Jose Rodriguez is showing no signs of going gently into that dark night. Quite the opposite, in fact - he has not only lawyered up, he has hired Robert Bennett. Bennett is the guy you hire when you are not just going to stand your ground, but you intend to capture the other guys flag...
Just. To. Make. Your. Point.
Rodriguez is well known in the intelligence community as one of the most cautious men on the face of the earth. People who know him all state, without even an inkling of reservation, that the thought of Jose Rodriguez making a unilateral decision to destroy those tapes is simply unthinkable. It is something he would never do. Period. Not without direct orders from someone of a sufficiently higher pay grade.
This is going to reach deep into the White House. We already know that four administration attorneys were involved in discussions about what to do with the videotape evidence. Not only were White House attorneys involved, but the evidence was withheld from the 9/11 Commission, and destroyed after the Commission delivered their findings.
The House Intelligence Committee has summoned Rodriguez to appear on January 16, and Chairman Sylvestre Reyes has indicated he isn't looking for scapegoats, he is looking for the truth - and that is an indication that Reyes might offer Rodriguez the immunity he is obviously angling for in exchange for his testimony.
Larry Johnson thinks it's going to go high up the chain, too. “The CIA and Jose Rodriguez look bad, but he’s probably the least culpable person in the process. He didn’t wake up one day and decide, ‘I’m going to destroy these tapes.’ He checked with a lot of people and eventually he is going to get his say. He has been starting to get his story out and was smart to get Bennett.”
“It looks increasingly as though the decision was made by the White House,” said Johnson. He believes it is “highly likely” that Bush saw one of the videos, as he was interested in Zubaydah’s case and received frequent updates on his interrogation from George Tenet, the CIA director at the time.
It has emerged that the CIA did preserve two videotapes and an audiotape of detainee interrogations conducted by a foreign government, which may have been relevant to the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the Al-Qaeda conspirator.
The CIA told a federal judge in 2003 that no such recordings existed but has now retracted that testimony. One of the tapes could show the interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh, a September 11 conspirator, who was allegedly handed to Jordan for questioning.
Seven years of Machiavellian machinations, hubris and arrogance driving policy, disdain for anyone deigning to question the administration, and a pervasive attitude of "it isn't treason if the president is the traitor" passed it's sell-by date a long freakin' time ago. It has even led them to try to make Jose Rodriguez their fall guy.
But Rodriguez is nobody's dupe, and too many people know him too well. Immunize him, Mr. Reyes, and let him tell all.
I imagine that prospect has a whole lot of nutsacks shriveling all over the West Wing. And that thought pleases me immensely.