Obama Promotes CIA Officer Responsible For El-Masri Abuse

In yet another slap at civil libertarians and the rule of law, the Obama Administration has promoted the CIA officer responsible for one of the most embarrassing scandals of the Bush Administration: the kidnapping and abuse of Khaled el-Masri.

It remains one of the most embarrassing acts of abuse internationally and the officer was recommended for punishment. However, the Obama Administration decided to promote her to one of the top positions at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

The article identifies the agent only by her middle name: Frances.

The article notes that, while the Administration and prior Administration quiet critics by saying that abusive officers are being investigated, they are often later promoted as in the case of two officers accused in the death of a prisoner in Afghanistan.

While the AP agreed to withhold last names, CIA spokesman George Little still called the AP’s decision to inform the public of the promotions and their first names as “nothing short of reckless.”

What is particularly striking is how such questions of discipline were reviewed and rejected by former CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo — who was later imprisoned in an unrelated corruption case.

Of these cases the bungled and abusive case of el-Masri is the standout. El-Masri claimed to have been beaten, sodomized and drugged after his kidnapping but was barred from being able to sue over his treatment. Here is a copy of his complaint: El-Masri Complaint

While others doubted el-Masri was a terrorist, Frances pushed for his rendition despite her lack of field experience. After he was kidnapped and sent to Afghanistan, others continued to raise concerns that he was innocent and he notably held a German passport when the man who they were looking for was not a German citizen.

Even with growing proof that she had pushed for the kidnapping of an innocent man, Frances fought efforts to release him. It took five months to release him. Even the CIA inspector general found no basis for the rendition and even called the actions illegal. Also faulted was an attorney identified as Elizabeth for flawed legal analysis allowing these abuses to occur. My neighbor, former CIA director Michael Hayden, allowed a reprimand of the lawyer but blocked any disciplining of Frances. Notably, he himself has been named by civil libertarians for his participation in alleged crimes and he also claims that he was just following the legal advice of his lawyers. Thus, his actions reinforced his own personal claim of innocence.

By the way, Elizabeth was also promoted and is now legal adviser to the CIA’s Near East division. Thus, the lawyer (who advised that one of the most gruesome and outrageous abuses of the last decade could occur) has been promoted to give advice to the entire Near East division.

The decision of the Obama Administration to promote such officials is entirely consistent with the President’s policies of adopting and expanding Bush policies in the area while blocking public interest cases. It is also consistent with Obama’s assurance soon after his election that no CIA officer would be punished for torturing citizens or non-citizens. What he did not mention is that his Administration would promote officials involved in abuses.

The message is obvious for personnel in seeking advancement.

Source: Yahoo

65 thoughts on “Obama Promotes CIA Officer Responsible For El-Masri Abuse”

  1. A couple of threads back a ~very wise man~ 😉 made a comment about the epitaph of the Obama admin. He even mentioned this type of abuse as an area where the current President is continuing the divine legacy of his predecessor.

    Some days being right is the worst thing possible, I wish I wasn’t.

  2. You are spot on Gyges. The government can get any information on us, but they will not allow their crimes to be unearthed and put on display. What possible legitimate reason could Obama have for not going after the torturers? It can’t be political because his base is enraged by the move to keep looking forward, and if he did make a deal with the Republicans what did he get for his complicity because they have obstructed everything that he has tried? It just doesn’t make sense. Government secrecy is like a flesh eating infection.

  3. Rafflaw,

    I was just struck by a thought: Today it takes a government or large organization to make one truly anonymous.

    There’s a stark contrast between the amount of information available about a law abiding citizen and the amount of information available TO the law abiding citizen.

  4. Blouise
    Which poll … which Americans? Wishful thinking.

    Damn cold here and a ton of snow!
    Looks like a little more snow for you Fri/Saturday. Been out of the loop. Heading to Gatlinburg this afternoon.

    If you could talk to the animals I think if you told them about Global Warming they’d tell you you are crazy, we are freezing to death.

    35 Zoo Animals Freeze To Death In Northern Mexico



  5. Gyges,
    Amen. These people hide behind their secret identities in order to hide their culpability for their crimes and blunders. When did this country not prosecute criminals and remove people who are incompetent? We have too much secrecy and not enough Wikileak-type leaks.

  6. An organization that tortures doesn’t do so for information. I think the CIA long ago stopped being about intelligence and started being about exerting American Power.

    That said, something about the whole anonymity being a shield against being held accountable for abuses, reminds me of a story about a ring.

  7. I think Mike S. is exactly correct. These two sweethearts were kicked upstairs to keep them quiet and under contract to keep their mouths shut. This is another example of Obama protecting the Bush torturers. I still think that there had to be some sort of deal between Bush and Obama prior to the inauguration. I can’t prove it, but I think if we ask Frances or Elizabeth, they might know.

  8. Lottakatz
    1, February 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm
    At least it wasn’t he Medal of Freedom. :-\



    If Mike Spindell’s suggestion is right then we are indeed in a lot of trouble and the CIA is way out of control.

  9. This sounds very much like Abu Ghraib – subordinates punished, culpable officers promoted. Also because of ill equipped and unprepared operatives.

    When My Lai hit the news, my first thought was “This has probably happened in WWII and every other war”. Our fathers and grandfathers may have participated in abuse of prisoners in the heat of battle. They weren’t bad men, they were good men living in a temporary hell. But abuse of prisoners held in safe conditions is a different thing entirely.

    That given, like all clandestine organizations, the CIA attracts people that sometimes have, let us say, a different view of ethical or principled behavior from what we would like to be the norm. If these people in the article are absolutely necessary for our intelligence effectiveness, they may be working under suspension of punishment; but promotion can only be detrimental to the organization’s discipline – which is apparently being exposed in the books written by ex-CIA employees. If Mr. Panetta is unable to discipline this large and volitile organization, he should be replaced.

    Maybe I’ve read too many LeCarre’ books, but the labyrinth world of espionage and the ability to be effective without falling into error seems to be one that doesn’t lend itself to black and white solutions, much as we would prefer that.

  10. At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.


  11. Bdaman
    1, February 9, 2011 at 10:38 am
    A recent poll shows that 51% of Americans feel that Obama has no chance at a second term, 51%. Where’s the other 49?


    Which poll … which Americans? Wishful thinking.

    Damn cold here and a ton of snow!

  12. Somehow, I doubt the CIA has many civil libertarians in their ranks to choose from.

  13. bdaman We don’t know who Obama’s opponent is. Are you supporting Palin, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Romney or Huckabee. Some polls show Huckabee to be in the lead.

  14. interesting article….States secrets clause???

    ~by their fruits you shall know them…..by the stench if you can’t get close enuff to see…

  15. It occurs to me that the promotions were made in order to keep these people’s mouths shut as to who they were following orders from. A typical cover-up for what officials blithely think of as an embarassing situation.

  16. A recent poll shows that 51% of Americans feel that Obama has no chance at a second term, 51%. Where’s the other 49?

  17. “While the AP agreed to withhold last names, CIA spokesman George Little still called the AP’s decision to inform the public of the promotions and their first names as “nothing short of reckless.”


    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black ……. “nothing short of reckless” is a perfect description of Frances’ actions and Obama’s decision to promote her. President Obama’s legacy is getting darker and darker.

  18. And we complain about 5 years for a murder….at least he is doing so relative time…..

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