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Fang writes: "Donald Trump may select Jose Rodriguez, one of the primary architects of the George W. Bush torture program, to run the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a law firm with close ties to Trump."

People talk inside the CIA headquarters. (photo: David Burnett/Newsmakers)
People talk inside the CIA headquarters. (photo: David Burnett/Newsmakers)

Donald Trump May Select an Architect of Bush's Torture Program to Run CIA

By Lee Fang, The Intercept

11 November 16


onald Trump may select Jose Rodriguez, one of the primary architects of the George W. Bush torture program, to run the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a law firm with close ties to Trump.

Rodriguez, the former director of the National Clandestine Service, helped developed the CIA black sites, secret prisons operated in foreign countries where interrogators used a range of torture tactics, including the use of “waterboarding,” the simulated drowning technique once used by the Khmer Rouge and Nazi agents to glean information from detainees.

At least 136 individuals were detained and tortured by the CIA. Interrogation tactics also included forced nudity, sleep deprivation while being vertically shackled, and confinement in a small box.

Rodriguez is unapologetic about his role in the program, telling 60 Minutes that “we did the right thing for the right reason,” even if it meant “going to the border of legality.”

The suggestion that Rodriguez may head the CIA was made in a post-election prediction document published by Dentons, a law and lobbying firm where Trump confidant Newt Gingrich serves as a senior advisor. Dentons was also retained by Make American Number 1, one of the primary Super PACs supporting Trump’s candidacy.

Dentons’s Public Policy and Regulation team, the division that employs Gingrich, published the prediction document. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump has said he will bring back waterboarding and argued that he doesn’t believe the tactic “is tough enough.” Last summer, during an interview in New Hampshire, Trump announced that he we needed to “get much tougher as a country,” arguing that he would encourage interrogation tactics, including “things that are unthinkable almost.”

Rodriguez not only crafted the Bush torture program, but played a key role in the cover up. Following revelations of the effort, Rodriguez worked directly to get rid of the evidence and destroyed 92 video tapes revealing the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times.

In destroying the tapes, Rodriguez claimed that he was simply protecting agents in the field from reprisals from terrorists. But as one declassified email noted, Rodriguez was in fact concerned about public backlash from the brutal visuals. “Heat from destroying is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into [the] public domain — he said that out of context, they would make us look terrible; it would be ‘devastating’ to us,” the email noted.

Rodriguez has defended his tenure at the CIA, telling Amy Davidson of the New Yorker that his interrogation techniques were “sometimes harsh, but fell well short of what is torture.” Rodriguez argued that such methods were valid because they were reviewed by government lawyers and certain members of Congress were briefed.

Other former Bush officials may snag positions in the new Trump administration. Stephen Hadley, the former National Security Advisor to Bush and current board member to Raytheon, could serve as Secretary of Defense, the Dentons memo predicts. Chris Christie, a former prosecutor in Bush’s Department of Justice, may win an appointment as Attorney General. Christie, notably, has staked much of his law enforcement claim to fame on his prosecution of three brothers over a plot to attack the Fort Dix military base. An investigation by The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain a range of problems in the prosecution, with much of the evidence supplied by highly paid informants who coerced the defendants into making vague statements that were later maliciously interpreted by prosecutors.

On CNN on Wednesday, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a key Trump supporter on Capitol Hill and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared to lay the groundwork for the return of waterboarding, claiming to host Wolf Blitzer that the technique “isn’t torture.”  The International Committee of the Red Cross, which oversees the Geneva Conventions, declared in 2014 that the waterboarding meets the definition of torture under U.S. and international law. your social media marketing partner


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+16 # MsAnnaNOLA 2016-11-11 16:08
This would be a bad decision since this is a person known to have obstructed justice by destroying tapes of the torture.
+16 # ReconFire 2016-11-11 20:11
"going to the border of legality"

I've got news for you Rodriguez, you bunch of criminals were looking at legality in the rear view mirror, and you know it.
+6 # dipierro4 2016-11-12 00:35
Perhaps better to leave "Bush" out of the headline/title. The Bush family hates Trump; let's not do anything to unnecessarily encourage them to pull together.
+5 # HowardMH 2016-11-12 10:10
Bush family hates Trump and it took them all how many minutes after he was elected to call and congratulate him? What a bunch of retard suck ups all the Bushies are turning out to be.
+7 # Thomas Martin 2016-11-12 01:02
Based on what Bush did, even if controlled by Cheney, we dislike him more than we yet do Trump --- but unfortunately we don't have any better hopes for Trump based on this article and much more!
+1 # Lloyd Wagner 2016-11-12 05:24
Too bad Obama didn't prosecute any of the Bush criminals.
He even pretended to believe the official story of 19 Arab hi-jackers with box-cutters flying aluminum airplanes inside of steel and concrete buildings on 9/11, and let THAT mass murder go, too -- or I should say, he continued the mass murder of Muslims for what someone else actually did.
But like I've said many times, they're all on the same team. That includes RSN.
-5 # HowardMH 2016-11-12 10:12
Lloyd, that is Obama the Wimp, no backbone, no spine, no balls Obama the Wimp.
+5 # keenon the truth 2016-11-12 06:07
I was pretty much with you till the last line.
+5 # Glen 2016-11-12 06:33
Same here, keenon. All the way until the post got petty in that last sentence.
+5 # maindrains 2016-11-12 13:35
Trump will probably be able to persuage some unethical lawyer like Yoo/ Gonzales to make him up a law that will allow him to torture.. just like Bush but regardless the Geneva conventions will not allow him to do it.. legally. There is no evidence that torture works to get good information anyway.. its just an excuse for brutality and revenge for small people.
0 # candida 2016-11-13 18:48
Where are all the Hillary-haters who thought Trump would be better (more pacifist, less imperialist) on foreign policy. C'mon, now don't be shy!!
-1 # Patriot 2016-11-15 02:43
Candida, Clinton LOST. trump is now President-elect . We have a LOT on our plates. Drop the taunting, okay--lest we remind you that we TOLD you Clinton wasn't going to get a lot of support.
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-11-17 14:29
She got 2 million more votes than neo-fascist
Say goodbye to our - however flawed-- democracy!!!

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