Senate Torture Report: Former C.I.A. official Jose Rodriguez speaks out to Smerconish

The Senate recently released a report on the C.I.A.’s Use of Torture. Specifically, the report addressed the interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration in order to ensure the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden and to stop other acts of terror. The highly anticipated report has become public at a time when the faith in America’s justice system has already been shaken by the events following the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury verdicts. Many, including President Obama, have spoken out against the practices described in the report, claiming they were not essential to stopping terrorist plots or capturing bin Laden. However, Jose Rodriguez, a 31-year veteran of the C.I.A. and author of Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, recently spoke out against these seemingly popular views on The Michael Smerconish Program. As the Director of the Counter Terrorism Center immediately following 9/11, Rodriguez was in charge of the C.I.A. fight against Al Qaeda during the time outlined in the report. He told Smerconish he was not interviewed for the report and vehemently supports the C.I.A. and interrogation methods used.

“The program worked. For those of us who were there, reading the intelligence every morning, and actually acting on that intelligence to destroy the organization, to me, it is just truly amazing how Congress came up with such a conclusion that there was no value attached to this program because the opposite is true,” Rodriguez said. “As a matter of fact, this will probably go down in history as one of the most successful programs because we were actually able to capture and kill all of the generation of Al Qaeda fighters that attacked us on 9/11.”

There has been speculation regarding the legality of the practices listed in the public version of the report. Nevertheless, Rodriguez claims the procedures used were approved in advance by the U.S. Justice Department.

“This program was certified as legal by the Justice Department, and it was authorized by the President and his national security team. And we adhered to all the rules that were given to us,” Rodriguez said. “In every human endeavor, you are going to have people who go off the reservation, but we punished those people. But actually, the program was very tightly run … When President Obama says, ‘This was against our values,’ I just scratch my head because I think it’s a talking point for the Democrats and for this administration. What it is is an excuse not to capture or interrogate terrorists because they don’t have the fortitude or the courage to do what it takes … They somehow figure killing from a distance is more ethical.”

Rodriguez spoke candidly regarding President Obama’s public stance on the situation. According to Rodriguez, the Commander in Chief is commending the Patriots who participated in these missions while simultaneously denouncing the execution of the missions themselves.

“[President Obama] says so many things, and a lot of it is crap to be perfectly honest,” Rodriguez said. “I have no idea where he stands.”

Rodriguez claims the measures taken were paramount to locating Osama bin Laden.

“The big break came when the agency was able to get the true name of the courier,” Rodriguez said. “Only three people were waterboarded … They were in isolation. Some of them were sleep deprived. Some of them were totally confused as to where they were, how did they get there, and were ready to talk without even any enhanced interrogation, which was our preferred course of action.”

In fact, Rodriguez finds the report that was released on Tuesday to be “full of inaccuracies.”

“There is another important report that your listeners should take a look at, and that is the agency’s response to the majority report. It’s an important document because they’re talking about Obama’s C.I.A., and basically they push back entirely of the majority report,” Rodriguez said. “On page 38, I quit reading it, and I quit reading it because it is such a flawed document.”

Smerconish said he was surprised that many true names of C.I.A. officials are included in the whopping 528-page public report. Rodriguez stated that the individuals named should fear for their safety.

“Why put people’s true names in a report like this? And I tell you something, I think there are a lot of people in the C.I.A. that are extremely concerned about their safety,” Rodriguez said. “And they should be. Because now I.S.I.S. has threatened to come after us.”

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