“Scandalous” News from the CIA

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Rarely discussed nowadays is the fact that America’s political leadership–under the direction of president Obama–decided to, in effect, let bygones be bygones and not pursue investigations into allegations of Bush-era torture. (Eric Holder’s Justice Department is investigating some of the most egregious cases, but those seem to be acts of alleged criminal brutality that even John Yoo might not defend.) A reminder comes in the form of this bracing news from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — A former CIA officer accused of revving an electric drill near the head of an imprisoned terror suspect has returned to U.S. intelligence as a contractor, training CIA operatives after leaving the agency, The Associated Press has learned.

The CIA officer wielded the bitless drill and an unloaded handgun – unauthorized interrogation techniques – to menace suspected USS Cole bombing plotter Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri inside a secret CIA prison in Poland in late 2002 and early 2003, according to several former intelligence officials and a review by the CIA’s inspector general.

The ACLU calls the news “scandalous.” A federal prosecutor is looking into the case, so the government hasn’t entirely turned a blind eye to the episode. But it will be interesting to see whether and how CIA chief Leon Panetta responds to the disclosure.