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The Faces of Torturers: Cofer Black and Jose Rodriguez

As analysis of the CIA OIG report continues, one section stands out to me. Spanning pages 104 and 105 as they are numbered in the image and pages 112 and 113 as numbered in the pdf file, we have this:

CTC torture responsibility

Let’s dissect the sterile language a bit. The decision to "apply EIT’s", that is, the decision to torture, was in many cases based on "analytical assessments that were unsupported by credible intelligence". The assessments of the interrogators were ignored, in favor of CTC "presumptions of what the individual might or should know".

Think about that. Interrogators at the site were overruled, based on "presumptions" about what should be known, not what the interrogators could evaluate based on their first-hand experience. Note that throughout the OIG report, the torture program often is referred to as "the CTC program". So, the CIA Counterterrorism Center was responsible for both the design and the execution of the torture program.

Two CTC directors span the time period of the worst torture. Initially, Cofer Black was in charge of CTC. Black moved to the Department of State in 2002 (but is now at Xe) and was succeeded by Jose Rodriguez. The transition from Black to Rodriguez was noted by James Risen on May 23, 2002. Black’s posting at the Departement of State was as the top counterterrorism position, and since the CTC overlaps with the Department of State, as indicated in Risen’s report, it is likely he continued to have input into the torture decisions. Rodriguez retired in 2007, but is facing possible charges as one of the chief suspects in the destruction of videotapes of torture sessions. Here are the faces of torture:

Cofer BlackJose Rodriguez

What do these two men see when they look into a mirror? They decided, based on their own "presumptions", to torture people for what they "should" know. Is it any wonder that Rodriguez destroyed the evidence of these evil acts? Did the tapes have evidence of Rodriguez and Black ordering interrogators to torture prisoners when the interrogators said there was nothing further to be learned?

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Jim White

Jim White

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