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Court rules CIA is above the law

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palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
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So you support that the CIA can do what it wants and not be held accountable? They knowingly ignored a US Federal court order.
In this case, the prosecutors were not able to provide sufficient proof that anyone "knowingly ignored a US Federal court order." Your belief that it happened is nothing more than a guess.

That said, I personally believe that the vast majority of our CIA's activities are done within the law. In those very rare cases where "international laws," or our own, are bent or broken, I also believe that the reasons for doing so are genuinely in everyone's best interests.

I, for one, am very grateful that we have men and women at the CIA who are willing to consistently put their own lives and personal freedom on the line to protect ours.

One fact that has remained true throughout the ages is that sheep need sheep-dogs. The purpose of the dogs is not to control the sheep -- that's the job of the shepherd. The dogs are there to fend off the wolves, nothing more. The longer the leash, the safer the sheep...
 
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Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
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Within context given, I agree. However, a "healthy" fascist sate, or say, a "healthy" theocracy are alternatives that we, as a Democracy, would not even consider an acceptable form of government given the rights and freedoms we now enjoy.

As it stands, if things keep headed in the direction the Repubs are pushing the nation toward, where those with the most money dictate how our government is run, then a transformation into an oligarchy or plutocracy is the inevitable result.

So permit me to rephrase a part of your commentary and say that "the needs of the majority must outweigh the needs of the few, for in our system of gov't, the few will always be the rich whose true nature must be kept in check".
That's the problem: We've grown to value "rights" and "liberty" more than the common sense that will allow us to survive. Fortunately I believe over the past 30 years, people have become less and less aware of their "rights" and far less likely to fight about it when they're taken away, particularly when the alternative is an airplane flying into their workplace.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
16,240
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Every covert action, without exception, is required to have a signed presidential order on file.

While sanctioned actions by the CIA have signed orders and paperwork. I know for a fact from personal experience that there are things that take place which have and never will have any paper trail attached. Things that happen between a small circle of people that never will be reported . When you ask questions like 'does anyone know about this ?' and the replies you get are people turning their heads away and looking at the floor , or getting up and leaving without a response, or the room going silent or when you really press for an answer you get a reply like ' some things just need to get done and those that would need to approve of it would prefer you didn't ask for that approval.'

wow, my hand actually started shaking thinking about the past. I didn't realize it still had that much of a lasting effect. All I am saying is that stuff goes on that nobody will ever know and if you think everything is made public you are in fantasy land. It would be nice if everyone was accountable for their actions but that isn't reality.
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
In this case, the prosecutors were not able to provide sufficient proof that anyone "knowingly ignored a US Federal court order." Your belief that it happened is nothing more than a guess.

That said, I personally believe that the vast majority of our CIA's activities are done within the law. In those very rare cases where "international laws," or our own, are bent or broken, I also believe that the reasons for doing so are genuinely in everyone's best interests.

I, for one, am very grateful that we have men and women at the CIA who are willing to consistently put their own lives and personal freedom on the line to protect ours.

One fact that has remained true throughout the ages is that sheep need sheep-dogs. The purpose of the dogs is not to control the sheep -- that's the job of the shepherd. The dogs are there to fend off the wolves, nothing more. The longer the leash, the safer the sheep...
Gee, nice handwaving and appeal to emotion instead of answering the facts. The facts are there was a clear court order to NOT destroy the tapes, and the tapes were destroyed. Period.

To paraphrase the government when we complained about wiretapping, "if you have nothing to hide, why worry"? So why did the CIA worry and destroy the tapes if everything was legal? Whoops!


Since both you and Nebor claim to be in the military, here is a simple yes/no question:

You get a Federal Court order to not destroy documents in your care (maybe videos, paperwork showing billing, whatever). Do you destroy them anyway?

If your CO tells you to destroy them, do you?

If you answer no, you are in direct opposition to what the CIA did, and are a hypocrite.

If you answer yes, you just committed a federal crime, and are unfit to be in the military.

What is your answer?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,628
23,733
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While sanctioned actions by the CIA have signed orders and paperwork. I know for a fact from personal experience that there are things that take place which have and never will have any paper trail attached. Things that happen between a small circle of people that never will be reported . When you ask questions like 'does anyone know about this ?' and the replies you get are people turning their heads away and looking at the floor , or getting up and leaving without a response, or the room going silent or when you really press for an answer you get a reply like ' some things just need to get done and those that would need to approve of it would prefer you didn't ask for that approval.'

wow, my hand actually started shaking thinking about the past. I didn't realize it still had that much of a lasting effect. All I am saying is that stuff goes on that nobody will ever know and if you think everything is made public you are in fantasy land. It would be nice if everyone was accountable for their actions but that isn't reality.
There may be certain parts of operations that underlings don't disclose to their higher ups, but the operations as a whole are always authorized. My point is that when the CIA behaves badly you should blame the president most of the time, not the CIA. If you are aware of operations that the CIA is undertaking without presidential approval, you should immediately report this egregious violation of federal law. Those responsible will be harshly punished.

Can you give any post Iran-Contra examples (and honestly post Church Committee because we all know that Reagan was involved in Iran-Contra) where the CIA has undertaken these operations without executive approval?
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
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You get a Federal Court order to not destroy documents in your care (maybe videos, paperwork showing billing, whatever). Do you destroy them anyway?

If your CO tells you to destroy them, do you?

If you answer no, you are in direct opposition to what the CIA did, and are a hypocrite.

If you answer yes, you just committed a federal crime, and are unfit to be in the military.

What is your answer?
Court orders don't make it very far down the chain of command. Someone at the top gets a court order and issues a military order as a result.

But yeah, if my CO told me to shred papers, destroy videos, delete files I'd do it regardless of what some court said. I guess afterwards General Garfieldthecat would convene my (and my superiors') court martial. I won't hold my breath. :rolleyes:
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,628
23,733
136
Court orders don't make it very far down the chain of command. Someone at the top gets a court order and issues a military order as a result.

But yeah, if my CO told me to shred papers, destroy videos, delete files I'd do it regardless of what some court said. I guess afterwards General Garfieldthecat would convene my (and my superiors') court martial. I won't hold my breath. :rolleyes:
If you had in hand a federal court order to preserve something and your CO told you to destroy it anyway you would be obeying an order you knew to be unlawful. Not just from a civilian perspective, but in standing orders from higher authority than your CO.

There's a reason why civilians control the military in our country (and all other well functioning ones), and that's because the military has shown time and again that it cannot be trusted to run itself. Defying court orders to follow the unlawful orders of your CO undermines that, and it's a terrible idea. You know as well as I do how unfit the military is to govern itself.
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
76
Can you give any post Iran-Contra examples (and honestly post Church Committee because we all know that Reagan was involved in Iran-Contra) where the CIA has undertaken these operations without executive approval?
Usually hard to give examples since most of the CIAs operations are in Afghanistan and Iraq these days. Most of the time things go ok, and when they don't, everyone just walks off whistling with their hands in their pockets and very few questions are asked.

I saw 5 guys jumping in a Land Cruiser one night at a little COP about 30 minutes away from FOB Salerno. They were white guys, carrying AKs and M4s. I asked my host why they were carrying two rifles each, and he replied, "Sometimes it's best for them to just use AKs." My imagination ran wild with the implications. :p
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,628
23,733
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Usually hard to give examples since most of the CIAs operations are in Afghanistan and Iraq these days. Most of the time things go ok, and when they don't, everyone just walks off whistling with their hands in their pockets and very few questions are asked.

I saw 5 guys jumping in a Land Cruiser one night at a little COP about 30 minutes away from FOB Salerno. They were white guys, carrying AKs and M4s. I asked my host why they were carrying two rifles each, and he replied, "Sometimes it's best for them to just use AKs." My imagination ran wild with the implications. :p
But what makes you think that CIA activities in Afghanistan are part of an unauthorized operation? It's not that the CIA doesn't perform covert actions (even if it is only a small part of their operation), it's that their general plan and scope has the thumbs up from higher ups.

Again, my point is that if you don't like things the CIA is doing your real beef is with the President/NSC, not the CIA. They don't just get up and start a covert operation because they feel like it.
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
76
If you had in hand a federal court order to preserve something and your CO told you to destroy it anyway you would be obeying an order you knew to be unlawful. Not just from a civilian perspective, but in standing orders from higher authority than your CO.

There's a reason why civilians control the military in our country (and all other well functioning ones), and that's because the military has shown time and again that it cannot be trusted to run itself. Defying court orders to follow the unlawful orders of your CO undermines that, and it's a terrible idea. You know as well as I do how unfit the military is to govern itself.
First, I'm not a lawyer. I didn't understand that document. I had no way to know if it was real. I know what an OPORD or FRAGO looks like and how to determine it's authenticity, but sorry, that "court order" is just paper to me. That's why it doesn't make it down to my level, it's handled at the Secretary level with the help of lawyers, or at GO level with the help of JAG.

It would really depend on the context of the situation. As in, what we're destroying and why. Like if it were the classified videos of that Apache gunship killing the Reuters reporters, yeah, I'd destroy that in a second. Information like that substantially impacts our ability to fight wars and puts my fellow soldiers in danger.

If it were records that my CO was using TDY funds to visit brothels and strip clubs? Well that's another story, I'd preserve those to the best of my ability.
 
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Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
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But what makes you think that CIA activities in Afghanistan are part of an unauthorized operation? It's not that the CIA doesn't perform covert actions (even if it is only a small part of their operation), it's that their general plan and scope has the thumbs up from higher ups.

Again, my point is that if you don't like things the CIA is doing your real beef is with the President/NSC, not the CIA. They don't just get up and start a covert operation because they feel like it.
I don't have a problem with anything the CIA has ever done, so I guess we don't have an argument here. :biggrin:
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,628
23,733
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I don't have a problem with anything the CIA has ever done, so I guess we don't have an argument here. :biggrin:
You don't have a problem with the CIA conducting illegal human medical and drug experiments on US citizens without their consent?
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
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You don't have a problem with the CIA conducting illegal human medical and drug experiments on US citizens without their consent?
They were trying to figure out a SAFER way to interrogate people. Pretty noble I'd say.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
57,080
5,422
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That just makes it official. The CIA has been above the law for decades.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Gee, nice handwaving and appeal to emotion instead of answering the facts. The facts are there was a clear court order to NOT destroy the tapes, and the tapes were destroyed. Period.

To paraphrase the government when we complained about wiretapping, "if you have nothing to hide, why worry"? So why did the CIA worry and destroy the tapes if everything was legal? Whoops!


Since both you and Nebor claim to be in the military, here is a simple yes/no question:

You get a Federal Court order to not destroy documents in your care (maybe videos, paperwork showing billing, whatever). Do you destroy them anyway?

If your CO tells you to destroy them, do you?

If you answer no, you are in direct opposition to what the CIA did, and are a hypocrite.

If you answer yes, you just committed a federal crime, and are unfit to be in the military.

What is your answer?
The problem, in this case, is that there is not enough (any?) proof that the field office was aware of the court orders, or that the orders were even signed, PRIOR to the destruction of the tapes -- hence the dismissal of the case.

Personally, I would not destroy evidence if I was aware of, or in possession of, a signed court order. However, if I decided to do so prior to the issuance of such an order, I wouldn't expect to be held accountable for disobeying an order that didn't exist yet.

Make sense?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,628
23,733
136
They were trying to figure out a SAFER way to interrogate people. Pretty noble I'd say.
No, they were trying to get more effective interrogation techniques. Safety was not their goal. They also conducted this illegal human experimentation on the people they were charged with protecting in a scientifically incompetent manner. (not to mention that we had just finished prosecuting Nazis for conducting human experimentation without consent that had similarly noble goals in many cases)

If you're seriously trying to say that you approve of illegal human experimentation on US citizens that not only violates the law but was purposeless, then you're just trolling. You can just say that you support the CIA generally but they've made a couple of mistakes, you know.
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
76
No, they were trying to get more effective interrogation techniques. Safety was not their goal. They also conducted this illegal human experimentation on the people they were charged with protecting in a scientifically incompetent manner. (not to mention that we had just finished prosecuting Nazis for conducting human experimentation without consent that had similarly noble goals in many cases)

If you're seriously trying to say that you approve of illegal human experimentation on US citizens that not only violates the law but was purposeless, then you're just trolling. You can just say that you support the CIA generally but they've made a couple of mistakes, you know.
I'd say their mistakes are when they don't succeed at what they set out to do. I'm not saying they're faultless, they don't execute every mission perfectly every time but no, I don't look down on them for illegal human experimentation. *shrug*
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,628
23,733
136
I'd say their mistakes are when they don't succeed at what they set out to do. I'm not saying they're faultless, they don't execute every mission perfectly every time but no, I don't look down on them for illegal human experimentation. *shrug*
See, now you're just trying to get a rise out of people. Silliness.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
You can just say that you support the CIA generally but they've made a couple of mistakes, you know.
That actually sums up my beliefs perfectly.

After all, they're human.

However, unlike many here, I forgive them for those rare mistakes and truly appreciate every time they get it right. Like I said above, I'm grateful for their neverending efforts, sacrifices, and commitment to our safety...
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
Court orders don't make it very far down the chain of command. Someone at the top gets a court order and issues a military order as a result.

But yeah, if my CO told me to shred papers, destroy videos, delete files I'd do it regardless of what some court said. I guess afterwards General Garfieldthecat would convene my (and my superiors') court martial. I won't hold my breath. :rolleyes:
Wow, total ignorance of the law. And throw in a lot of arrogance and contempt on top. Well played. So I'm right, you aren't fit to serve.

Do you realize that illegal orders aren't valid? Guess not.
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
The problem, in this case, is that there is not enough (any?) proof that the field office was aware of the court orders, or that the orders were even signed, PRIOR to the destruction of the tapes -- hence the dismissal of the case.

Personally, I would not destroy evidence if I was aware of, or in possession of, a signed court order. However, if I decided to do so prior to the issuance of such an order, I wouldn't expect to be held accountable for disobeying an order that didn't exist yet.

Make sense?
Is there any evidence of that? (serious question) I haven't seen anything in a timeline that indicates that they could have been destroyed pre-order.

At least you wouldn't ignore the law, unlike Nebor, whose righteousness extends so far to consider doing whatever he feels is right over what the law says.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Is there any evidence of that? (serious question) I haven't seen anything in a timeline that indicates that they could have been destroyed pre-order.

At least you wouldn't ignore the law, unlike Nebor, whose righteousness extends so far to consider doing whatever he feels is right over what the law says.
I believe the entire dismissal was based on the fact that prosecutors couldn't prove that those who destroyed the tapes knew of a signed court order prior to doing so, but I could be wrong...?
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
76
Wow, total ignorance of the law. And throw in a lot of arrogance and contempt on top. Well played. So I'm right, you aren't fit to serve.

Do you realize that illegal orders aren't valid? Guess not.
I think you meant to say contempt?

I'm familiar with the legality of orders and the chain of command as a commissioned officer.

But just as orders may not be right, laws might not be right. We're nothing without our own judgment.

Either way, it sounds like you consider yourself WAY more fit to serve than I am, so please sign up at your earliest convenience and take my place. Or have you already served in the past?
 

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