By Andrew Rosenthal in the New York Times Today.
There was an article on the front page of the Times on Monday that stopped me cold. It reported that the Justice Department has charged a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, John Kiriakou, with disclosing classified information to journalists—charges that could mean 30 years in prison.
That may seem simple: CIA officer, classified information disclosed, prison. But take a closer look. He’s been charged with revealing that two men accused of organizing the Sept. 11 attacks, Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, were tortured. So the man who reveals the torture may go to jail, but nothing is going to happen to the people who cooked up corrupt legal opinions to justify torture, who ordered torture, or who actually tortured.
And nothing will happen to the Bush administration officials who authorized “extraordinary rendition”— the illegal practice of seizing people and flying them to nasty places where interrogators can brutalize them. Or to the telephone companies that participated in illegal wiretapping programs. Or to the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of prisoner interrogations.
The innocent victims of torture will be denied justice – like the Canadian man who was arrested at an American airport and then flown overseas to be tortured in a case of horrible mistaken identity. The infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay will not be closed. The men behind the Sept. 11 attacks may never be brought to trial because of the ineffectiveness and illegitimacy of the military tribunals created by President Bush and tweaked a bit by President Obama.