Future Senate Leaders Must Oppose CIA Torturer's Confirmation

U.S. Senators face career-defining confirmation votes beginning Wednesday regarding President Trump's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Gina Haspel Custom 2The nomination of current CIA Acting Director Gina Haspel (shown at right) will help define each senator's legacy.

That's partly because of her own abuses at the CIA in fostering torture and destroying the evidence so that other malefactors could avoid accountability but also because of the background of decades of whitewashes by the senate in failing to excercise their oversight obligations under the Constitution over the powerful intelligence agencies like the CIA.

The media have duly reported Haspel's record of assisting torture and rendition after 9/11 and then helping to destroy evidence. Those shortcomings are why she is expected to receive confirmation by a relatively narrow and nearly party-line vote, primarily from the Republican majority.

cia logoWith her confirmation likely assured, our focus here is less about her than on whether the senate and, particularly its Democratic members who might aspire to future leadership, will show a commitment to the Constitution by keeping the vote close.

Haspel runs one of the nation's most powerful and unaccountable bodies, one that has been instrumental in countless covert operations, some of which have targeted Americans through the years, not simply foreigners as originally intended by the CIA's 1947 enabling legislation.

dianne feinsteinMost immediately, public attention should focus on the votes of Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who announced on May 15 that he would support the nominee, former Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and a number of senators who are reputed to be gearing up for 2020  presidential campaigns. Feinstein faces the more immediate test of a primary election next month against a rival endorsed by California's Democratic Party at a convention this spring.

mark warner shirtsleevesWarner (shown at right) may have been complicit with the committee's GOP Chairman Richard Burr in preventing his Senate colleagues reading a classified  account of Haspel's role in the torture cover-up. That's implied by The Intercerpt's reporter Ryan Grim Monday in a column headlined Ahead of Vote on Gina Haspel, Senate Pulls Access to Damning Classified Memo. The material is from a Department of Justice report by special counsel John Durham documenting Haspell's role in helping suppress CIA torture evidence in ways not specified. Grim's story is excerpted more fully below, along with other news reports,

john mccain 2009 wRepublican senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Rand Paul (KY) are opposing Haspel. McCain, a torture victim during the Vietnam War, says the practice is fundamentally unAmerican. Paul has centered his opposition on what he regarded as Haspel's evasive testimony on her views, which she amplified in a letter to Warner released Tuesday.

Bottom line: While most of senators face heavy political pressures to approve a presidential nominee none of the senators who vote for Haspel under these circumstances should be entitled to a leadership position on any intelligence or armed forces committee, much less less presidential consideration for reasons explained more fully below.

Update: Roll Call, Senate Confirms Gina Haspel to Lead CIA, Niels Lesniewski, May 17, 2018. Bipartisan vote does not follow partisan script. After a number of Democratic senators announced they would support President Donald Trump’s choice of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the agency, she was easily confirmed Thursday afternoon.

The Nominee

mike pompeo portraitKentucky-born Gina Haspel, born Gina Walker, 61, has worked for the CIA for 33 years. Trump nominated her after he picked her CIA Director Mike Pompeo (right), a former Kansas congressman and extreme war hawk, to become secretary of state.

Haspel has won support for her abilitities and her nomination from high-ranking CIA appointees from both parties. But, unlike most of her predecessors as director, much of her career has involved covert activities that remain classified.

That might pass unnoticed in a superficial view of agency activities that assumes that they are primarily focused on the benign-sounding term "intelligence" that remains part of the agency's  name and publicly stated mission and 1947 enabling legislation.

Before reviewing this nomination, it's helpful to consult the CIA's current official site. It states:

What We Do

cia logoCIA’s primary mission is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist White House, the President and senior US government policymakers in making decisions relating to national security. This is a very complex process and involves a variety of steps.....

The US Congress has had oversight responsibility of the CIA since the Agency was established in 1947. However, prior to the mid-1970’s, oversight was less formal. The 1980 Intelligence Oversight Act charged the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) with authorizing the programs of the intelligence agencies and overseeing their activities.

If those two paragraphs were a reasonable attempt at full disclosure true there would be far less need for this column and its argument seeking more accountability for the agency and its most recent nominee, Haspel.

However, vast documentation exists that the agency has engaged also in secret wars, propaganda operations, regime change, arms smuggling, false flags, election rigging, assassinations and money laundering, with scant accountability.

This column cannot begin to document all those matters, the vast bulk of which fall outside of Haspel's tenure and previous areas of responsibilities. But the recent Trump administration cover-up of congressionally mandated records release regarding President Kennedy's 1963 assassination (which we reported this month in Trump suppresses JFK murder records; Violates pledge; Bows to CIA, Deep State) along with our 50-part series Readers Guide To the JFK Assassination together provide strong evidence of the CIA's suspicious activities and weak congressional oversight 

Black Site, Black Marks

Regarding Haspel, the current flashpoint in her confirmation vote has been her role as chief of a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where prisoners were waterboarded. The United States and other Western nations have traditionally held simulated drowning in waterboarding to constitute torture. But President George W. Bush's administration issued a ruling that denied it was torture and thus did not violate the Geneva Convention against torture.

Many authorities and news media outlets deferred for years to that mindset by describing the practice as "harsh interrogation." Yet the term "torture" is increasingly applied to what occurred.

john durhamUnder pressure, both the Bush and Obama administration undertook an investigation by the Justice Department of potential lawbreaking. Both administrations named career prosecutor John Durham (shown at right in a file photo) to investigate aspects of the Waterboarding.

As a result of his investigation, the Justice Department decided in 2010 not to file criminal charges over the destruction of CIA videotapes depicting the interrogation of terrorism suspects. Justice Department reporter Jerry Markon of the Washington Post reported in No charges in destruction of CIA videotapes, Justice Department says on Nov. 9, 2010:

After an exhaustive probe that lasted nearly three years, federal prosecutor John Durham concluded that he would not bring a criminal case against the CIA officers. The burning of the 92 tapes on Nov. 9, 2005, was authorized in a cable sent by Jose Rodriguez Jr., head of the agency's directorate of operations.

The tapes showed the interrogations of two high-profile detainees. Sources have said they depicted waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning that human rights groups and Obama administration officials say is torture.

However, our Justice Integrity Project investigation of the matter, first reported in our column in Harvard University's Nieman Watchdog, revealed that double standards arose in the case.

Courts had found that Durham was implicated in suppressing evidence in a separate case, while doggedly pursuing for years during appeals a harsh obstuction of justice prison sentence for a white collar witness jose rodriguez cia owho deleted a file from a computer. 

Rodriguez (shown at left), the former CIA officer who destroyed torture tapes despite a federal court order, went on to write a memoir boasting of his actions. The senate this year confirmed Durham, now 68, by a unanimous vote in 2018 to become U.S. attorney for Connecticut in the Trump Administration. 

Current Senate Vote Count

joe manchin oIn sum, the vote shapes up as yet another victory by the CIA whereby timid senators fail to excercise effective oversight over the most famous (if not notorious) of the score of federal intelligence agencies that penetrate almost every part of American life under the claim of "national security."

As noted briefly above and more extensively in news story excerpts below, it appears that Haspel is likely to win confirmation by at least a narrow majority. The winning margin could be supplied by two Democrats from strongly Republican states, Sen. Joe Manchin (shown at joe donnellyright) from West Virginia and Sen. Joe Donnelly from Indiana (shown at left). Both are up for reelection this year. 

But, no one who votes for Haspel should ever aspire to leadership in a relevant field without at least a thorough grilling if not apology for this week's vote. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2003 vote to help enable the Iraq War should be the model here. In retrospect, it  became clear that she made a politically expedient decision to polish her war hawk credentials despite the highly dubious evidence (later proven bogus) that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. As it turned out, her vote helped cripple her 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns by fostering persistent doubts about her honesty.

In the same way, the public should keep a keen on the votes of the many current senators who seek to leverage their current job into presidential campaigns, senate leadership or cabinet positions related to law or intelligence. They know that the CIA, which along with sister agencies can maintain dossiers on all major officials, is a powerful institution.

But they should also reaffirm that a U.S. Senate with a commitment to the Constitution should be a powerful institution also.

Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The CIA In History

The CIA In History

harry truman oIn 1947, President Harry S Truman (shown at left) signed legislation creating the CIA as a new unit of the Pentagon following a power struggle between the agency's World War II predecessor Office of Strategic Services leader William "Wild Bill" Donovan and Donovan's chief opponent in that era's turf wars over intelligence, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

On Dec. 22, 1963, exactly one month after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, Truman published a syndicated column in the Washington Post entitled, Limit CIA Role To Intelligence. That column, available electronically via the Mae Brussell collection, is excerpted below:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment.....It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government.

This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue — and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.

With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about "Yankee imperialism," "exploitive capitalism," "war-mongering," "monopolists," in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.

sidney souersI well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers [Sidney Souers, shown at right], and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity — and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.

But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field — and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.

We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

As an editorial footnote: Truman's column was distributed by the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) and received relatively little traction despite its authorship by a former president.

It is ironic and probably not coincidental that Truman's once-prominent syndication service NANA was later revealed to have had a change in ownership in the 1950s with hidden funding from British intelligence for the new owner. This funding change was probably without Truman's knowledge, at least insofar as publicly known from such sources as his correspondence at the Truman Library..

ian flemingAs another indication of the pervasive penetration of intelligence operatives into the media during the Cold War era (if not more currently), NANA's European vice president during the 1950s was former British intelligence executive Ian Fleming (shown in a file photo), later famous as the author of the iconic James Bond spy series.

The larger lesson? Spy agencies became so pervasive during the Cold War that even a former U.S. president writing on the topic barely knew of their reach.


Related News Coverage

May 19

gina haspel screenshot

caitlin johnstoneCaitlinJohnstone.com, Opinion: The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Has Fallen Off, Caitlin Johnstone, May 19, 2018. Gina Haspel (shown above during the U.S. Senate confirmation process) has been confirmed as America's new CIA Director, fulfilling her predecessor Mike Pompeo's pledge to turn the CIA into "a much more vicious agency." "Bloody Gina" has reportedly been directly involved in both torturing people and destroying evidence of torture in her long and depraved career, which some say hurts the CIA's reputation.

Others say it just makes it more honest. The lying, torturing, propagandizing, drug trafficking, coup-staging, warmongering Central Intelligence Agency has done some of the most unspeakably horrific things to human beings that have ever happened in the history of our species.

cia logoIf you think I'm exaggerating, do your own research into some of the CIA's activities like the Phoenix Program, which used "Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock ('the Bell Telephone Hour') rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the 'water treatment'; the 'airplane' in which the prisoner's arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners," and "The use of the insertion of the 6-inch dowel into the canal of one of my detainee's ears, and the tapping through the brain until dead. The starvation to death (in a cage), of a Vietnamese woman who was suspected of being part of the local political education cadre in one of the local villages...The use of electronic gear such as sealed telephones attached to...both the women's vaginas and men's testicles [to] shock them into submission."

mike pompeo portraitThis is what the CIA is. This is what the CIA has always been. This is what [the new Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, shown at left, said he wanted to help make the CIA "much more vicious" than. Appointing Gina Haspel as head of the agency is just putting an honest face on it.

It really couldn't be more fitting that the US now has an actual, literal torturer as the head of the CIA. It also couldn't be more fitting that it djt official Smallhas a reality TV star billionaire President, an Iraq-raping Bush-era neoconservative psychopath as National Security Advisor, a former defense industry director as Secretary of Defense, a former Goldman Sachs executive as Secretary Treasurer, and a former Rothschild, Inc. executive as Secretary of Commerce. These positions have always facilitated torture, oppression, war profiteering and Wall Street greed; the only thing that has changed is that they now have a more honest face on them.

The mask of the nationless Orwellian oligarchy which dominates our world is slipping off all over the place.

Israel FlagIsrael is now openly massacring unarmed Palestinian civilians, prompting a UN investigation into possible war crimes. Only two nations voted in opposition to the investigation, and surprise surprise it was the two nations apart from Israel who most clearly owe their existence to the institutionalized slaughter and brutalization of their indigenous occupants in recent history: the US and Australia. All other members of the UN Human Rights Council either voted in support of the investigation or abstained.

Internet censorship is becoming more and more brazen as our governments become increasingly concerned that we are developing the wrong kinds of political opinions. Ever since the establishment Douma and Skripal narratives failed to take hold effectively, we've been seeing more and more frantic attempts to seize control of public discourse.

facebook logoTwo weeks after the Atlantic Council explained to us that we need to be propagandized by our governments for our own good, Facebook finally made the marriage of Silicon Valley and the western war machine official by announcing a partnership with the Atlantic Council to ensure that we are all receiving properly authorized information. (Facebook, Announcing New Election Partnership with the Atlantic Council, Katie Harbath (Global Politics and Government Outreach Director), May 17, 2018. See below for details.)

atlantic council logoThe Atlantic Council is pure corruption, funded by powerful oligarchs, NATO, the US State Department, empire-aligned Gulf states and the military-industrial complex. Many threads of the establishment anti-Russia narrative trace back to this highly influential think NATO logotank, from the DNC hack to the discredited war propaganda firm Bellingcat to imaginary Russian trolls to the notorious McCarthyite PropOrNot blacklist publicized by the Washington Post.

twitter bird CustomFacebook involving itself with this malignant warmongering psyop factory constitutes an open admission that the social media site considers it its duty to manipulate people into supporting the agendas of the western empire. We're seeing similar manipulations in Twitter, which recently announced that it will be hiding posts by more controversial accounts, and by Wikipedia, which has been brazenly editing the entries of anti-imperialist activists with a cartoonishly pro-establishment slant.

It is always a good sign when people in power become concerned that their subjects are developing the wrong kinds of political opinions, because it means that truth is winning. All this gibberish we've been hearing about "Russian disinformation" and "Russian propaganda" is just a label that has been pinned on dissenting narratives by a mass media propaganda machine that has lost control of the narrative.

And this is why it's getting so overt, barely even attempting to conceal its true nature anymore. Our species' newfound ability to network and share information has enabled a degree of free thinking that the cultural engineers did not anticipate and have not been able to stay ahead of, and they're being forced to make more and more overt grabs to try and force us all back into our assigned brain boxes.

george orwell on continuous war

But the oligarchs who rule us and their Orwellian power structure is already in a lose-lose situation, because the empire that they have built for themselves rests upon the illusion of freedom and democracy. The most powerful rulers of our world long ago eschewed the old model of sitting on thrones and executing dissidents in the town square, instead taking on a hidden role of influence behind the official elected governments and using mass media propaganda to manufacture the consent of the governed.

This system is far more efficient than the old model because a populace will never rebel against rulers it doesn't know exist, and it has enabled the western oligarchs to amass more power and influence than the kings of old ever dreamed possible. But it has a weakness: they have to control the narrative, and if they fail to do that they can't switch to overt totalitarianism without shattering the illusion of freedom and provoking a massive public uprising.

So the wealth-holding manipulators are stuck between a rock and a hard place now, trying to use new media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia to herd the unwashed masses back into their pens. The more brazen they get with those manipulations, however, the more the mask slips off, and the greater the risk of the public realizing that they aren't actually free from tyrannical rule and exploitation.

The real currency of this world is not backed by gold, nor by oil, nor by bureaucratic fiat, nor even by direct military might. No, the real currency of this world is narrative, and the ability to control it. The difference between those who rule this world and those who don't is that those who rule understand this distinction and are sufficiently sociopathic to exploit it for their own benefit.

Power only exists where it exists because of the stories that humans agree to tell one another. The idea that government operates a certain way, that money operates a certain way, these things are purely conceptual constructs that are only as true as people pretend they are. Everyone could agree tomorrow that Donald Glover is the undisputed King of America and the new official US currency is old America Online trial CDs if they wanted to, and since that was the new dominant narrative it would be the reality. Everyone could also agree to create a new system which benefits all of humanity instead of a few sociopathic plutocrats. The only thing keeping money and government moving in a way that benefits our current rulers is the fact that those rulers have been successful in controlling the narrative.

They'll never get that cat back into the bag once it's out, and they know it. We the people will be able to create our own narratives and write our own rules about how things like money and government ought to operate, and there is no way that will work out to the benefit of the ruling manipulators and deceivers. So they fight with increasing aggression to lull us back to sleep, often overextending themselves and behaving in a way that gives the public a glimpse behind the mask of this entire corrupt power structure. Someday soon that mask will slip right off and come crashing to the floor. That crash will wake the baby, and that baby will not go back to sleep.

May 17

facebook logoFacebook, Public Relations Release: Announcing New Election Partnership with the Atlantic Council, Katie Harbath (Global Politics and Government Outreach Director), May 17, 2018. Facebook is investing heavily to prevent our service from being abused during elections. We’re doubling the number of people who work on safety and security and using technology like artificial intelligence to more effectively block fake accounts – the source of many bad ads and a lot of misinformation.

In addition, we’re more actively working with outside experts, governments and other companies because we know that we can’t solve these challenges on our own. For example, last month we announced an independent commission to help fund and organize research into the impact of social media on society — starting with elections.

atlantic council logoToday, we’re excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems. Experts from their Digital Forensic Research Lab will work closely with our security, policy and product teams to get Facebook real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world. This will help increase the number of “eyes and ears” we have working to spot potential abuse on our service — enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.

Facebook will also use the Atlantic Council’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions during elections and other highly sensitive moments. This will allow us to focus on a particular geographic area — monitoring for misinformation and foreign interference and also working to help educate citizens as well as civil society.

Finally, we know that tackling these problems effectively also requires the right policies and regulatory structures so that governments and companies can help prevent abuse while also ensuring people have a voice during elections. The Atlantic Council’s network of leaders is uniquely situated to help all of us think through the challenges we will face in the near and long-term.

Editor's Note: Contrary view here: CaitlinJohnstone.com, Opinion: The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Has Fallen Off, Caitlin Johnstone, May 19, 2018.

5thEstate (Indonesia), Opinion: Future Senate Leaders Must Oppose CIA Torturer's Confirmation, Andrew Kreig, May 17, 2018 (republication of column above with additional graphics, photos). Bush/Cheney torturer Gina Haspel epitomises CIA criminality, depravity. U.S. Senators face career-defining confirmation votes beginning Wednesday regarding President Trump's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Roll Call, Senate Confirms Gina Haspel to Lead CIA, Niels Lesniewski, May 17, 2018. Bipartisan vote does not follow partisan script. After a number of Democratic senators announced they would support President Donald Trump’s choice of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the agency, she was easily confirmed Thursday afternoon.

In what has become a bit of a regular routine, Senate leaders reached an agreement to expedite votes on a key national security nominee and prevent any threat of a weekend session. The floor vote tally was 54-45. Sen. Doug Jones, the new Democratic senator from heavily Republican Alabama, came down against Haspel.

Much of the focus had been on how Democrats from states won by Trump in 2016 would vote, but the vote ended up being somewhat more complicated than that. “There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy,” he said in a statement. “Some of Ms. Haspel’s past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard. We must choose leaders that consistently embody our highest ideals, rather than our darkest moments.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee, Karoun Demirjian, May 17, 2018 (print edition). The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.

The committee voted 10 to 5 in favor of her nomination. In a statement announcing the outcome, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the panel’s chairman, called Haspel “the most qualified person” President Trump could have chosen for the Cabinet post. “She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career,” he said, “and is the right person to lead the Agency into an uncertain and challenging future.”

With only three of 51 Republicans committed to voting against Haspel and six Democrats indicating that they will support her, she appears set to become the agency’s first female director. The full Senate is expected to vote on her confirmation in coming weeks.

It was Haspel’s reluctance to say that the CIA’s interrogation program was, in retrospect, morally wrong that sparked the Senate’s authorities on torture — namely Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who endured years of it as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who wrote the Senate’s definitive report on the CIA’s practices — to declare Haspel unconfirmable.

It has been almost three years since McCain led the charge in Congress to curtail the interrogation techniques, pushing legislation to make the Army Field Manuals’ code of conduct the government standard. The Senate adopted that rule change in 2015 as part of the annual defense authorization bill by a vote of 78 to 21.

Much of the concern about Haspel’s nomination has centered on campaign statements made by Trump, who expressed an eagerness to reinstate certain outlawed practices, including waterboarding.

Haspel said during her confirmation hearing that she would disobey any order from Trump to revive such techniques. But she also claimed to have a close relationship with the president, which discomfited those already uneasy about her record.

The controversial episodes in Haspel’s career include a stint overseeing a secret prison in Thailand where brutal interrogations were conducted and her role drafting a cable in 2005 that ordered the destruction of 92 videotapes depicting the interrogation of one detainee. Many also have criticized her for not declassifying more documents related to her mostly clandestine CIA career.

McCain’s warning resonated with several critics of the president, including Jeff Flake, his fellow Republican senator from Arizona, who announced Wednesday evening that he would oppose Haspel’s nomination.

But Haspel received a vital endorsement this week from Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), the Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat. He said Haspel had been “more forthcoming” in private meetings in which he gave her a second chance to say more clearly and in writing that “the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken” and that “the United States must be an example to the rest of the world.”

May 15

washington post logoWashington Post, Haspel’s CIA nomination likely secure after key Democrat announces support, Karoun Demirjian and Shane Harris​, May 15, 2018. The move by Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) came after Gina Haspel’s sent him a letter saying that the agency never should have detained terrorist suspects or employed brutal interrogation techniques against them.

Roll Call, Haspel Says, In Retrospect, Enhanced Interrogations Were Mistake, Niels Lesniewski, May 15, 2018. Latest comments come in letter to Sen. Mark Warner ahead of Intelligence Committee vote.

President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the CIA is making it even more clear that the program sanctioning harsh interrogations during the George W. Bush administration should not have taken place.

Gina Haspel (shown at left), the current acting director of the agency, expanded upon her testimony in a letter dated Monday to Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.

“Over the last 17 years, the Agency and I have learned the hard lessons since 9/11. While I won’t condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world,” Haspel wrote, according to a copy obtained by Roll Call. “With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.”

gina haspel c span screenshot

CIA Acting Director Gina Haspel shown on a screenshot from a C-SPAN video

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, If Gina Haspel Is Confirmed, Will CIA Torture Begin Anew? Jeff Schechtman, May 15, 2018. In spite of a Senate hearing in which Gina Haspel repeatedly evaded tough questions about her views on torture, it appears that she will be confirmed as the new CIA director. Enough senators were apparently mollified by her qualified assurances that there will be no more “enhanced interrogation” at the spy agency on her watch.

john kiriakouBut John Kiriakou (right), who as a CIA insider exposed the original torture program — and ironically was the only government official who went to prison over the issue — thinks that Haspel is actually a true believer in torture.

In his conversation with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, he reminds us of all the opportunities she has had to renounce torture and the torture regime she presided over. Had she done so, Haspel could have changed her legacy, as well as the legacy of those who supported her in her efforts. But time and again she chose not to.As the nomination becomes closer to a vote in the Senate, we’re going to talk about it today with my guest, John Kiriakou, who was the first member of the intelligence community to expose the CIA’s use of torture, and as a result, became one of the very few Americans ever prosecuted under the Espionage Act, for which he served 23 months in federal prison. It’s my pleasure to welcome John Kiriakou back to this program. John, thanks so much for joining us.

May 14

The Hill, Haspel confirmation vote set for Wednesday, Katie Bo Williams, May 14, 2018. The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote Wednesday on Gina Haspel's nomination to lead the CIA, a committee aide said Monday. The vote will take place in closed session prior to a scheduled classified hearing on the intelligence community's 2017 assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the U.S. election.

Haspel appears poised to pass out of committee with a favorable recommendation, teeing up a full Senate vote likely next week. Although some of the panel's Democrats have announced their opposition, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is supporting her.

mark warner shirtsleevesOne big question mark, however, remains the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), who has remained conspicuously close-lipped on his position on the controversial nominee. Warner, shown at right, is a Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

A handful of Senate Republicans have announced their opposition to Haspel — including Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and the long-absent Sen. John McCain joe donnelly(Ariz.) — but neither serves on the Intelligence panel.

Another Democrat, Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind., shown at left), announced his support for Haspel over the weekend. Both Manchin and joe manchin oDonnelly are up for reelection in 2018 and represent states won by President Trump in 2016.

Haspel, currently deputy director of the agency, has drawn fierce opposition from some Democrats related her role in the CIA's detention and interrogation program in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The program used techniques now widely considered torture. Haspel's specific role in the program remains classified. She testified in her confirmation hearing that the program would not be restarted under her leadership, but frustrated Democrats with her answer on whether she thought the program was "immoral."

“I believe that CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country given the legal tools that we were authorized to use,” Haspel said. “What I believe sitting here today is that I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to.”

The Intercept, Ahead of Vote on Gina Haspel, Senate Pulls Access to Damning Classified Memo, Ryan Grim, May 14 2018. As the Senate prepares for a Wednesday vote on whether to confirm Gina Haspel as director of the CIA, the Senate Intelligence Committee has restricted access to a classified memo that Democratic staff put together, detailing Haspel’s role in advocating for torture and later destroying related evidence.

On Monday morning, Elizabeth Falcone, a senior aide for Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top-ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, announced the decision to restrict access in an email to Democratic legislative directors. The memo had previously been available for senators and staff with security clearances to review in a Secure Compartmented Information Facility housed within Congress. Staff will no longer be able to review the document, and senators will only be able to do so upon request. It has been removed from the SCIF.

In Falcone’s email, which a Senate source shared with The Intercept, she said that the memo was “unable to be viewed.” (Over the weekend, both The Intercept and NBC News inquired about the existence of the memo, and NBC reported Monday afternoon that it had been removed from the Senate’s secure space.)

Folks – the classified Intel staff memo that has been available on haspel ?is currently not at senate security and unable to be viewed. If you have urgent need to read it, please call me or have your chief call mine. Thx.

The decision to restrict access to the memo is especially unusual given that Warner just last week criticized the CIA for an “unacceptable” lack of transparency in the run-up to Haspel’s hearing.

“Given that we are only two days from the date of your confirmation hearing on May 9, 2018, this lack of transparency for the American people about someone nominated for a cabinet-level position is unacceptable,” Warner wrote. “As the acting Director of the CIA, it is in your power to order the declassification of relevant material or to hasten the process. I urge you to take immediate action to remedy these problems.”

Warner’s move has heightened fears among Haspel opponents that Warner is preparing to vote to confirm Haspel. The classified memo was compiled by the minority staff on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Relying on classified records, it goes into detail on Haspel’s role in torture, the destruction of evidence, and her tenure more broadly, according to people briefed on its contents.

The memo draws from the results of an investigation by special prosecutor John Durham, who looked into CIA activity following 9/11 and ultimately chose not to bring charges.

People briefed on the contents of the memo say that it is not possible to read it and come away without serious doubts about whether Haspel ought to be confirmed.

Yasmine Taeb, senior policy counsel for the Center for Victims of Torture, said that it’s crucial for senators to read the classified memo before announcing their votes. “This nomination fight is not over,” she said. “There are several Republican offices that have expressed concerns over Haspel’s nomination. We hope that senators will read all the materials made available to them — not just documents provided by the CIA but also the memo prepared by the SSCI minority staff.”

Yet according to Senate sources, few senators have viewed the memo, and with the vote scheduled for Wednesday, crucial lawmakers have begun announcing their positions. Warner has yet to announce how he’ll vote, and opponents of Haspel worry the senator will side with the CIA and vote to confirm Haspel, despite a furious grassroots push.

Emily Phelps, a spokesperson for Indivisible, which has been rallying opponents to call the Capitol, said that constituents will soon be asking “whether or not their senators have reviewed all the documents that are available.”

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., have both said that they will vote to confirm Haspel, while Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have announced their opposition.

For opponents of the use of torture, there is already ample public evidence that warrants a rejection of Haspel. The same is true for advocates of the rule of law. But a majority of senators are still undecided on the Haspel nomination, which makes the classified information available to them all the more important — and all the more important that they actually read it.

May 13

washington post logojohn mccain 2009 wWashington Post, Speaking out on torture and a Trump nominee, ailing John McCain roils Washington, Mike DeBonis, May 13, 2018 (print edition). The six-term senator from Arizona (shown in a file photo) showed that despite brain cancer, he remains a potent force in national politics and a polarizing figure within the Republican Party. With his remarks made from his home in Sedona, he revived the debate over torture and its effectiveness in extracting information.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Refuses to Apologize for Aide’s McCain Joke, Peter Baker, May 13, 2018 (print edition). Friends and admirers of Senator John McCain condemned an assistant to the president who said the senator did not matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

The White House declined on Friday to renounce or apologize for an aide whose joke at a meeting that Senator John McCain was irrelevant because he would soon die went viral, outraging relatives, friends and admirers of the ailing lawmaker.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said she would not comment on a closed-door meeting where the joke was made. And she offered no words of regret over the remark or sympathy for Mr. McCain, a Republican senator and two-time presidential candidate who is battling brain cancer at his Arizona ranch.

“I’m not going to validate a leak one way or the other out of an internal staff meeting,” Ms. Sanders said. Asked why she would not simply apologize to Mr. McCain, she said, “I’m not going to get into a back and forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leaked staff meetings.”

Mr. McCain’s friends lashed out at the White House for gross insensitivity. “People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration,” former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said in a statement. “It happened yesterday.”

May 11

cnn logoCNN, Rand Paul says Haspel's lack of candor is disqualifying, Jennifer Hansler, May 11, 2018. Rand Paul is criticizing Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA, for not declassifying her role in the agency's "extreme rendition and torture-by-proxy," arguing that the lack of candor disqualified her from the role.

In an article for Politico Magazine published Friday, the Kentucky Republican (shown at left) wrote that Haspel's CIA was "rendering accused terrorists to unfathomable torture in Syria, as well as Egypt and Jordan." In his piece, Paul questions her involvement in the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer whose transfer to and torture in Syria was recounted in a 2005 New Yorker article.

"Was Haspel simply a loyal dupe, unable to protest an accused man being sent to certain barbaric torture? Or was she an eager participant in this dark chapter in our history?" Paul asks. "If she had any criticisms at the time, Haspel, who is currently the acting head of the CIA, has the power to declassify them. And yet all we've gotten are select records that don't address her participation in extraordinary rendition," the senator wrote. "Know this: That fact alone should be enough to cause the Senate to reject her nomination," he concluded.

May 10

ny times logoNew York Times, Haspel, Nominee for C.I.A., Says Era of Torture Is Over, Matthew Rosenberg and Nicholas Fandos, May 10, 2018 (print edition). Gina Haspel (shown above in a TV screenshot), the career spy who once oversaw the waterboarding of a terrorism suspect, defended the agency’s past at her confirmation hearing, but said there would be no torture in its future.

gina haspel screenshotC-SPAN (via viewer), Former CIA Analyst Gets Arrested while Protesting CIA Director's Nomination, May 10, 2018 (updated from May 9 hearing). Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern is a peace activist and heads a group of former intelligence professionals which openly criticize US military and intelligence actions since 9/11. McGovern worked for CIA from 1963-1990 and used to deliver the Presidential Daily Briefing to President Ronald Reagan. McGovern's articles often appear at Consortium News. (This clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN.)

joe lauria head bookConsortium News, Analysis: Haspel Says CIA Won’t Torture Again as Ray McGovern is Dragged Out of Hearing, Joe Lauria, May 10, 2018. Joe Lauria (shown at right) is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers.

ray mcgovern hsAfter refusing to directly answer questions about her history as an alleged torturer, Ray McGovern (shown at left) decided to ask Gina Haspel a question or two of his own and he wound up in jail for it.

Instead of facing a judge to defend herself against prosecution for violating U.S. law prohibiting torture, 33-year CIA veteran Gina Haspel on Wednesday faced the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hearing to confirm her as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Haspel does not look like someone who would be associated with torture. Instead she would not be out of place as your next door neighbor or as a kindly grade-school teacher. “I think you will find me to be a typical middle-class American,” she said in her opening statement.

cia logoEven if she did not have a direct hand in overseeing the torture, she certainly acquiesced to it. And if that were not bad enough, Haspel urged the destruction of 92 videotaped CIA “enhanced interrogations,” conducted at the prison in Thailand, eliminating evidence in a clear-cut obstruction of justice to cover-up her own possible crimes.

Because she wasn’t giving any straight answers, Ray McGovern, a CIA veteran of 27 years and frequent contributor to Consortium News, stood up in the hearing room and began asking his own questions. Capitol police were immediately ordered by the chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC, shown below at right)), to physically remove McGovern from the room.

richard burr o SmallAs he continued turning towards the committee to shout his questions, four officers hauled him [McGovern] out. They ominously accused him of resisting arrest. Once they got him into the hallway, rather than letting him go his way, four policemen wrestled him to the ground, re-injuring his dislocated right shoulder, as they attempted to cuff him.

After spending the night in jail, McGovern was to be arraigned on Thursday morning. He did not respond to a voice message left on his mobile phone.

McGovern was one of several people arrested before and during the hearing for speaking out. The spectacle of citizens of this country, and in Ray’s case a veteran CIA officer, having to resort to disrupting a travesty of a hearing to put an alleged torturer in charge of the most powerful spy agency in the world is a disturbing indicator of how far we have come.

May 9

cia logo

washington post logoWashington Post, CIA nominee says she would obey her moral compass, not Trump, if told to carry out questionable activities, Karoun Demirjian and Shane Harris​, May 9, 2018. CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel pledged during her Senate confirmation hearing that she wouldn't restart a controversial CIA interrogation program if approved to lead the agency. She resisted efforts by senators to get her to say whether she believed it was morally wrong to use techniques such as waterboarding on terrorist suspects.

Roll Call, McCain: Senate Should Reject Gina Haspel Over Torture Involvement, Niels Lesniewski, May 9, 2018. Arizona Republican made a statement following Wednesday’s hearing.

john mccain 2009 wSenate Armed Services Chairman John McCain wants the Senate to reject the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. The Arizona Republican (shown at right) who has been home in Arizona battling brain cancer and related ailments, said in a statement he was not satisfied by Haspel’s responses regarding her involvement in the agency “enhanced interrogation” effort during the George W. Bush administration.

“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying,” McCain said in a statement. “I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”

The statement came hours after Haspel testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in both open and closed settings.

McCain, who faced torture during his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said the current acting director who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to run the agency did not sufficiently confront “the mistakes the country made in torturing detainees held in U.S. custody” after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty,” McCain said. “But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.”

Roll Call, Manchin's Backing Likely Ends Haspel Suspense, Niels Lesniewski, May 9, 2018. But there may still be ads encouraging other 2018 Democrats to get behind the CIA nominee. Gina Haspel Performs Well but Raises More Questions During Hearing If Not Gina Haspel, Then Who? White House: No August Recess Until Appropriations, Nominations Done.

joe manchin oSen. Joe Manchin III on Wednesday probably ended any suspense about whether Gina Haspel would win confirmation to be the next CIA director. The West Virginia Democrat (shown at right) formally announced his support for Haspel’s confirmation before all of his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee finished the classified part of Wednesday’s hearing with the nominee.

“I have found Gina Haspel to be a person of great character. Over her 33 year career as a CIA operations officer, she has worked in some of the most dangerous corners of our world and I have the utmost respect for the sacrifices she has made for our country. She has earned the trust of her colleagues in the intelligence community and her intellect, steady temperament, vast knowledge of threats we face, and dedication to our country are undeniable,” Manchin said in a statement. “These attributes make her supremely qualified to serve as our next CIA Director.”

Manchin’s rationale for backing Haspel alludes to the widespread support she has enjoyed from intelligence community leaders, including those with jon tester owhom she worked during the presidency of Barack Obama, like former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Many of the other Senate Democrats who, like Manchin, face hotly contested races in 2018, have not yet weighed in on the Haspel nomination.

But Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester (shown at left) has already signaled his opposition. Tester has found himself targeted by President Donald Trump over his role in releasing allegations against Ronny Jackson, the now-former nominee to be secretary of Veterans Affairs. “I’m not a huge fan of waterboarding,” Tester said Tuesday in stating his opposition to Haspel, according to a CNN report.

 May 8

washington post logoWashington Post, Undercover to under scrutiny: Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, to face Senate grilling, Shane Harris, May 8, 2018 (print edition). The longtime covert officer is one of only a few career intelligence officers to be tapped for director, and the first woman. She also has the most secretive résumé, with much of her career classified, but interviews with 15 current and former intelligence officials paint a portrait of her cloak-and-dagger life.

ny times logocia logoNew York Times, 9/11 Planner Asks to Tell Senators About C.I.A. Nominee, Charlie Savage, May 8, 2018. President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the C.I.A. has revived debate over the agency’s interrogation program and her involvement. It isn’t known whether Ms. Haspel was involved in torturing Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who asked a military judge for permission to share information.

May 3

JFKcountercoup, Opinion: The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some Positive Attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act, Bill Kelly, May 3, 2018. The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some positive attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act.

It is very disturbing that the JFK Act — the law of the land is not being enforced today, a fact that should make it relevant to everyone.

earl warrenWhen Warren Commission chairman Earl Warren (shown at left) was asked if the secret records on the assassination would be released to the public he replied, "Yes, but not in your lifetime."

And now it may not be in ours, as a lot of people, many of whom are not alive today, worked very hard to get the JFK Act passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President George Herbert Walker Bush on October 26, 1992.

The law prescribed that all of the government records on the assassination of President Kennedy be released in full to the public by October 26, 2017, twenty-five years to the day Bush signed it into law. When he signed it however, Bush added a rider to the law that provided the President — and only the President, with the authority to continue withholding certain records beyond the October 26, 2017 date on the grounds of national security, where their release would harm American interests.

There are also a number of assassination records that fall into specific categories that are exempt from the JFK Act provisions — over 500 records are being withheld in full under sections 10 and 11, special "deeds of gift" and grand jury records, as well as IRS tax records.

nara logoThe "deeds of gift" records are those that have been donated to the National Archives and stored in the JFK collection but are restricted by the donor, and these records include William Manchester's notes and papers he used to write his book The Death of the President, and individual oral history recordings and transcripts such as Jackie Kennedy's memories and beliefs, that are restricted by the Kennedy family.

The IRS laws take precedence over the JFK Act, so individual tax records are totally exempt, though Marina Oswald reportedly agreed to allow her family's tax records be released, and the very first document I read from among those recently released in the October 2018 batch is a good example.

In reading the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) report on an interview with former Louisiana State policeman Francis Fruge, a single social security number was redacted, and one that is not important. The rest of the document is extremely significant however, as it confirms most of the facts concerning Rose Cheramie, the women whose story is told in the opening scenes of Oliver Stone's film JFK.

rose cheramieFound unconscious on the side of the road outside the Silver Slipper saloon in rural Louisiana, Cheramie (shown at left) told officer Fruge, who drove her to the hospital, that she was with two Cubans on their way to Dallas to kill Kennedy and do a drug deal when she was thrown out of the car.

After JFK was killed a few days later, Fruge re-interviewed her, got the details of the drug deal, all of which he confirmed, and showed her mug shots of some Cubans and she picked out Sergio Aracha Smith, a New Orleans Cuban who came into play in the Garrison investigation.

rose cherami michael marcadesThe owner of the Silver Slipper saloon, a roadhouse bar, also confirmed that Sergio Aracha Smith was a customer who was in the night Cheramie was there. Cheramie was later found dead, on the side of the road, run over by a car, another suspicious death. (Her only son, Dr. Michael Marcados, co-authored in 2016 a well-reviewed ebook biography "Rose Cherami: Gathering Fallen Petals").

While I had seen a redacted version of the same HSCA report, this one was only missing the social security number.

And as I perused other documents in this 2018 batch — what the Archives calls "The Final Release," though more are expected by October 2021, I found that every document I reviewed was significant, and I will be going over them in detail in a later report.

May 2

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Did Trump and the CIA Strike a Deal on the JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), May 2, 2018. Did President Trump grant the CIA an additional 3 1/2 years of secrecy on its JFK assassination-related records because he truly believed that “national security” was at stake? Or did Trump grant the CIA’s request for continued secrecy as part of a negotiated bargain that Trump reached with the CIA?

Consider the following tweets that Trump sent out the week before October 26, 2017, when the 25-year deadline set by the JFK Records Act was set to expire:

October 21: “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”

October 25: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!

cia logoNotice something important here: Trump makes no mention of any request by the CIA for continued secrecy. How likely is it that the CIA had not made such a request prior to that week? Not likely at all. It is inconceivable that the CIA would wait until October 26, rush into Trump’s office and declare, “Mr. President, we totally forgot about the deadline set 25 years ago and we need an additional time to review the records.” (As an interesting aside, notice that neither Trump, the CIA, nor the National Archives has disclosed to the public any written request by the CIA or any other federal agency for continued secrecy of the JFK assassination-related records.)

There is another possible explanation for what was going on during the week of October 26. As I pointed out my October 27, 2017, article “The JFK Cover-Up Continues,” the possibility exists that Trump was negotiating with the CIA and taking the matter to the brink with his two tweets — that is, that Trump knew that continued secrecy was critically important to the CIA but that he wanted something in return. You know, The Art of the Deal.

If that is what was happening, then Trump was likely communicating to the CIA with his tweets, “Give me what I want or I release the records.” That would mean that at the last minute the CIA caved and gave Trump what he wanted, which would explain why Trump suddenly changed his mind on October 26 and granted another six months of secrecy, contrary to what his two tweets indicated he would do immediately prior to that October 26 deadline.

What was something that would have been important to Trump that the CIA could have given him? As I indicated in my October 27 article, what would have been important to Trump would have been an exoneration in the Russia investigation, at the very least with respect to Congress and maybe, hopefully, even with respect to the investigation being conducted by the special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. As part of the deal, Trump would have demanded that the CIA exercise its considerable power and influence to bring one and hopefully both investigations to a satisfactory conclusion.

Why only six months of secrecy back in October? Because as I indicated in my October 27 article, Trump would have wanted a guarantee that the CIA would live up to its end of the bargain. If the CIA didn’t deliver at its end, Trump could still order a release of the records in April. If the CIA delivered, Trump could grant its request for additional secrecy when the April deadline came.

On April 26, the day that the six-month extension expired, Trump granted the CIA another 2 1/2 years of secrecy. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but one day later, April 27, the House Intelligence Committee released its final report exonerating Trump in its investigation into the Russia brouhaha.

McClatchy DC, Former Miami Herald editor's ties to CIA confirmed, but still unclear, in latest JFK docs, Kevin G. Hall, May 2, 2018. The roughly 5 million documents that make up the (mostly) released JFK assassination files revealed many secrets. But some of the material tantalizes without providing full answers.

don bohningThat includes documents mentioning legendary Miami Herald reporter and editor Don Bohning, a longtime Latin America expert whose colorful career was punctuated by coups, expulsions and a close relationship with CIA sources. How close? That's the vexing question.

One declassified document shows the CIA had granted Provisional Security Approval to Bohning on Aug. 21, 1967, and Covert Security Approval on Nov. 14 of the same year. Dated June 14, 1968, the document says Bohning had the agency approvals so he could be used “as a confidential informant with natural access to information about news companies and personalities.”

It’s unclear, however, whether that reflected a deep relationship, or whether Bohning even knew about it. Bohning's widow, Geraldine, declined to comment. The document also said Bohning was given the cryptonym AMCARBON-3, and elsewhere noted that Bohning “was not to be used operationally nor given clandestine training or assignments.” The AM was code for Cuba and CARBON appears to be a designation for journalists.

Another JFK assassination document, dating to June 1964, also revealed that the person who went by the cryptonym AMCARBON-1 was Bohning’s colleague at the Herald, Alvin Burt. The documents, declassified further over the past year to reveal more detail, show Burt actively passing information to the CIA about exile-group infiltration plans in Cuba.

None of this would have come to light but for New Orleans District Attorney James Garrison, who in 1966 began investigating alleged links to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Garrison’s probe ended with the 1969 arrest and trial of local businessman Clay Shaw, who was quickly acquitted by a jury.

May 1

jfk american university

President Kennedy delivers an iconic speech in June 1963 at American University calling for world peace.

Some scholars say the courageous speech during allen dulles HRthe Cold War -- combined with Kennedy's actions antagonizing CIA, Pentagon, fanatic anti-communist empire-builders, segregationist, Cuban exile, Mafia and wealthy Texas oil forces -- helped set in motion his death later in the year. Among other actions, JFK's fury at the CIA's manipulations during the Bay of Pigs invasion led him to oust the top three CIA executives. One of them, CIA Director Allen Dulles (right), an operative for decades on behalf of some of America's leading dynasties, would help guide six other Warren Commission officials supervising the Commission staff writing the official report in 1964 about JFK's death.

Beginning in the 1970s, professor, poet and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott popularized the term "Deep State" in his books to describe the secretive relationship between America's oligarchs and key unelected officials such as Dulles, as evident in scholarly research about the Kennedy assassination.

Justice Integrity Project, Trump suppresses JFK murder records; Violates pledge; Bows to CIA, Deep State, Andrew Kreig, May 1, 2018. On April 26 this spring, the last day of the historic deadline for JFK assassination records release, President Trump ordered suppression until 2021 of some 520 remaining classified records regarding the 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas.

In violating his earlier pledge to release all records, Trump released at least parts of some 19,000 other records but cited only vague “national security” concerns for the redactions and outright document suppressions despite a congressionally passed legal requirement in the 1992 “JFK Act” that he and his administration provide a specific reason to suppress each withheld record.

The White House press announcement confused the issues further by redacting many of the 19,000 documents that were released by the National Archives and Records Administation (NARA) in the latest batch last week. The records are available online, a good thing. But NARA failed to organize them in a way readily accessible to reporters and other researchers — or to provide such other key details as whether documents had been previously released in significant part.

Trump used a similar stall tactic last fall in postponing the final release of documents, which were all supposed to be released by last Oct. 26, according to the so-called JFK Act unanimously passed by Congress in 1992 to quell public fervor from Oliver Stone's powerful film JFK.