Porter Goss, who served as director of the CIA from September 2004 to May 2006 and was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004, wrote Saturday in the Washington Post about the current political climate concerning perceived torture by U.S. interrogators dealing with al-Qaeda suspects:
A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation’s intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA’s “High Value Terrorist Program,” including the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.
Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.
Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:
The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.
We understood what the CIA was doing.
We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.
We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.
I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed “memorandums for the record” suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately — to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president’s national security adviser — and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.
Related to that, in the video below, Liz Cheney absolutely destroys MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell as O’Donnell tries to feed more slop about the whole torture debate. Watch as Cheney uses sound argument to head off hysterical bluster.
In the wake of the events of 1-15, in which a wedge of Geese brought down a US Airways aircraft, here’s what you won’t be hearing about from the so-called “Mainstream Media”: We brought this on ourselves.
After an event such as this one, it’s important to look at the root causes: Why did the Geese attack us? Well, the truth is, for years we have been oppressing the Geese, using them for the fuel they provide for our bodies.
Boneless Goose Breast, Brandied Roast Goose, Roast Goose with Cumberland Sauce and Apricot Stuffing. And of course, the Christmas Goose. In the name of religion, we have been engaged in what can only be called a Crusade against the Geese. Is it any wonder that a few brave suicide Geese would seek revenge?
Under the neocon/neofascist Cheney-Bush administration, Goose consumption is up 1541%. Geese have been systematically deprived of their rights at a level never seen before. (Look around your workplace: do you see any Geese? Wouldn’t you be nervous if you did?) Reports of shameful anti-Goose activity are at an all-time high, mainly in the South and Midwest, of course.
The fact is, WE (and, of course, Israel) are responsible for the rise of militant Gooslam. Given our actions, is it any wonder that gaggles of Goslings would reject the teachings of moderate Goose leaders, when those leaders are perceived as being in the pocket of the West? Given our actions, is it any wonder that these young Gooslamists would flock to more assertive leaders, leaders whose commitment to their cause cannot be questioned? Given our actions, the rise of a “Goosama” was inevitable. We have only ourselves to blame. (Does anyone doubt that somewhere there’s a photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with a Goose?)
The Sept. 11 Television Archive has footage from each of the networks from Sept. 11, 2001. I remember watching the horrific events of that day unfold on ABC, so it was fascinating to watch that again and think back to what was going through my mind then.
To watch the ABC coverage, go here. The first video has the coverage from 8:31-9:12 a.m. and then you can click “next video” to watch further. (Note: The first plane struck the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. and was reported on the broadcast at 19:50 mark of the broadcast).
The first 19 minutes are the usual morning TV fare, which I didn’t watch at the time. Rather, I picked up the telecast just after the initial report since I had been taking my then-second grade daughter to school when the first plane struck. Looking back on it now, it strikes me how some things can seem utterly trivial in comparison with the major events in our life. Sadly, I think about how much time and energy I waste worrying about such things.
On this day, seven years ago, terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon and crashed another into a Pennsylvania field. More than 3,000 people died that day in an openly evil act. Our nation’s history was dramatically altered on that day.
With the thought of evil on my mind, I became aware that John Piper’s new book “Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ” has now been released. This is what it says about the book at the Desiring God Web site:
What does the fall of Satan reveal about Christ’s glory? How does Adam’s sin magnify our Lord? How does the glory of Jesus shine through in Judas’ betrayal? How is the honor of Jesus at stake in the sin and evil, the suffering and the calamities and the wickedness, which abound in the world today? In this book John Piper seeks to provide a biblical perspective on God’s sovereign and righteous governance over even the sinful acts of men. History’s greatest sins do not thwart God’s purposes to save his people and glorify his Son; they fulfill them. And being grounded in this hope is the key to “Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict.”
We see indescribably evil things happen each day in our world. There is no escaping it. When we think of these things we may wonder how God can allow it and, if so, how does it fit into his plan. John Piper recently explained what he hopes to accomplish with the book:
The aim of this book is not to meet felt needs, but to awaken needs that will soon be felt, and then to save your faith and strengthen your courage when evil prevails.
And, even though the events of Sept. 11, 2001, are receding into history, I think none of us who lived through that day will ever feel we are free from the presence of evil. And, for that reason, it would be good to understand the purpose of God in “spectacular sins.”