Former Senior Intelligence Officer Dismantles Arguments for Covering Up CIA Torture

Melvin Goodman is a former high-level intelligence officer. He was the Division Chief of the CIA’s Office of Soviet Affairs, who served as Senior Analyst from 1966 – 1990. He also served as Professor of International Security at the National War College from 1986 – 2004.

Goodman says that the arguments for covering up the extent of torture by the CIA are all bogus:

[Advocates for keeping the information classified] argue that foreign intelligence services will not share sensitive intelligence with the United States and the CIA because of the declassification and release of the torture memoranda. That is nonsense!

European liaison services as well as other intelligence services have tempered their cooperation with the CIA because of the use of torture and abuse as well as the extraordinary rendition of innocent individuals from their countries to intelligence services in the Middle East. The CIA’s extra-legal activities have complicated and undermined the task of maintaining credible relations with our allies in the battle against terrorism…

[The torture apologists also] argue that, because of the release of the memos, CIA clandestine operatives will keep their heads down and avoid assignments that carry political risk, and that the decline in CIA “morale and effectiveness” will harm American national security. More nonsense! CIA operatives and analysts are professionals who pride themselves on service to the country and their oath to the Constitution.

Very few of them took part in the corruption of intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and very few participated in the policies of torture and abuse. They know that the law should not be broken and they want to get these issues behind them so that they can continue to serve the national interests of the United States. They know that painful truths must be acknowledged and that some price must be paid by all for the chicanery of a few.

If Agency personnel were permitted to share their opinions about torture and abuse with the press, a large majority would oppose the practices. Unfortunately, only those officers seeking to cover-up their own activities have the temerity to talk to reporters. The notion that the declassification of these memoranda have given the “enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate” is particularly ludicrous.

The enemy has had this information for more than five years, ever since every major newspaper in the world published the unconscionable images from Abu Ghraib. General officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have testified that these images are the most important recruitment tool in the hands of terrorists and fundamentalists and have contributed to the deaths of many American men and women.

Goodman’s article is worth reading in full.

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