Torture became our policy. It was authorized from the highest levels of our Government. Members of our legal establishment justified it. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had no problem with it. A DOJ member John Durham would investigate the torture done by the CIA and others. He would find nothing that was done wrong to justify bringing criminal charges even though his investigation did not include interviewing any of the people who were tortured.
Wait a minute, John Durham, isn’t he the one who prosecuted John Connolly. Yes, it is the same man. So what’s going on you might ask?
The reason why you would ask that is obvious if you have been following my writings on the Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program set up by the FBI. John Connolly was prosecuted and demonized for things he did pursuant to the mandates of that program; the CIA agents who did much worse things were let go scot-free because they were acting pursuant to the mandates of their torture program. How can it be that the DOJ went after Connolly, the only agent ever prosecuted and convicted for having worked with TEI under that program, and let the CIA agents walk. You can’t say that one part of the DOJ didn’t know what the other part was doing for the same man was involved in both instances.
The Senate Report on the torture program has just come out but from the headlines it appears that our CIA were nothing more than a group of agents gone wild. It is clear many crimes were committed over many years which were sanctioned by the highest levels of our government. Yet nothing will be done about it.
I analogize Connolly’s actions to those of a Marine sniper and I recognize the analogy is strained; however, it does work out fine when doing it to the CIA agents who are civilian employees and who were not in combat situations. Some may suggest the war on Terror was different from the war against the Mafia. We think that now but back at the time the FBI instituted the TEI program the Mafia was perceived as a major threat to our country.
What then is crucial difference between Connolly and the CIA agent who operated pursuant to programs instituted and approved at the highest levels of government? It seems to be that those who put the CIA agents out to do the dirty work had their backs while the FBI ran and hid. One report noted: “The CIA immediately hit back at the report, saying in a statement that the program was “effective” and substantially helped its understanding of al Qaeda’s tactical operations . . . .“ What did the FBI do to support Connolly’s operating in its program. It walked away from him and assisted in his prosecution. It did not want to be embarrassed.
President George W. Bush came out yesterday and said: “We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the C.I.A. serving on our behalf. These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.” He went on to say that they are “really good people and we’re lucky as a nation to have them.”
The FBI came out with statements like that of the Special Agent in Charge of the Boston FBI office that the Bulger case is “very, very unusual. I don’t think we’ve ever had anything like this before, and we would be irresponsible if we didn’t take a closer look at what we’re doing.” It wasn’t unusual. It was being done in every office in the country. Rather than justifying its action, the FBI went into pretend mode to cover up its evil TEI program rather than giving credit to all the special agents who it put in harm’s way.
Like the CIA the FBI created a program of questionable legality; unlike the CIA when the first repercussions of having done that were felt it ran rather than defending its men. It is still running. Agent Connolly is still in prison for having operated in the program the FBI created. Agent Connolly has been in prison longer than many who have been sent to Guantanamo prison because the FBI didn’t have his back. If the DOJ and FBI have their way he will die there.