Jane Mayer: New Book on Torture, the CIA and 9/11

Our local radio station KPFA just covered the torture hearings with Feith that took place in Congress today and investigative journalist Jane Mayer's new book exposing torture info is now out at the same time. I was looking up what she's said about 9/11 and what the book might say and came across the descriptions below.

She mentioned how members of the Administration who spoke to her were so intimidated by Cheney that they had to speak in code to each other because they assumed that Cheney was tapping their phones. I expect she probably rejects "inside job" -- afterall, she was formerly a Wall Street Journal writer, is a Yale grad, etc -- but it could be an opportunity to provide her with more info, if possible.

What was the outcome with Naomi Klein? I'd be interested to hear any ideas of what did or didn't work for interacting with her and getting info across.

Jane Mayer discusses
"The Dark Side: How The War on Terror Became a War on American Ideals"

"The book, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals," by Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, offers new details of the agency's secret detention program, as well as the bitter debates in the administration over interrogation methods and other tactics in the campaign against Al Qaeda. The Sunday after September 11, 2001 Vice President Dick Cheney sat down for an interview with Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." In that much quoted interview, Cheney gave a memorable description of how the administration viewed the continuing threat and how it planned to respond:

"We'll have to work sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies... if we are going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in. And, uh, so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal basically, to achieve our objectives."

Since 2001 New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer has been investigating and reporting on what the dark side really means. For the first time, she pieces together the full story of how Cheney, and a handful of extraordinarily powerful, but almost unknown lawyers including his Chief of Staff David Addington, took command of the war on terrorism. They seized on the mood of national fear to institute a top secret, covert program that twisted or ignored 221 years of constitutional history. She chronicles the behind-the-scenes meetings in the White House, Justice Department and CIA, and shows how the decisions taken behind closed doors in Washington spiraled out around the world, often with unintended consequences, violated the Constitution, and dramatically hindered the pursuit of Al Qaeda."

9-11 Preventable
Submitted by davidswanson on Sun, 2008-07-13 11:32.
From Frank Rich on Jane Mayer's book:
"So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, has publicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to "never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel." But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer's book helps cement the case that America's use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.

In her telling, a major incentive for Mr. Cheney's descent into the dark side was to cover up for the Bush White House's failure to heed the Qaeda threat in 2001. Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.'s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was "all preventable." By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.'s inspector general, "50 or 60 individuals" in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director that summer, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, "I don't want to hear about that anymore!"

Collateral Damage
According to Jane Mayer, the United States has succeeded in creating an American gulag.
Reviewed by Andrew J. Bacevich
Sunday, July 13, 2008; Page BW03
"From Mayer, we learn that in George W. Bush's Washington, the decisions that matter are made in secret by a handful of presidential appointees committed to the proposition that nothing should inhibit the exercise of executive power. The Congress, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the "interagency process" -- all of these constitute impediments that threaten to constrain the president. In a national security crisis, constraint is intolerable. Much the same applies to the media and, by extension, to the American people: The public's right to know extends no further than whatever the White House wishes to make known. . . . Despite what Mayer describes as "the worst intelligence failure in the nation's history," the aftermath of 9/11 saw not a single senior official fired. (Earlier this week a bipartisan commission headed by former secretaries of state James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher proposed new legislation to govern the war-making powers of the president and Congress.)"

(Interesting that the Washington Post is bothering to mention that no senior official was ever fired. Also interesting that the culture described -- a secret handful -- would have been ideally suited to conduct a false flag, not just torture.)

Jane Mayer is the co-author of two best-selling narrative non-fiction books, LANDSLIDE: THE UNMAKING OF THE PRESIDENT, 1984-1988, and STRANGE JUSTICE: THE SELLING OF CLARENCE THOMAS, the latter of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting. Before that, she was a senior writer and front page editor for The Wall Street Journal.

Catch Jane Mayer on the Book Tour

I've given deluxe packages of DVDs to James Douglass (JFK and the Unspeakable), Anne Wright (Dissent) , Jeremy Scahill (Blackwater)
when they visited Dallas on their book tours. I plan to do so again for David Sirota (The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street & Washington)

Jane Mayer Author tour

7/24/2008 Politics & Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
202-364-1919 7 pm

7/29/2008 Free Library of Philadelphia (Central Library)
1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-567-4341 7 pm

8/2/2008 World Affairs Council of Northern California
312 Sutter Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-293-4647 6 pm

9/22/2008 Miller Center of Public Affairs
University of Virginia 2201 Old Ivy Road
Charlottesville, VA 22904
434-924-7236 11 am

Author: Some in Congress calling for war crimes trials


Author: Some in Congress calling for war crimes trials
Nick Langewis and David Edwards
Published: Tuesday July 15, 2008

The Bush administration's laxity towards torture of prisoners could expose its top officials to war crimes charges, said investigative journalist and New Yorker writer Jane Mayer to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"I think that's more a political question than a legal question, really," Mayer said. "It's a question of whether there's a political appetite for this. There are Democrats on the Hill who are calling for these kinds of hearings and trials."

As Mayer wrote in her new book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, officials that may find themselves under arrest should they visit certain European countries include President Bush, Vice President Cheney, his aide David Addington, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, for violations of the Geneva Conventions and American law.

"What the book makes clear, really, is that this wasn't the action of some kind of 'bad, rotten apples on the bottom of the barrel,' as people were saying [about] Abu Ghraib. This is a program that was put into place by the top of our government to use the [toughest terms possible] to get information."

"As part of that process," the book reads, "for the first time in history, the United States sanctioned government officials to physically and psychologically torment U.S.-held captives, making torture the official law of the land in all but name."

"[The] interrogation methods used to question detainees have been lawful, safe, and effective," CIA spokesman George Little countered in a Friday statement responding to claims made in the book. "The program has yielded valuable information that has helped the United States and other countries save lives and disrupt terrorist operations."

Whether or not the much-discussed practice of waterboarding is torture, for example, is a "semantic game," but one that seems cut-and-dried from Mayer's perspective. She cites former Deputy Secretary of State and Vietnam combat veteran Richard Armitage, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge among Bush administration officials who have equated the practice to torture.

While Mayer is "sympathetic" to the national frenzy that followed the shock of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, we've had ample time to reassess our methods and procedures.

"The question is: Seven years later, do we need to keep doing the same thing? And, can we, take, maybe, a rational look and see--is this what we want our country to become, or are we better than this?"

The interview is available to view below. It was broadcast on CNN's The Situation Room on July 15, 2008.

This book promotes anthrax disinfo re Cheney

and uses it to excuse Cheney's insistence on use of torture.


"In the days after 9/11, when fears of another terrorist strike were at their peak, Vice President Dick Cheney was convinced that he had been subjected to a lethal dose of anthrax, according to a new book.

White House insiders from that white-knuckle time told author Jane Mayer, who authored "The Dark Side, The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals," that the scare contributed to Cheney's insistence on hard-line tactics for fighting terror."

"In the days after the horror of 9/11, the country seemed to be under assault from many sides, with anthrax letters showing up in Congress and newsrooms.

On Oct. 18, 2001, a White House alarm went off indicating that sensors had detected dangerous levels of radioactive, chemical or biological agents. According to Mayer, anyone who had entered the White House situation room, including Cheney, had been exposed.

"They thought Cheney was already lethally infected," said a former administration officer who had kept the White House secret until now, according to the book.

Despite the unnerving news. Cheney calmly reported the emergency to the National Security Council. It turned out that the detection system had a malfunction and there was no hazard.

But in the days after the incident, Cheney was taking no chances. Eleven days later, Cheney insisted on leaving the White House and retreating to one of his "secure, undisclosed locations," the book claims.

Cheney and other Cabinet members took turns hunkering down in one of several cold war era bunkers built to survive a nuclear attack. The bunkers, deep underground, were crammed with communications gear and Cheney would stay in what was dubbed the "The Commander in Chief's Suite," Mayer writes.

When vice president wasn't in the bunker, Mayer claims that "a sense of constant danger followed Cheney everywhere." The route was altered daily during the veep's commute to his above-ground office. On the back seat next to him would be a duffel bag stuffed with a gas mask and biochemical survival suit. And a doctor nearly always traveled with him, "The Dark Side" claims."

"Mayer suggests that the shock of 9/11 coupled with his anthrax scare changed Cheney and made him an overpowering force in the administration arguing for significantly tougher interrogation techniques."

The claim by an anonymous "official" that "they thought Cheney was already lethally infected" after an October 18 false alarm seems to forget that Cheney's staff began taking Cipro on 9/11.


“On the altar of God, I swear eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man."--Thomas Jefferson

Great info!

Thanks for the Cheney info . . . so it's interesting how she tries to portray it both ways, in her interview, that he was wiretapping everyone around him, but in the book, that he was a "victim" of the attacks . . .