Man Who Interrogated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Speaks Out

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Watch Megyn Kelly’s 12/15 interview James Mitchell. The interview will be continued on tonight’s Kelly File.

The CIA interrogation ‘architect’ reacts to interrogation report (part 1)

 

The CIA interrogation ‘architect’ reacts to interrogation report (part 2)

 

The CIA interrogation ‘architect’ reacts to interrogation report (part 3)

 

Day 2 Of Megyn Kelly Interviews James Mitchell Who Interrogated KSM

 

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No Tears For Terrorists

CIA (1)By Justin O. Smith:

The recently released Senate Intelligence report on the CIA detention and interrogation program, created after 9/11, is a poorly done partisan attack on the Agency, and it is marred by errors of fact and questionable motives, as Americans note that this story moved Dr. Gruber, ACA architect, and his “Americans are too stupid to understand Obamacare” remark from the front page of the New York Times to page twenty; however, since the Democrats have mischaracterized the effectiveness of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program and alleged that Islamic terrorists/ “enemy combatants” captured on foreign battlefields were “tortured” through waterboarding and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT), let’s put this topic to rest, as we also note that waterboarding was prohibited seven years ago.

Many progressive Democrats have conflated the issue by stating that Japanese soldiers were hung in 1947 for “waterboarding” U.S. soldiers, when what they actually did is more accurately described as “water-torture”, forcing water into the stomachs of prisoners, our U.S. soldiers, until osmosis ruptured their blood-cells, ending in death. This is not in any manner similar to the minor dunkings that Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists received at the hands of CIA interrogators, which merely gave the subject the illusion of drowning.

At the cost of $40 million, the Senate intelligence report, a 524 page declassified executive summary of the 6300 page classified report, accuses the CIA of torture, however, the CIA repeatedly consulted the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel about methods it intended to use. Legal opinions __ later discredited and withdrawn due to political pressure from the Obama administration __ assured the Agency that ALL of its Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) were lawful and did not constitute torture.

It is worth noting here that tens of thousands of U.S. Armed Forces members, Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, Pathfinders and Recon have voluntarily subjected themselves to waterboarding in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) classes. All intelligence and military personnel exposed to a high risk of capture take SERE training.

Now, the very same Democrats, who once fully supported the EIT program, clearly didn’t include any information that did not fit their predetermined conclusions, and these same Democrats charged the CIA with immoral ineffectiveness, after they cherry-picked their way through six million pages of documents in the program that they in fact enabled; in their questionable endeavor, they ignored credible evidence that information gathered in this program led to Osama bin Laden.

In a joint response, former CIA Directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden and former CIA Deputy Directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland and Stephen Kappes rebut the Senate Intelligence report in a December 10th Wall Street Journal editorial that states: “The (EIT) program in its totality formed an essential part of the foundation from which the CIA and the U.S. military mounted the bin Laden operation. For instance, the CIA never would have focused on the individual who turned out to be bin Laden’s personal courier without the detention and interrogation program.”

Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, and five other Republicans wrote a 100 page dissent of the report, which was written solely by Democratic committee staff members. Chambliss, in a later statement, contradicted the principal findings of the Democrats, calling them “erroneous and inflammatory.”

Senator Chambliss also presented 766 known cases that represented “sole sourced” intelligence extracted through EIT, which gave advanced warning of terrorist attacks on Heathrow airport and London’s Canary Wharf. Chambliss stated, “There is no telling how many lives this program saved.”

Jose Rodriguez Jr., a former CIA official, rejects the Senate Intelligence report’s conclusions that EITs weren’t useful in saving American lives, and he stated: “… that the interrogation program brought no intelligence is an egregious falsehood; it’s a dishonest attempt to rewrite history … I’m bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it, that would be me.”

One report from the twelve month period in 2004 showed a 92% success rate when EITs were used at GITMO, and even the Senate Intelligence report had to admit that some intelligence was gathered from 82% of detainees subjected to EITs, while in CIA custody. The effectiveness was shown to be only 57.5% with detainees when soft-sell techniques (polygraphs) were used.

Since the creation of the detention and interrogation program, the CIA has reported any allegation of abuse to the Justice Dept. Twenty cases have been forwarded to Justice in all these years, with only one meriting prosecution.

On December 11th, CIA Director John Brennan put this topic in its proper context as he stated: “The events of 9/11 will be forever seared into the memory of Americans … those 77 minutes in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Our Nation ached … It prayed. In Our pain, We pledged to come together … We vowed, NEVER AGAIN.”

Americans are now being forced by this report to reflect and ask themselves, “Was America wrong to use these Enhanced Interrogation Techniques?”

The Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamofascist groups that now comprise the Islamic State have routinely tortured, maimed and murdered their prisoners over the last several decades, just as America witnessed nineteen U.S. soldiers dismembered in Somalia and hung from utility poles in 1993 and, more recently, four young Christian children beheaded in Iraq for refusing to convert to Islam. And during this time, they have consistently and routinely worked towards successfully striking America in the most destructive and lethal fashion; the bomb plots, the biological and chemical attack plans and their search for nuclear weapons have all increased, and all of this was in the making long before the EIT program, as illustrated by the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Americans reflect on what has brought us to this discussion, and we remember ___ We remember Islamic terrorists followed the Koran’s mandate to murder non-believers, the infidels, in order to purify the world ___ taking the lives of 3000 innocent Americans. This is their life’s calling, and America reacted by making it our mission to capture or kill every Islamofascist meaning to bring Her harm, a mission we took seriously; if an Islamic terror suspect or known terrorist gets slapped a few times or has a little water poured over his face, I’ll not be shedding any tears.

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The Feinstein Report Is Going to Cost Us

pic_giant_121314_SM_Dianne_FeinsteinNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, DECEMBER 13, 2014:

Jihadists are still waging their war against the civilized world. Check that: Jihadists are currently winning their war against the civilized world. Thank Barack Obama, who fails to grasp the difference between being “the president who ends wars” and the president who retreats from wars, and thus surrenders while the enemy is on the rise.

What is the response of Senate sages to this predicament? Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats saw it as the perfect time to savage the CIA, further burn America’s bridges with anti-terrorism allies, and hand jihadists a huge propaganda victory.

The Islamic State had a response, too: They beheaded four Christian children for refusing to renounce Jesus Christ.

You see where this is going, no?

The Democrats’ “torture” report is a gratuitous hit job — brought to you by the same party that, out of political calculation, aggressively undermined the American war effort in Iraq — only after voting to send our men and women into grave danger there, also out of political calculation.

To be sure, the report is a highly disturbing document. It graphically illustrates the severity of enhanced interrogation tactics used against a small group of top-tier terrorists — terrorists who were responsible for brutally murdering thousands of Americans and who, at the time of their capture, were actively plotting to kill thousands more.

Still, notwithstanding the revelation of a few new gory details, this is old news and its disclosure serves no useful purpose — it is just a settling of scores.

“Old news” is not used here in the familiar Clinton/Obama sense of acknowledging a few embarrassing scandal details on Friday night to pave the way for dismissing scandal coverage as stale by Monday morning. The CIA’s interrogation program happened over a decade ago. It was investigated by Justice Department prosecutors for years — and not once but twice. The second time, even Eric Holder, the hyper-politicized, hard-Left attorney general who had promised Obama’s base a “reckoning,” could not help but concede that the case against our intelligence agents should be dropped because the evidence was insufficient to warrant torture prosecutions.

As I have frequently argued here over the years, there is a world of difference between what is couched in political rhetoric as “torture,” a conversation stopper that the Left cavalierly applies to every instance of prisoner abuse, and the federal crime of torture, which has a strict legal definition and is a difficult offense to prove, precisely to ensure that torture is not trivialized. Not surprisingly, then, the fact that the interrogations investigation was terminated has never been regarded as a clean bill of health.

To the contrary, disclosure was made to the public, through congressional investigations as well as through the criminal probe, that the tactics used were troubling. The treatment of a bare fraction of the tens of thousands of detainees held for a time raised concerns about abuse — far less than the norm in previous wars. The abuses that did occur, however, became notorious. And they were not trivial. Indeed, two detainees died: one under suspicious circumstances in Iraq, another of hypothermia in Afghanistan.

But we’ve known this for years. In conjunction with the Left’s shameful “Bush lied, people died” Iraq war meme — along with the Bush administration’s peculiar decision not to defend itself from scurrilous allegations — the “torture” narrative helped propel Democrats to decisive victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Feinstein’s report similarly serves no useful purpose when it comes to the ostensible rationale for its release, namely: the quest to corroborate the strictly ideological — and demonstrably false — claim that coercive interrogation does not yield vital intelligence.

On this score, it is almost not worth pointing to the averments of current and former CIA directors and operatives that the techniques employed produced essential wartime intelligence. It is even tempting to omit mention of the fact that the 9/11 Commission Report — lauded by members of both parties as the definitive account of the 9/11 attacks and the foundation of American counterterrorism policy — is largely the product of intelligence culled from top terrorists subjected to waterboarding and other indignities.

These are time-wasting exercises because the Feinstein report, as a piece of government investigative work, is laughably incompetent — at least as much as a taxpayer can laugh at a $50 million political stunt. An investigation that, as Rich Lowry notes, neglects to interview a single participant in the relevant events is a fraud. There is no other word for it.

This one will cost us dearly — and I’m not just talking about the $50 mil. The allies we need to prosecute a global anti-terror campaign — the ones from whom Obama’s election was supposed to win us renewed respect and affection — despise us for what Senate Democrats have done. As someone who has been around the block as many times as Feinstein must be aware, the report embarrasses governments that cooperate with the United States and raises their vulnerability as terror targets.

And just as our allies are reminded that America is an unfaithful friend, so, too, have American national-security officials, intelligence agents, and warriors been given a cautionary lesson: If you take actions to protect the American people — in wartime, in the heat of the moment amid a palpably justified fear of mass-murder attacks after nearly 3,000 of your fellow citizens have been slaughtered — better prepare to be hounded as a war criminal for the succeeding decade or more.

Jihadists, meanwhile, will go on beheading teenagers and planning massive attacks.

It has been one thing to tell our ascendant enemies — in actions and omissions that speak louder than words — that we have no stomach to fight them where they must be fought: on the ground where, we know, given time and space, they plot to kill Americans. It is quite another thing to buoy them with the assurance that a major party in this country has a bottomless appetite to fight Americans whose major allegiance is to America.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

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CIA saved lives

Former CIA Officer Gary Berntsen talks reactions to the Agency’s report

Published on Dec 11, 2014 by CCTV America

CCTV America interviewed Gary Berntsen for an inside perspective on the report. Berntsen is a former CIA Senior Operations Officer.

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Brennan Disappoints Again

2866529523CSP, by Fred Fleitz:

CIA Director John Brennan did some good in his unprecedented CIA press conference on the report released this week by Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the enhanced interrogation program. He defended the Agency and its employees from unfair attacks on its efforts to stop further terrorist attacks after 9/11. He disputed claims in the report that the CIA lied to Congress about the enhanced interrogation program. He noted that the Agency stayed in regular contact with Congress and the Justice Department about this program and self-reported when things went wrong. He stressed how unfair it was that the investigation failed to interview any CIA officials. Brennan also decried the investigation’s failure to consider that the enhanced interrogation program was initiated in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when U.S. officials were fearful of further al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.

I was glad to hear Brennan say these things. However, he undermined his message by also straddling the fence on the value of the enhanced interrogation program in an attempt to win political support from congressional Democrats when he said that that although detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation produced “useful information,” he claimed the cause and effect relationship between the interrogations and obtaining useful information “is unknowable.” Senator Feinstein quickly praised these statements but added that she disagreed “that it is ‘unknowable’ whether information needed to stop terrorist attacks could be obtained from other sources.”

Last August I called for John Brennan to resign after he mishandled an incident when Democratic Senate staff improperly removed classified documents from a CIA facility during the enhanced interrogation investigation. Senator Feinstein misrepresented the CIA’s actions as spying on Congress. I suspect Brennan is trying to win back the support of Feinstein and other Senate Democrats after this incident by his comments that hedged on the value of the enhanced interrogation program.

Brennan could have served the interests of the CIA and U.S. national security better by firmly standing behind this program like former CIA Directors Goss, Tenet, and Hayden did and not engaging in a strange epistemological argument on what is “knowable.”   Goss, Tenet, and Hayden, who worked more closely on this program than Brennan, believe it is “knowable” that the enhanced interrogation program produced unique, time-sensitive intelligence on terrorism threats that could not have been obtained through other means.

This also used to be Brennan’s position. According to the Wall Street Journal, a March 2009 memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee signed by Brennan said: “CIA assesses that most, if not all, of the timely intelligence acquired from detainees in this program would not have been discovered or reported by any other means.” Brennan also didn’t make this “unknowable” argument when he presented the CIA’s rebuttal to the Senate report last year.

Brennan’s hedging on the enhanced interrogation program’s reflects an unfortunate trend toward watered-down analysis and risk aversion by CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies due to the firestorm of criticism it faced in the 2000s after intelligence failures related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. To avoid being wrong or alienating anyone in Congress, intelligence analysis since the mid -2000s on controversial issues such as Iran’s nuclear program became increasingly bland and consensus-based.   Pressure has been put on intelligence analysts and agencies to support a consensus corporate line in their analysis to avoid being wrong and attracting congressional criticism.

Intelligence officials have tried to discredit any agencies or analysts who break from the corporate line on analysis. This happened in April 2013 when Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) inadvertently revealed a classified finding from a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report that he said “assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low.” Senior U.S. intelligence officials immediately dismissed the DIA report cited by Lamborn as an outlier as did the Obama administration. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper read a statement that said the DIA report “is not [his emphasis] an Intelligence Community assessment.”

U.S. intelligence analysis should be written the way Director William Casey insisted it be written: analysts must provide their best assessment and dare to be wrong. Intelligence analysts shouldn’t be pulling their punches because of how their work might be received by the White House or Congress. Brennan’s hedging on the value of the enhanced interrogation program is the latest indication that American intelligence analysis is being driven by political considerations and has a long way to go to return to the high standard demanded by Director Casey so it produces the incisive and bold assessments needed to protect our country in a dangerous world.

Brennan: Claim That Detainees Didn’t Provide Valuable Intel After EITs ‘Lacks Any Foundation at All’

 

PJ Media, By Bridget Johnson, December 11, 2014:

WASHINGTON — CIA Director John Brennan stepped to the podium at Langley today for a rare press conference to respond to a report accusing the agency of torture, launching into a passionate defense of the men and women who work there.

Brennan began by walking everyone back to the dark days of 9/11, and reminded all that the first combat death in Afghanistan — Johnny “Mike” Spann, killed on Nov. 25, 2001 — was CIA. Since then, he said, 20 more CIA officers “have lost their lives around the world at the hands of terrorists.”

But he also stressed that the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats’ report, which said enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in gleaning useful intelligence, ”lacks any foundation at all” in its conclusion.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Brennan said, “Our government and our citizens recognized the urgency of the task to find and stop al-Qaeda before it could shed the blood of more innocent men, women and children, be it in America or be it in any other corner of the world.”

The EIT program was “uncharted territory for the CIA and we were not prepared,” he added. “We had little experience housing detainees and precious few of our officers were trained interrogators… As concerns about Al Qaeda’s terrorist plans endured, a variety of these techniques were employed by CIA officers on several dozen detainees over the course of five years before they ended in December of 2007.”

“The previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al-Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country while facing fears of further attacks and carrying out the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life. There were no easy answers. And whatever your views are on EITs, our nation and, in particular this agency, did a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secure.”

Brennan said the CIA views Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) report as “flawed” in its execution, noting that CIA officers were not interviewed by committee investigators.

“In a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent, and rightly should be repudiated by all. And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes,” he said. “It is vitally important to recognize, however, that the overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at CIA carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal and policy guidance they were provided. They did what they were asked to do in the service of our nation.”

Brennan stressed that detainees who were subjected to EITs did yield valuable intelligence, including in finding Osama bin Laden, but he cannot say whether it was the EITs that led the detainees to talk.

“The cause and effect relationship between the use of EITs and useful information subsequently provided by the detainee is, in my view, unknowable,” he said.

He added that the record “simply does not support the study’s inference that the agency repeatedly, systematically and intentionally misled others on the effectiveness of the program.”

“Primarily, however, the study’s contention that we repeatedly and intentionally misled the public and the rest of the U.S. government rests on the committee’s view that detainees subjected to EITs did not produce useful intelligence, a point on which we still fundamentally disagree.”

The longtime CIA veteran — who joined in 1980 and was deputy executive director when al-Qaeda struck the homeland on 9/11 – said one of the “most frustrating aspects” of the study is that it “conveys a broader view of the CIA and its officers as untrustworthy, that the institution and the workforce were willing to forego their integrity in order to preserve a program they were invested in and supposedly believed to be right.”

“This in no way comports with my experience in the CIA. While the agency has a traditional bias for action and a determined focus on achieving our mission, we take exceptional pride in providing truth to power, whether that power likes or agrees with what we believe and what we say or not and regardless of whether that power is affiliated with any particular political party.”

Feinstein was live-tweeting Brennan’s speech, responding to his statements with the hashtag #ReadTheReport.

The senator said in a statement after the speech that Brennan’s uncertainty of which techniques led to actionable intelligence substantiated her report’s claims. “This is a welcome change from the CIA’s position in the past that information was obtained as a direct result of EITs,” Feinstein said.

Yet Brennan also said: “But for someone to say that there was no intelligence of value of use that came from those detainees once they were subjected to EITs, I think that is — lacks any foundation at all.”

Feinstein disagreed that it’s “unknowable” whether the EITs led to the intelligence.

“The report shows that such information in fact was obtained through other means, both traditional CIA human intelligence and from other agencies,” she said. “…The president, Congress and other policymakers must get the facts and intelligence assessments without them being colored by policy views or an effort to hide embarrassing facts.”

“As one who received CIA briefings in 2006 and 2007 about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, I know that the CIA did not ‘speak truth to power,’ and that the descriptions of interrogations that were finally provided to the committee did not accurately reflect reality.”

President Obama refused to talk about Brennan today when asked at an Export Council meeting.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Obama still has confidence in his CIA director.

“The president is pleased to have — to count him as one of the people who has been a senior member of his national security team since the very beginning of his tenure in office, and the president continues to rely on his advice to this day,” he said.

Earnest said Brennan was at the White House this morning only to participate in the president’s daily briefing. “It’s not particularly unusual for him to do that,” he added.

When asked at the CIA press conference about whether reporters will be back in the same room in several years, faced with a similarly damning report about the Obama administration’s use of drones and civilian deaths, Brennan said he couldn’t talk about current operations.

“I will tell you, though, that during my tenure at the White House, as the president’s assistant for counterterrorism, that the use of these unmanned aerial vehicles that you refer to as drones in the counterterrorism effort has done tremendous work to keep this country safe,” he said. “The ability to use these platforms and advanced technologies, it has advanced the counterterrorism mission and the U.S. military has done some wonderful things with these platforms.”

“And in terms of precision of effort, accuracy and making sure that this country, this country’s military does everything possible to minimize to the great extent possible the loss of life of noncombatants, I think there’s a lot for this country and this White House and the military to be proud of.”

VICE News Exclusive: The Architect of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program

 

Published on Dec 10, 2014 by VICE News

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a blistering, 500-page report on the CIA’s controversial detention and interrogation program, a document that committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said represents the most significant oversight effort in the history of the US Senate.

The $40 million, five-year study concluded that CIA officials exaggerated the value of the intelligence they gleaned from dozens of “high-value detainees” held at black site prisons, where they were subjected to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The committee reviewed more than 6 million pages of top-secret CIA documents and found that the architect of the interrogation program was a retired Air Force psychologist named James Mitchell, an agency contractor who — according to news reports — personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Senate report does not identify Mitchell by name.

Mitchell has a signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA and was unable to discuss his alleged role in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program, but VICE News met up with him in suburban Florida to discuss the Senate’s report and one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror. This is the first time Mitchell has ever appeared on camera.

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A Professional Opinion on Torture: What the CIA Report Ignores About Interrogation

CIA (1)Breitbart, by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, Dec. 10, 2014:
Just a day after the Democrat-driven release of the report on the CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogations,” the news cycle is once again being driven by the issue of state-sanctioned torture, despite the program the report covers having ended many years ago. The story is clearly just as much a political one as national security one.

“Americans should be ashamed!” “The Democrats are endangering our servicemen and our allies!” Such is the extreme spread of opinion and reaction to the release yesterday of a 522-page report from the Democrat-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Standard narratives oscillate between condemning any use by America of tactics such as waterboarding, to those who see the release as a potential trigger for attacks against US interests around the world.

But what are the facts? In my career, I have trained US federal law enforcement agents in the principals of how to effectively interview Jihadist suspects. Before, that I was involved in the training of British special forces (SAS), in helping them resist interrogation by the enemy. Here is what I know:

  • Professionals do not use violence when interrogating “bad guys.” Even the most heinous terrorists. Why? Because most humans do not like pain and you never know if your prisoner actually has the information you need. As a result, when they “break,” you have no idea if they are inventing information just to make you stop hurting them. Subsequently, you may take that fabricated information and plan future operations around them, thus endangering the lives of your own people because the information was false.
  • Torturing people, or even “just” waterboarding them– a procedure which makes the subject feel as if they are drowning– may break a subject, but it will most often engender even greater hatred. That hatred cannot be controlled, especially if you are in an extra-judicial situation, or in a battlefield environment, which may lead at some point to the release of your prisoner. As a result, you may take a lowly foot-soldier who was just fighting you to feed his family and turn them into a person totally committed to the destruction of the United States. Remember the head of ISIS/The Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, was once our prisoner.
  • The “ticking time-bomb” scenario is a powerful argument, but by its nature should not be used as a justification for standing policies.  The idea that the interrogator can “step over the line” when the threat is dire and imminent is sympathetic to many reasonable people. However, there is no way to codify dire and imminent in an operationally useful fashion. A nuclear bomb timed to explode in New York tomorrow? Sure. But what about a car bomb in a “major” US city by April? Can I torture then? (One approach has been suggested by a kidnap case in Europe in which the victim was expected to die imminently and the perpetrator was in custody. The officer in charge, using the ticking time bomb analogy, decided to use violence. But first he told all his colleagues to leave the room and formally accepted all the legal ramifications of hurting the prisoner. And he was in fact prosecuted for his actions although he made the suspect talk. Note: his  actions were never used as an argument for a permanent change in policy. The individual knew that what he was doing was wrong and he was prepared for the consequences).
  • The argument that we did “bad” things as a nation for the greater good in the past is not sound either. Yes, we interned Japanese Americans, and our allies, the British, tortured SS officers. So what? Do we really think that American citizens should have been treated differently because of their skin color or where they grandparents came from? And yes, the Nazis were incarnate evil, and the SS the worst of all, but does that really mean ALL options are open? Can I parade the prisoner’s children into the cell and proceed to threaten their lives, or physically hurt them to get him to talk? Surely, if the war against Global Jihadism has any meaning, it is because we posit ourselves as morally good and the enemy as evil. Does that distinction end when the door to the cell is slammed shut?
Torture is simply un-American and is also not good professional practice.
However, there are broader issues. This document is so voluminous that, despite redaction, several mainstream media news sources have already pieced together conclusions, as have the countries which assisted in the program. We can rest assured that ISIS, Al Qaeda, and even Tehran and Russia will be poring over the 500-plus pages too.
Secondly, the idea that one administration can provide the legal standing for the use of a technique – even if it is unwise, or wrong – and then the officials who followed those orders can be prosecuted years later because the administration has changed, will have an effect on our capacity as a nation to protect ourselves. Our people need to know the politicians won’t betray them.
Lastly, the whole unseemly sight of a Congressional body rushing to release such sensitive information simply because their leadership’s party lost the last election is not how we deal with matters of national security. Preventing another 9/11 is not a partisan issue.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University, and the National Security and Foreign Affairs editor for Breitbart.com . You can follow him at @SebGorka.
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Senate Dems Politicize Intelligence Oversight

pic_giant_120914_SM_CIA

CSP, by Fred Fleitz, December 9, 2014:

Aided by numerous leaks by Democratic members and staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, mainstream media are planning a nostalgic trip back to the Bush-bashing days of the 2000s with today’s release of declassified parts of a Senate report on the Bush-era enhanced-interrogation program, a CIA counterterrorism initiative that its critics claim included torture.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a 499-page declassified executive summary of the still-classified 6,700-page report. Declassified versions of a CIA rebuttal and additional Democratic and Republican views reportedly also will be released today.

This investigation marks a new low for congressional oversight of intelligence because of its naked partisanship and refusal to consider all relevant evidence. The report was written entirely by the committee’s Democratic staff. The investigation included no interviews — it is based only on a review of documents. Because the report lacks Republican co-authors or interviews of people who ran the enhanced-interrogation program, it has no credibility and amounts to a five-year, $50 million Democrat cherry-picking exercise to investigate the Bush administration.

This didn’t have to happen. There are congressional Republicans who have problems with the enhanced-interrogation program and wanted an honest, bipartisan assessment of it. This is why all but one Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve the probe in March 2009. However, all of the committee’s GOP members withdrew their support six months later when it became clear that this inquiry would be a witch hunt against the Bush administration and the CIA and not a balanced, bipartisan investigation.

And what will this report tell us that we don’t already know? New details about enhanced-interrogation techniques and Democratic objections to them won’t be news. According to press leaks about the report, it will claim the program was poorly run and that CIA personnel exceeded their legal authority in running the program and lied about it to Congress and the White House. Such charges are hard to take seriously, because CIA officers accused in the report of improper and illegal activities were not interviewed by the committee’s staff investigators. Most of them were not even allowed to read the report — that privilege was limited to former CIA directors and deputy directors, and they were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements by the committee before they were given access to it.

The report will dispute that the enhanced-interrogation program produced useful intelligence. However, such a finding isn’t credible, since it is written by Democratic staff and reflects a partisan position long held by Democrats.

There are many former Bush-administration and CIA officials who claim that the enhanced-interrogation program was effective, provided crucial counterterrorism intelligence, and was conducted entirely within the law. These officials also claim that Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees were fully briefed on the program and supported it until it became politically useful to condemn it. Former CIA official Jose Rodriguez, who ran the enhanced-interrogation program, recently wrote a compelling Washington Post op-ed explaining these points.

Do these officials, including the CIA officers who ran the enhanced-interrogation program — former CIA director Michael Hayden, former deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, former CIA director George Tenet, former CIA general counsel John Rizzo, and others — have so little credibility that it was not worth interviewing them? How could a fair and thorough investigation of such a controversial intelligence program possibly be conducted without interviewing the key people who worked on or oversaw it?

While the decision by the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats to ignore the views of CIA officials who knew the enhanced-interrogation program best and to refuse to interview them as part of the inquiry may seem odd, this makes perfect sense for an investigation that was only looking for information that fit its predetermined conclusions. They did not want to spoil their pre-cooked report with unpleasant facts and dissenting views from CIA officials.

The Obama administration and congressional Republicans have raised concerns that the report being pushed by Democratic committee members will damage U.S. national security and could endanger American lives.

Revealing more details about the program will hurt American relations with key allies and could discourage them from sharing intelligence with the United States or cooperating with us on risky intelligence or military operations in the future.

Fear that the report also could lead to violence against Americans or to terrorist attacks led Secretary of State John Kerry to request that its release be delayed. American military personnel overseas and U.S. embassies and consulates have been warned to be on guard for “potential violence” because of the release of the report. House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) warned on Sunday that the report would be used as a propaganda tool by terrorist groups to incite anti-American unrest and would lead to “violence and deaths.”

So given all these issues with the report, why did Democrat on the committee push it? Why is Senator Feinstein determined to issue it before she loses her Intelligence Committee chairmanship next month?

While Feinstein has long been a supporter of the report, it was actually driven by the committee’s three far-left members: Senators Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), Tom Udall (D., Col.), and Mark Heinrich (D., N.M.). Not surprisingly, these three senators are also the only ones on the committee who have aggressively criticized NSA in the light of Edward Snowden’s leaks and tried to shut down crucial NSA collection programs. There have been calls by left-wing groups for Udall, who was defeated in his reelection bid, to leak information about NSA programs and the entire text of the enhanced-interrogations report before he leaves office, using his Senate immunity under the speech and debate clause.

Feinstein appears to have gone along with efforts by these three senators to radicalize the enhanced-interrogation investigation. She probably decided to release it because of pressure from liberal groups and Democratic contributors. Feinstein knows that if the declassified portion of the report had not been released this month, it never would have been released.

By issuing such a blatantly partisan report on events that took place ten years ago or more, the enhanced-interrogation report will seriously damage the credibility of congressional oversight of intelligence and the credibility of Senate Democrats — especially Feinstein — on national security. The myth that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s oversight of intelligence is non-political has been decisively disproved. It will be a long time before Senate Democrats and the Senate intelligence committee will regain the trust of U.S. intelligence officers and the American people on intelligence matters, owing to the politicized Democratic report on the enhanced-interrogation program.

Originally published at National Review Online

Must see:

Torturing the CIA – Feinstein Shouts ‘Fire’

CSP, Enhanced Interrogations worked and saved lives. Now Obama endangers them by releasing this report

TRANSCRIPT via Truth Revolt

 

Feinstein Shouts ‘Fire’ by Frank Gaffney

American embassies around the world are bracing for violence. Obama administration officials and Republican legislators have warned of impending death and destruction.

What’s precipitating such concerns is a self-inflicted wound, prompted by the intransigence of Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. She and other panel Democrats insist on releasing publicly a critique of George W. Bush administration use of harsh interrogation techniques after 9/11.

Even Democrats in the CIA are criticizing this so-called “torture” report as unbalanced and incomplete.

We shouldn’t refrain from publishing content just because jihadists will object. That would amount to self-imposing their freedom-crushing shariah-blasphemy laws here.

Disseminating defective government reports certain to reinforce the grievance narratives our enemies use to justify their Islamic supremacism and jihad, however, is recklessly irresponsible.

Also see:

Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey as US Investigates Benghazi Link

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

LWJ, By

An operative who was dispatched to Libya by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was reportedly captured in Turkey and is now being held in Jordan.

A Turkish daily, the Milliyet, first reported Azzouz’s capture earlier this month. The Milliyet’s reporting was subsequently picked up by other Turkish press outlets.

Azzouz was handpicked by Zawahiri to oversee al Qaeda’s efforts in post-revolution Libya. According to the Turkish reports, Azzouz was detained in mid-November after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Turkish authorities located him in the “summer resort” area of Yalova, which is south of Istanbul. Two laptops and a fake passport were captured along with Azzouz.

According to an account by the Washington Post, Azzouz was soon deported to Jordan, where he is currently being held.

US intelligence officials are investigating Azzouz’s potential ties to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. If he did have a role in the assault, during which four Americans were killed, then his involvement would be yet another strong piece of evidence pointing to the culpability of al Qaeda’s international network.

Fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), two formal branches of al Qaeda, are known to have taken part in the Benghazi attack. Both AQAP and AQIM are openly loyal to Zawahiri.

Members of the so-called Mohammad Jamal Network (MJN) were present among the attackers. The MJN, as it is known by Western counterterrorism officials, was founded by Mohammad Jamal, an Egyptian who was first trained by al Qaeda in the 1980s. Like the leaders of AQAP and AQIM, Jamal swore a bayat (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri.

Fighters from Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked group based in Libya, were also among the jihadists who stormed the embassy. There is abundant evidence tying Ansar al Sharia to al Qaeda’s network and these ties have been formally recognized by the United Nations. [For more on the various al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, see LWJ reports, Senate report: Terrorists ‘affiliated’ with multiple al Qaeda groups involved in Benghazi attack and UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda.]

Zawahiri’s man in Libya

In September, the State Department added Azzouz to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Azzouz “has had a presence in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and Libya.”

State noted that Azzouz “was sent to Libya in 2011 by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to build a fighting force there, and mobilized approximately 200 fighters.” Azzouz “is considered a key operative capable of training al Qaeda recruits in a variety of skills,” such as building improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The designation of Azzouz confirmed some of the details previously reported by CNN, as well as by an analysis shop in the Defense Department.

An unclassified report published in August 2012 highlights al Qaeda’s strategy for building a fully operational network in Libya, and it identified Azzouz as playing a key role in these plans. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the federal research division of the Library of Congress under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).

The report’s authors noted that Azzouz had been sent to Libya by Zawahiri and has been close to the al Qaeda leader “since 1980.” Azzouz “first visited Afghanistan in the 1990s to join the mujahedin fight against the Soviet occupation.” In Libya, according to the CTTSO report, Azzouz “has been operating at least one training center” and has hundreds of men under his command. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s plan for Libya highlighted in congressional report.]

It is not clear what Azzouz was specifically doing in Turkey at the time of his capture. Turkey is a known crossroads for al Qaeda operatives, including those dispatched by al Qaeda’s senior leadership and fighters seeking to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

Inside the CIA’s Syrian Rebels Vetting Machine

A Free Syrian Army fighter in Aleppo. Hosam Katan/Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter in Aleppo. Hosam Katan/Reuters

By Jeff Stein:

Nothing has come in for more mockery during the Obama administration’s halting steps into the Syrian civil war than its employment of “moderate” to describe the kind of rebels it is willing to back. In one of the more widely cited japes, The New Yorker’s resident humorist, Andy Borowitz, presented a “Moderate Syrian Application Form,” in which applicants were asked to describe themselves as either “A) Moderate, B) Very moderate, C) Crazy moderate or D) Other.”

After Senator John McCain unwittingly posed with Syrians “on our side” who turned out to be kidnappers, Jon Stewart cracked, “Not everyone is going to be wearing their ‘HELLO I’M A TERRORIST’ name badge.”

Behind the jokes, however, is the deadly serious responsibility of the CIA and Defense Department to vet Syrians before they receive covert American training, aid and arms. But according to U.S. counterterrorism veterans, a system that worked pretty well during four decades of the Cold War has been no match for the linguistic, cultural, tribal and political complexities of the Middle East, especially now in Syria. “We’re completely out of our league,” one former CIA vetting expert declared on condition of anonymity, reflecting the consensus of intelligence professionals with firsthand knowledge of the Syrian situation. “To be really honest, very few people know how to vet well. It’s a very specialized skill. It’s extremely difficult to do well” in the best of circumstances, the former operative said. And in Syria it has proved impossible.

Daunted by the task of fielding a 5,000-strong force virtually overnight, the Defense Department and CIA field operatives, known as case officers, have largely fallen back on the system used in Afghanistan, first during the covert campaign to rout the Soviet Red Army in the 1980s and then again after the 2001 U.S. invasion to expel Al-Qaeda: Pick a tribal leader who in turn recruits a fighting force. But these warlords have had their own agendas, including drug-running, and shifting alliances, sometimes collaborating with terrorist enemies of the United States, sometimes not.

“Vetting is a word we throw a lot around a lot, but actually very few people know what it really means,” said the former CIA operative, who had several postings in the Middle East for a decade after the 9/11 attacks. “It’s not like you’ve got a booth set up at a camp somewhere. What normally happens is that a case officer will identify a source who is a leader in one of the Free Syrian Army groups. And he’ll say, ‘Hey…can you come up with 200 [guys] you can trust?’ And of course they say yes—they always say yes. So Ahmed brings you a list and the details you need to do the traces,” the CIA’s word for background checks. “So you’re taking that guy’s word on the people he’s recruited. So we rely on a source whom we’ve done traces on to do the recruiting. Does that make sense?”

No, says former CIA operative Patrick Skinner, who still travels the region for the Soufan Group, a private intelligence organization headed by FBI, CIA and MI6 veterans. “Syria is a vetting nightmare,” he told Newsweek, “with no way to discern the loyalties of not only those being vetted but also of those bringing the people to our attention.”

A particularly vivid example was provided recently by Peter Theo Curtis, an American held hostage in Syria for two years. A U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) unit that briefly held him hostage casually revealed how it collaborated with Al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, even after being “vetted” and trained by the CIA in Jordan, he wrote in The New York Times Magazine.

“About this business of fighting Jabhat al-Nusra?” Curtis said he asked his FSA captors.

“Oh, that,” one said. “We lied to the Americans about that.”

Read more at Newsweek

POTUS OBAMA SENT SECRET LETTER TO IRAN’S LEADERSHIP; SEEKING TEHRAN’S HELP AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE; PLEDGED NOT TO TAKE OUT ASSAD

ayattollah, November 7, 2014 · by R.C. Porter:

Disastrous and ill-conceived. From the very beginning of POTUS Obama’s first term in office, he and his ‘team’ have sought to offend our friends and appease our adversaries. One of POTUS Obama’s first foreign policy affronts against a long-time ally, was to send the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. Great start on how not to win friends and influence people. POTUS Obama’s view of the world and his perceived belief that America was in large part to blame for many of the world’s ills was naïve and perplexing. From his — can’t we all just get along speech in Cairo, to his failure to support the Iran uprising after a corrupt Presidential vote, his re-set with Russia, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq too quickly and without a tether, failure to check China’s aggressive posture in the western Pacific, backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and now appeasing the Mullahs of Iran and the butcher of Syria — Obama’s foreign policy is breathtaking in its fecklessness and vacuity. The best way to defeat the Islamic State — is also take out Assad. The U.S. should have taken out Syrian military airfields — the minute we began bombing ISIS positions in northern Syria. And, we surely do not want to encourage the Mullahs in Tehran/Qum that they can still produce a nuclear weapon, or achieve a near-constant breakout capability with a deal more to their liking — because of a U.S. President’s desperation for a deal — at almost any price. Very, very disturbing. No wonder this letter was sent in secret, and without Congressional input, or knowledge. RCP.

 

Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State

Presidential Correspondence With Ayatollah Stresses Shared U.S.-Iranian Interests in Combating Insurgents, Urges Progress on Nuclear Talks

By JAY SOLOMON And CAROL E. LEE, Nov. 6, 2014

WASHINGTON-President Barack Obama secretly wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to people briefed on the correspondence.

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say.

The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government.

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important-whether in a potentially constructive or negative role-to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months.

Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces.

Mr. Obama and senior administration officials in recent days have placed the chances for a deal with Iran at only 50-50. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to begin intensive direct negotiations on the nuclear issue with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, on Sunday in the Persian Gulf country of Oman.

“There’s a sizable portion of the political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism,” Mr. Obama said at a White House news conference on Wednesday about Iran’s leadership, without commenting on his personal overture. “Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. ENLARGE
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

For the first time this week, a senior administration official said negotiations could be extended beyond the Nov. 24 deadline, adding that the White House will know after Mr. Kerry’s trip to Oman whether a deal with Iran is possible by late November.

“We’ll know a lot more after that meeting as to whether or not we have a shot at an agreement by the deadline,” the senior official said. “If there’s an extension, there’re questions like: What are the terms?”

Mr. Obama’s push for a deal faces renewed resistance after Tuesday’s elections gave Republicans control of the Senate and added power to thwart an agreement and to impose new sanctions on Iran. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have introduced legislation to intensify sanctions.

‘There’s a sizable portion of the [Iranian] political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism. Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.’

-Barack Obama

“The best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to quickly pass the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation-not to give the Iranians more time to build a bomb,” Mr. Kirk said Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) expressed concern when asked about the letter sent by Mr. Obama.

“I don’t trust the Iranians, I don’t think we need to bring them into this,” Mr. Boehner said. Referring to the continuing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Mr. Boehner said he “would hope that the negotiations that are under way are serious negotiations, but I have my doubts.”

In a sign of the sensitivity of the Iran diplomacy, the White House didn’t tell its Middle East allies-including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-about Mr. Obama’s October letter to Mr. Khamenei, according to people briefed on the correspondence and representatives of allied countries.

Leaders from these countries have voiced growing concern in recent weeks that the U.S. is preparing to significantly soften its demands in the nuclear talks with Tehran. They said they worry the deal could allow Iran to gain the capacity to produce nuclear weapons in the future.

Arab leaders also fear Washington’s emerging rapprochement with Tehran could come at the expense of their security and economic interests across the Middle East. These leaders have accused the U.S. of keeping them in the dark about its diplomatic engagements with Tehran.

The Obama administration launched secret talks with Iran in the Omani capital of Muscat in mid-2012, but didn’t notify Washington’s Mideast allies of the covert diplomatic channel until late 2013.

Senior U.S. officials declined to discuss Mr. Obama’s letter to Mr. Khamenei after questions from The Wall Street Journal.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday declined to comment on what he called “private correspondence” between the president and world leaders, but acknowledged U.S. officials in the past have discussed the Islamic State campaign with Iranian officials on the sidelines of international nuclear talks. He added the negotiations remain centered on Iran’s nuclear program and reiterated that the U.S. isn’t cooperating militarily with Iran on the Islamic State fight.

Administration officials didn’t deny the letter’s existence when questioned by foreign diplomats in recent days.

Mr. Khamenei has proved a fickle diplomatic interlocutor for Mr. Obama in the past six years.

Mr. Obama sent two letters to Iran’s 75-year-old supreme leader during the first half of 2009, calling for improvements in U.S.-Iran ties, which had been frozen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran.

Mr. Khamenei never directly responded to the overtures, according to U.S. officials. And Iran’s security forces cracked down hard that year on nationwide protests that challenged the re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .

Mr. Khamenei is believed to be the decision maker on the nuclear program. ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S.-Iran relations have thawed considerably since the election of President Hasan Rouhani in June 2013. He and Mr. Obama shared a 15-minute phone call in September 2013, and Messrs. Kerry and Zarif have regularly held direct talks on the nuclear diplomacy and regional issues.

Still, Mr. Khamenei has often cast doubt on the prospects for better relations with Washington. He has criticized the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, claiming it is another attempt by Washington and the West to weaken the Islamic world.

“America, Zionism, and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions-the wicked government of Britain-have sharply increased their efforts of creating divisions between the Sunnis and Shiites,” Mr. Khamenei said in a speech last month, according to a copy of it on his website. “They created al Qaeda and [Islamic State] in order to create divisions and to fight against the Islamic Republic, but today, they have turned on them.”

Current and former U.S. officials have said Mr. Obama has focused on communicating with Mr. Khamenei specifically because they believe the cleric will make all the final decisions on Iran’s nuclear program and the fight against Islamic State.

Mr. Rouhani is seen as navigating a difficult balance of gaining Mr. Khamenei’s approval for his foreign policy decisions while trying to satisfy Iranian voters who elected him in the hope of seeing Iran re-engage with the Western world.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency checks the enrichment process inside the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January. ENLARGE
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency checks the enrichment process inside the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January. EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The emergence of Islamic State has drastically changed both Washington’s and Tehran’s policies in the Middle East.

Mr. Obama was elected on the pledge of ending Washington’s war in Iraq. But over the past three months, he has resumed a U.S. air war in the Arab country, focused on weakening Islamic State’s hold of territory in western and northern Iraq.

Iran has had to mobilize its own military resources to fight against Islamic State, according to senior Iranian and U.S. officials.

Tehran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has sent military advisers into Iraq to help the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a close Iranian ally. The IRGC has also worked with Syrian President Assad’s government, and Shiite militias from across the Mideast, to conduct military operations inside Syria.

U.S. officials have stressed that they are not coordinating with Tehran on the fight against Islamic State.

But the State Department has confirmed that senior U.S. officials have discussed Iraq with Mr. Zarif on the sidelines of nuclear negotiations in Vienna. U.S. diplomats have also passed on messages to Tehran via Mr. Abadi’s government in Baghdad and through the offices of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, among the most powerful religious leaders in the Shiite world.

Among the messages conveyed to Tehran, according to U.S. officials, is that U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria aren’t aimed at weakening Tehran or its allies.

“We’ve passed on messages to the Iranians through the Iraqi government and Sistani saying our objective is against ISIL,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on these communications. “We’re not using this as a platform to reoccupy Iraq or to undermine Iran.”

-Michael R. Crittenden contributed to this article.

Write to Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com and Carol E. Lee atcarol.lee@wsj.com

Did CIA Meet With CAIR to Purge Anti-Muslim Training Material? It’s Classified

20110817_CAIRCIAJudicial Watch:

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is refusing to provide Judicial Watch with records of meetings between the agency and an Islamic terrorist front group that pressured the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to purge training materials deemed offensive to Muslims.

Back In 2012 and 2013 JW filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records of all complaints of anti-Islamic content in any educational or training material and any meetings the agency may have had with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to discuss it. The requests were part of an ongoing JW investigation into a powerful Islamist influence operation aimed at our government and Constitution.

Law enforcement agencies have been especially targeted by CAIR, an Islamic terrorist front group founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists that today reportedly raises money for Hamas. CAIR not only got the FBI to purge all training material and curricula deemed offensive to Muslims, it has succeeded in getting local police departments to do the same. Last year JW published a special report documenting the FBI purge, which occurred following a February 2012 meeting between FBI Director Robert Mueller and various Islamic organizations, including CAIR.

In the name of government transparency and accountability, JW set out to uncover whether the same occurred at the CIA. In fact, JW’s first public-records request cites a documented incident involving a lecturer at the CIA campus in Elkridge, Maryland who came under CAIR’s fire for alleged Islamophobia. Previous to that another defense instructor got fired after similar complaints. Less than a year later JW filed a second request specifically asking for records of communications and meetings with CAIR since the group was the driving force behind the FBI purge.

This week the CIA sent JW an amusing response, claiming that it “can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records” involving meetings or communications with CAIR. Here’s why, according to the spy agency; it’s classified intelligence information that’s protected from disclosure. The response goes on to cite the statutes—such as the CIA Act of 1949 and National Security Act of 1947—that allow the agency to hide even the most benign information from the American public. In this particular case, it’s not far-fetched to conclude the CIA met with CAIR—or at least had communication with the extremist group—and doesn’t exactly want the public to know about it.

It certainly paints a scary picture that the nation’s top intelligence-gathering agency responsible for preempting threats is possibly taking orders from an extremist group that was named a co-conspirator in a massive terrorism financing case just a few years ago. Indeed, if this is occurring it should be classified. The CIA’s response to JW’s first request was that it was “unable to locate any records” involving complaints of anti-Islamic content in its educational or training material. This despite “thorough and diligent searches,” according to the correspondence JW got from the agency.

The Islamist campaign to overhaul the way all law enforcement officers are trained in the United States is going full-throttle. Just a few weeks ago JW reported that a coalition of influential and politically-connected Muslim organizations are demanding that the Obama administration implement a mandatory retraining program for all federal, state and local law enforcement officials who may have been subjected to materials they deem “biased and discriminatory” against Muslims. The coalition also wants an audit of all federal law enforcement and intelligence gathering training and educational materials to identify and remove information that could exhibit bias against any race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Those responsible for anti-Muslim training material must be punished, according to the coalition’s written demands to Lisa O. Monaco, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.