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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

DoJ documents raise questions about war crimes notifications to Congress

A reckless leader. A reckless nation. ACLU released information suggesting DoJ was in disagreement with DoD personnel over prisoner interrogation in Guantanamo. Yet, DoJ failed to demonstrate that they made their concerns known to the DoJ IG or the Congressional Committees.

Compounding DoJ’s version of events are 2002 Senate Staff reports indicating that things were doing well. If DoJ FBI agents’ e-mails are to be believed, then the Senate staff was deceived by not only DoD but also by the FBI.

Compounding the problem is the US Prosecutor’s responsibility to investigate war crimes. It remains to be understood what mechanisms broke down in the IG-Congressional reporting process. Further, DoJ lead investigators were also assigned to the Navy.


DoJ has asserted that their agents were doing the right thing. Protesting loudly in e-mails. Speaking out against the DoD practices.

Yet, the point of the ACLU fact finding was not limited to what happened before and during the interrogations. Rather, the broader question is whether DoJ complied with their statutory reporting requirements to Congress.

FBI agent statements to Guantanamo prisoners

Let’s take DoJ’s point, for the sake of argument, that they were battling with DoD. If this is true, then it remains to be understood why those DoJ-FBI agents who were supposedly at odds with DoD, would represent themselves to prisoners as being with DoD.

Indeed, if DoJ’s current argument is to be believed [that there were active discussions between DoJ and Dod], then it remains to be understood why an agency so sure that they were correct, when then associate themselves with the ones they were trying to distance themselves.

Failure to timely report issues and war crimes information to Congressional oversight

DoJ further gets into trouble when we consider the reporting requirements to Congress. If DoJ truly was at odds with DoD, then DoJ has to explain why, despite this supposed disagreement, there were no reports to the Congressional committees.

Under the war crimes statutes and also intelligence oversight responsibilities to the intelligence community, which DoJ is a part in the post 9-11 world, FBI would have had the obligation under statute to provide the oversight committees with data, issues through management, the IG, and the prosecutors.

This reporting requirement doesn’t simply fall on the agency. Rather, it is a mandatory requirement on the Inspector Generals Office.

What does this have to do with the ACLU files? There’s one tiny problem in all the facts. DoJ issued a report in November, 2002 when a Senator’s staff member from New Hampshire was planning to visit. The report had a very specific format.

In fact, the format is unique to DoD’s Navy Inspector General Office. It remains to be understood why the FBI, which they want us to believe is at odds with DoD, would then use the same report format as the Navy IG.

In turn, once the link between Navy IG and DoJ-FBI is established, the communication-problem-that-DoJ-says-exists now mushrooms into a larger issue.

Given that DoJ-FBI was using DoD templates in their report, but today they say they were at loggerheads, it remains to be understood why DoJ-FBI didn’t work with their own DoJ Inspector General.

  • Why were the issues that were not resolvable reported to their agency inspector general;

  • Where are these reports;

  • Were these mandatory reporting requirements complied with?

  • Did DoJ timely provide the required information on substantive issues to DoJ management and the congressional Committees?

  • If DoJ wants us to believe they were doing the right thing, why hide and pretend they were from DoD?

  • If DoJ wants the world to believe that DoD has had the problem [not DoJ], why would DoJ associate themselves with the very agency [they told Guantanamo prisoners] was committing the abuses?

  • Why should we believe DoJ when they said they had discussions over disagreement with the DoD, but did not make the same reports to their own DoJ management that might do something to back up the FBI agents in DoJ?

  • If it was so obvious that DoJ disagreed with DoD and it is in DoJ’s interests to show they were on the right side of the law, why was DoJ so glacial in responding to requests for information that should put DoJ in a favorable light?

  • Why didn’t DoD-DoJ report information about concerns over treatment of prisoners as a reportable issue to the House and Senate Committees as required under statute?

  • If the reports were made, which staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee received these reports; how were they documented in the Congressional Correspondence log?

    Compare the 2005 e-mails to the 2002 November Reports Ref

    It seems strange that DoJ-FBI personnel would use a DoD Inspector General template from the Navy Inspector General, yet there was no discussion [apparently] between FBI agents and the DOJ-IG, which would then prompt a second reporting requirement to the intelligence committees in Congress.

    Pattern of information exchange does not suggest disagreement, but collusion

    Further, DoJ’s case is also undermined by looking at the November 2002 releases. The release establishes that the Department of Justice and Inspector General were not in violent opposition, but were actively trading information back and forth so closely, that they were using each other’s templates.

    Failure to demonstrate concern translated to proper reporting to agency IG or Congress

    DoJ and DoD are indistinguishable. Yet, it remains to be understood why, if there was violent opposition between DoD and DoJ, that the same conversations that must have taken place between DoJ and DoD Navy IG [to generate the Navy IG template report within DoJ] would not trigger a report to DoJ IG, or the Congressional Committees.

    Either way, the ACLU disclosure should send a clear signal. DoD and DoJ now know the real issue is one of war crimes, active involvement, management knowledge, and a failure to timely report information.

    That in itself is the larger issue: Who knew, but failed to report as required under statute? It appears DoJ plans to point the finger at DoD; while DoD plants to point the finger at DoJ. That’s Washington-speak for no accountability.

    Meanwhile, despite the Taguba report and Congressional hearings, the US Army sent in retired Generals who certified things were taken care of. Now, we find out that things were not.

    It remains to be seen whether they agree to put down their swords and find a convenient scapegoat within the American public.


    DoJ has no credibility in suggesting today in 2005 that they were in disagreement with DoD. They may have been.

    However, the issue is not whether they say they were in disagreement, but what evidence DoJ can provide that supports their assertion that they documented that agreement, reported it appropriately within channels, and made timely notifications to the DoJ IG and Congressional Committees.

    DoJ hasn’t provided any evidence to suggest that they acted on their concerns and made timely notifications to Congress and the IG on these important issues.

    If DoJ is saying this is all they have, then they have a problem. Because one cannot simply assert in e-mails that they disagree with a policy, all the while their conduct and actions are inconsistent with those convenient e-mails.

    DoJ knows all to well that information can be doctored and fabricated. DoJ needs to explain why Congress doesn’t have copies of the e-mail as the problem came to management attention within both DoJ senior management and the DoJ IG.

    DoJ may be attempting to engage in damage control. But DoJ’s larger problem is that in 2005 they may suggest they disagreed with DoD, but took little action in 2002 to distance themselves, positively report the information to the IG and Attorney General, and make timely notifications to Congress.

    If DoJ is to be believed, then they have more explaining to do:

  • Why was there no report to Congress?

  • What evidence do they have that they reported their disagreement over the torture methods to the Inspector General and the Congressional Committees?

  • Why is DoJ asserting it disagreed with DoD, while the Navy IG template was used in their report?

  • Why should we believe that DoJ and DoD are truly fighting, given the lead DoJ prosecutor and investigator into this situation is a former NSA-Navy man?

    Here’s a hint. His nickname begins with the letter S.

    Marion E. "Spike" Bowman, a former DoJ General Counsel also worked for NSA. Reportedly, he was intimately involved in the Guantanamo investigation in DoJ. Ref
    Judiciary Committee Problems

    Compounding the problem is DoJ’s cursory oversight was at the hands of Mr. Poodle Boy Hatch, who did a nice job of doing nothing about the DoJ abuses-attempts-to-silence both Mr Convertino and Sibel Edmonds.

    Indeed, DoJ and FBI had no credibility that an outside reviewer had to be brought into to review the Senate Judiciary Staffer misconduct. It was investigators from the Treasury Department called into make up, I mean find facts in the Republican Committee’s access to Democratic Committee Records in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Sounds like another adult is needed in this case. It’s called a special counsel. This is merely the first step in impeaching the President for war crimes. And the very reason that DoJ is taking action to show it was doing the right thing in 2002—Gonzalez has been sent into make another smokescreen.

    This is the same President who would ask the nation to believe him. Yet, he’s already been captured on tape admitting he used drugs.

    One tiny problem. Although beyond the statute of limitations, Bush’s recorded admission is at odds with the mandatory drug certification he signed.

    It remains to be seen whether DoJ IG can find this signed document in the now-President’s file. It may be past the statute of limitations in re drug use, but it would show a pattern of misrepresentations.

    It remains to be understood whether the document exists; was it signed; and whether this would form the basis to investigate further.

    Let’s hope the bloggers put as much pressure on DoD to find the drug certification document that they put to get the pay records released.

    At the same time Congress needs to answer whether they were provided the notifications in 2002 when DoJ says they were concerned. When the reports are issued, do a close scrub on whether the format of the documents is correct.

    If Congress knew about the abuses in 2002, but did nothing, then the problem isn’t isolated to the President, DoD or DoJ. The problem is much broader.

    This is how the Nazis took control in the 1930s. They convinced others that if they spoke out they would have a problem. When everyone had stink on their hands, there was no stopping them.

    Senator Kennedy may be the one last members of the Senate that can actually do something. He has the power of the filibuster. He knows there is a torture problem. It remains to be understood who in the Senate and House knew about the torture problem in November 2002, but did nothing.

    If Congress doesn’t know, then the FBI has a problem and no credibility when saying they disagreed with DoD. They may have disagreed in spirit, but it’s quite a different matter to stand up for the rule of law when it is far easier to go along, and backdate the documents.

    Check the veracity of those DoJ e-mails closely. They may be true. But if they’re true and admissible, then DoJ has a big problem on their hands.

    Gonzalez needs to recuse himself. If he doesn’t, it’s time Leahy haul him before the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide some answers.

    If Gonzalez lies, commits perjury, or feigns stupidity about matters he should be aware, then we need to ask why someone who is apparently so ignorant of important issues should be running the worlds largest Gestapo.

    Time to bring in Interpol.

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