press’ help, are shooting the CIA in the back. I am really getting tired of having the CIA getting beaten up all the time. On the one hand there is Mohamed, who admitted through his representative that he trained and received instruction from Al Qaeda. Abu Zubaydah named him in a plot to commit mass murders. On the other hand there is the CIA.
Let’s put this in the correct time frame. Mohamed was captured and interrogated in 2002. Less than a year after America lost 3000 people in a brutal attack. Bin Laden threatened more attacks that would “dwarf 9/11.” In that atmosphere the CIA had to gain actionable intelligence and had to do it quickly. So what were they supposed to do, sit back, have tea time as they do in England, and hope the terrorists talk? I guarantee the press would make mince meat out of the CIA if another attack had occurred. Just look at the criticism the intelligence community received regarding the underwear bomber.
The premise the press takes is that the CIA are sadists who enjoy torturing. My premise is that if the CIA failed to learn information and disrupt plots they would have failed the American citizens. Looking at their track record since 9/11 I would say “good job, well done,” instead of quoting a terrorist about torture allegations.