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CORRECTION, DECEMBER 9, 2007
This story, which originally appeared under the title “Where is Jose Rodriguez? Apparently in business with the brother of top Democrat on Intel Panel,” describes Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s clandestine service who has been identified as making the decision to destroy videotapes showing the interrogation of two Al Qaeda members, as doing business with a brother of Congressman Silvestre Reyes, the Democratic chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
A Reyes staffer has told me that the story “is absolute fiction” and that Rodriguez has never had any discussions about doing business with any member of Reyes’s family. “There’s absolutely no truth to” the story, the staffer said. He said Reyes’s planned a “rigorous inquiry” into the destruction of the videotapes and that, “We are going to follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
I have retraced my steps in reporting the story and it’s clear that what I wrote was wrong. The responsibility is mine alone. I regret the error and apologize for it. That section of the story has been eliminated from this version of the post.
I tend to agree with my colleague Scott Horton that Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, is being made the scapegoat for the destruction of videotapes showing the interrogation of two Al Qaeda members. “This looks like he was tossed under a giant bus,” one former intelligence official told me. “How likely is it that he took this decision on his own, especially when he’s not in the videotapes and wouldn’t be affected directly? Not very likely.”
This person said that the fact that the tapes were made in the first place was hugely revealing. “It shows that by 2002, everyone at the agency thought they could be Jack Bauer, that the president thought this sort of thing was fine,” he said. “This is like making a snuff film. It’s incredible that they felt they could put it on tape.”
On the other hand, another former agency official told me he thought Rodriguez could have–and should have–taken the decision on his own. This person said:
When this idea first came up, it generated a heated discussion. The most experienced officers were to the man, against any effort to tape the interrogations. The object of having an intelligence service is to do things secretly. You don’t tape things unless there is a sound operational reason to do so. Jose was right to order the tapes destroyed. They should not have been made. That said, the day they arrived and were viewed by the leadership, they should have been destroyed that day, not two years later. The tapes would have shocked the conscience of the public, and should not have been made. Nothing good would come of it.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.
Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Science’s crisis of faith