Is The 2005 Priest Story A Fraud?

By
April 26, 2006

Update: In 2002 the WaPo called the International detention (prison) story vital - in 2005 they quote another official calling it a burden. In 2002 they informed people that Clinton initiated the practice of extraordinary rendition. In 2005, they made it look like a creation of George Bush.

What changed? And what did Dana Priest know and when did she know it? Evidently, not a terribly great deal changed from 2002 to 2005, given that many details of the program the WaPo broke in 2005 were actually published through a group reported piece in the WaPo in 2002.

And the most significant change over the years was the spin around the story. None of the balance, or support for the program reported in 2002 appears in the 2005 version. What was once a very pro-America, pro-GWOT story was spun around into a damning critique of the Bush administration. Apparently that gets more buzz and wins Pulitzers while simply reporting the news in 2002 went mostly un-noticed.

Also keep in mind that many countries and the EU have investigated this and claim there were no such international facilities. Whether that is true or not is debatable. But the WaPo entirely ignored, not only their own 2002 story but any subsequent criticism and denial, as well. The Thai PM also called for a retraction in late 2005, which went largely unnoticed by the MSM in the US.

He said news stories run by foreign media were not always accurate and it was possible that some were published with a hidden agenda.

Some excerpts comparing the two stories:

2002 Unarchived Headline: Torture Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas

2005 Pulitzer Headline: CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons

Unarchived in 2002:  sits a cluster of metal shipping containers protected by a triple layer of concertina wire. The containers hold the most valuable prizes in the war on terrorism

Pulitzer in 2005: The agency shoved its highest-value prisoners into metal shipping containers set up on a corner of the Bagram Air Base, which was surrounded with a triple perimeter of concertina-wire fencing.

Unarchived in 2002: In other cases, usually involving lower-level captives, the CIA hands them to foreign intelligence services — notably those of Jordan, Egypt and Morocco — with a list of questions the agency wants answered. These "extraordinary renditions" are done without resort to legal process and usually involve countries with security services known for using brutal means.

Pulitzer in 2005: A second tier — which these sources believe includes more than 70 detainees — is a group considered less important, with less direct involvement in terrorism and having limited intelligence value. These prisoners, some of whom were originally taken to black sites, are delivered to intelligence services in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan and other countries, a process sometimes known as "rendition."

Unarchived in 2002: In the multifaceted global war on terrorism waged by the Bush administration, one of the most opaque — yet vital — fronts is the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects. U.S. officials have said little publicly about the captives’ names, numbers or whereabouts, and virtually nothing about interrogation methods.

Pulitzer in 2005: The CIA and the White House, citing national security concerns and the value of the program, have dissuaded Congress from demanding that the agency answer questions in open testimony about the conditions under which captives are held. Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.

Unarchived in 2002: U.S. officials who defend the renditions say the prisoners are sent to these third countries not because of their coercive questioning techniques, but because of their cultural affinity with the captives. Besides being illegal, they said, torture produces unreliable information from people who are desperate to stop the pain.

Pulitzer in 2005: It is illegal for the government to hold prisoners in such isolation in secret prisons in the United States, which is why the CIA placed them overseas, according to several former and current intelligence officials and other U.S. government officials.

Perhaps timing is everything, as they say. You need to read this whole thing if you are following the Mary O. McCarthy story. Someone was talking to Priest as early as 2002. Actually, everyone was talking in 2002 and the international detention issue was viewed to some degree as a positive part of the Bush administrations GWOT. I wonder if we’ve been had by Dana Priest and the Washington Post.

Full initial text of this posting below.

I thought if I traced the much cited Dana Priest secret prison story out a bit, perhaps some consistent line of inquiry in her reporting over multiple stories might reveal something as regards any possible sources with which she had been working. Journalists often hang with the same sources, even over different stories. As I said in an earlier post on the issue: let’s go back to the start.

The start being Dana Priest’s Page 1 Washington Post secret prison story published on November 2, 2005. Or so I thought. Keep in mind Priest just won a Pulitzer Prize for the story. But was the 2005 story original reporting, in the strictest sense of the word? Um … perhaps not.

The story now has everyone’s attention due to the Mary O. McCarthy story. It blasted out the headline: CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons!

The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.

Compelling stuff for sure. So, why then was it not so compelling when Priest and several WaPo writers combined to publish, in large part, the very same story a day after Christmas in 2002?

Torture Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas

Dana Priest and Barton Gellman | Washington Post | December 26, 2002

"Those who refuse to cooperate inside this secret CIA interrogation center are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, according to intelligence specialists familiar with CIA interrogation methods. At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights — subject to what are known as ‘stress and duress’ techniques."

Contrast these two excerpts below published three years apart. The second won a Pulitzer. The first isn’t even archived on line.

2002: In other cases, usually involving lower-level captives, the CIA hands them to foreign intelligence services — notably those of Jordan, Egypt and Morocco — with a list of questions the agency wants answered. These "extraordinary renditions" are done without resort to legal process and usually involve countries with security services known for using brutal means.

2005: A second tier — which these sources believe includes more than 70 detainees — is a group considered less important, with less direct involvement in terrorism and having limited intelligence value. These prisoners, some of whom were originally taken to black sites, are delivered to intelligence services in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan and other countries, a process sometimes known as "rendition." While the first-tier black sites are run by CIA officers, the jails in these countries are operated by the host nations, with CIA financial assistance and, sometimes, direction.

Notice the quotation marks around rendition above in 2005? A new and extraordinary term? Hardly. They left out this bit below from the 2002 story for the 2005 version. I wonder why?

The Clinton administration pioneered the use of extraordinary rendition after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

And just as a matter of curiosity, why is it that the above article is no longer available at the Washington Post on line? Archiving, most likely. At least I hope so. Fortunately, a web site archived the article, as did others – just not the Washington Post. Is it possible the story didn’t get the traction and cause the hearings some might have thought before the 2004 election?

I realize it’s foolish to speculate, but why simply wait for passions around the GWOT to fade a bit before bringing the story back up, unless there was an agenda of some kind for any anticipated impact of the story? And why no reference to the earlier story at all?

The full text is below, similarities as regards sources and details are there. And the older story actually refers to a higher number of prisoners disappeared into the CIA’s black hole.

Granted, there are new suggestions as to known locations in Europe in the new story, but that’s about it. And the prison story was handled like major breaking news. It simply wasn’t. What has changed as regards the first and second stories three years apart is the focus and the narrative.

In 2002 the focus was on the torture and the story had several references with quotes about how productive the system had been in ferreting out al-Qaida operatives around the world. Actually, the story comes off looking rather pro-government as it prosecuted the war on terror. And forget sources, people were at least alluding to the program on the record with a wink and a nod.

Cofer Black, then head of the CIA Counterterrorist Center, spoke cryptically about the agency’s new forms of "operational flexibility" in dealing with suspected terrorists. "This is a very highly classified area, but I have to say that all you need to know: There was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11," Black said. "After 9/11 the gloves come off."

Sadly, what has really changed is the climate. Some might argue Dana Priest and the Washington Post, to some extent, filled out and re-cycled an old story three years later to take advantage of the climate and given the Bush administration yet another black eye for no reason. One that it obviously didn’t need, especially over a program everyone seemed to be rather pleased with three years before.

Read it below. Then you tell me, what was the big Pulitzer worthy scoop in 2005? except for some details and country locations which, ironically, aren’t even included, but simply referred to as known but not revealed. Everyone who read the WaPo at the time had the prison story as far back as 2002.

Read below and compare. Yes, some details were fleshed out and it won a Pulitzer Prize for news. Unfortunately, the story was far from new. I guess timing is everything after all.

"Deep inside the forbidden zone at the U.S.-occupied Bagram air base in Afghanistan, around the corner from the detention center and beyond the segregated clandestine military units, sits a cluster of metal shipping containers protected by a triple layer of concertina wire. The containers hold the most valuable prizes in the war on terrorism — captured al Qaeda operatives and Taliban commanders.

Those who refuse to cooperate inside this secret CIA interrogation center are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, according to intelligence specialists familiar with CIA interrogation methods. At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights — subject to what are known as "stress and duress" techniques.

Those who cooperate are rewarded with creature comforts, interrogators whose methods include feigned friendship, respect, cultural sensitivity and, in some cases, money. Some who do not cooperate are turned over — "rendered," in official parlance — to foreign intelligence services whose practice of torture has been documented by the U.S. government and human rights organizations.

In the multifaceted global war on terrorism waged by the Bush administration, one of the most opaque — yet vital — fronts is the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects. U.S. officials have said little publicly about the captives’ names, numbers or whereabouts, and virtually nothing about interrogation methods. But interviews with several former intelligence officials and 10 current U.S. national security officials — including several people who witnessed the handling of prisoners — provide insight into how the U.S. government is prosecuting this part of the war.

The picture that emerges is of a brass-knuckled quest for information, often in concert with allies of dubious human rights reputation, in which the traditional lines between right and wrong, legal and inhumane, are evolving and blurred.

While the U.S. government publicly denounces the use of torture, each of the current national security officials interviewed for this article defended the use of violence against captives as just and necessary. They expressed confidence that the American public would back their view. The CIA, which has primary responsibility for interrogations, declined to comment.

"If you don’t violate someone’s human rights some of the time, you probably aren’t doing your job," said one official who has supervised the capture and transfer of accused terrorists. "I don’t think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this. That was the whole problem for a long time with the CIA."

The off-limits patch of ground at Bagram is one of a number of secret detention centers overseas where U.S. due process does not apply, according to several U.S. and European national security officials, where the CIA undertakes or manages the interrogation of suspected terrorists. Another is Diego Garcia, a somewhat horseshoe-shaped island in the Indian Ocean that the United States leases from Britain.

Some sources cited as U.S. and foreign officials in 2002.

U.S. officials oversee most of the interrogations, especially those of the most senior captives. In some cases, highly trained CIA officers question captives through interpreters. In others, the intelligence agency undertakes a "false flag" operation using fake decor and disguises meant to deceive a captive into thinking he is imprisoned in a country with a reputation for brutality, when, in reality, he is still in CIA hands. Sometimes, female officers conduct interrogations, a psychologically jarring experience for men reared in a conservative Muslim culture where women are never in control.

In other cases, usually involving lower-level captives, the CIA hands them to foreign intelligence services — notably those of Jordan, Egypt and Morocco — with a list of questions the agency wants answered. These "extraordinary renditions" are done without resort to legal process and usually involve countries with security services known for using brutal means.

According to U.S. officials, nearly 3,000 suspected al Qaeda members and their supporters have been detained worldwide since Sept. 11, 2001. About 625 are at the U.S. military’s confinement facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some officials estimated that fewer than 100 captives have been rendered to third countries. Thousands have been arrested and held with U.S. assistance in countries known for brutal treatment of prisoners, the officials said.

The above makes it quite clear that there were a large number of detainees off the radar in 2002 – far more than alleged in the 2005 article.

At a Sept. 26 joint hearing of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Cofer Black, then head of the CIA Counterterrorist Center, spoke cryptically about the agency’s new forms of "operational flexibility" in dealing with suspected terrorists. "This is a very highly classified area, but I have to say that all you need to know: There was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11," Black said. "After 9/11 the gloves come off."

According to one official who has been directly involved in rendering captives into foreign hands, the understanding is, "We don’t kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them." Some countries are known to use mind-altering drugs such as sodium pentathol, said other officials involved in the process.

Abu Zubaida, who is believed to be the most important al Qaeda member in detention, was shot in the groin during his apprehension in Pakistan in March. National security officials suggested that Zubaida’s painkillers were used selectively in the beginning of his captivity. He is now said to be cooperating, and his information has led to the apprehension of other al Qaeda members.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack declined to comment earlier this week on CIA or intelligence-related matters. But, he said: "The United States is treating enemy combatants in U.S. government control, wherever held, humanely and in a manner consistent with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949."

The convention outlined the standards for treatment of prisoners of war. Suspected terrorists in CIA hands have not been accorded POW status.

Other U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that interrogators deprive some captives of sleep, a practice with ambiguous status in international law.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the authoritative interpreter of the international Convention Against Torture, has ruled that lengthy interrogation may incidentally and legitimately cost a prisoner sleep. But when employed for the purpose of breaking a prisoner’s will, sleep deprivation "may in some cases constitute torture."

The State Department’s annual human rights report routinely denounces sleep deprivation as an interrogation method. In its 2001 report on Turkey, Israel and Jordan, all U.S. allies, the department listed sleep deprivation among often-used alleged torture techniques.

U.S. officials who defend the renditions say the prisoners are sent to these third countries not because of their coercive questioning techniques, but because of their cultural affinity with the captives. Besides being illegal, they said, torture produces unreliable information from people who are desperate to stop the pain. They look to foreign allies more because their intelligence services can develop a culture of intimacy that Americans cannot. They may use interrogators who speak the captive’s Arabic dialect and often use the prospects of shame and the reputation of the captive’s family to goad the captive into talking.

‘Very Clever Guys’

In a speech on Dec. 11, CIA director George J. Tenet said that interrogations overseas have yielded significant returns recently. He calculated that worldwide efforts to capture or kill terrorists had eliminated about one-third of the al Qaeda leadership. "Almost half of our successes against senior al Qaeda members has come in recent months," he said.

Many of these successes have come as a result of information gained during interrogations. The capture of al Qaeda leaders Ramzi Binalshibh in Pakistan, Omar al-Faruq in Indonesia, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in Kuwait and Muhammad al Darbi in Yemen were all partly the result of information gained during interrogations, according to U.S. intelligence and national security officials. All four remain under CIA control.

Time, rather than technique, has produced the most helpful information, several national security and intelligence officials said. Using its global computer database, the CIA is able to quickly check leads from captives in one country with information divulged by captives in another.

"We know so much more about them now than we did a year ago — the personalities, how the networks are established, what they think are important targets, how they think we will react," said retired Army general Wayne Downing, the Bush administration’s deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism until he resigned in June.

"The interrogations of Abu Zubaida drove me nuts at times," Downing said. "He and some of the others are very clever guys. At times I felt we were in a classic counter-interrogation class: They were telling us what they think we already knew. Then, what they thought we wanted to know. As they did that, they fabricated and weaved in threads that went nowhere. But, even with these ploys, we still get valuable information and they are off the street, unable to plot and coordinate future attacks."

In contrast to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, where military lawyers, news reporters and the Red Cross received occasional access to monitor prisoner conditions and treatment, the CIA’s overseas interrogation facilities are off-limits to outsiders, and often even to other government agencies. In addition to Bagram and Diego Garcia, the CIA has other secret detention centers overseas, and often uses the facilities of foreign intelligence services.

Free from the scrutiny of military lawyers steeped in the international laws of war, the CIA and its intelligence service allies have the leeway to exert physically and psychologically aggressive techniques, said national security officials and U.S. and European intelligence officers.

Although no direct evidence of mistreatment of prisoners in U.S. custody has come to light, the prisoners are denied access to lawyers or organizations, such as the Red Cross, that could independently assess their treatment. Even their names are secret.

This month, the U.S. military announced that it had begun a criminal investigation into the handling of two prisoners who died in U.S. custody at the Bagram base. A base spokesman said autopsies found one of the detainees died of a pulmonary embolism, the other of a heart attack.

Al Qaeda suspects are seldom taken without force, and some suspects have been wounded during their capture. After apprehending suspects, U.S. take-down teams — a mix of military special forces, FBI agents, CIA case officers and local allies — aim to disorient and intimidate them on the way to detention facilities.

According to Americans with direct knowledge and others who have witnessed the treatment, captives are often "softened up" by MPs and U.S. Army Special Forces troops who beat them up and confine them in tiny rooms. The alleged terrorists are commonly blindfolded and thrown into walls, bound in painful positions, subjected to loud noises and deprived of sleep. The tone of intimidation and fear is the beginning, they said, of a process of piercing a prisoner’s resistance.

The take-down teams often "package" prisoners for transport, fitting them with hoods and gags, and binding them to stretchers with duct tape.

Bush administration appointees and career national security officials acknowledged that, as one of them put it, "our guys may kick them around a little bit in the adrenaline of the immediate aftermath." Another said U.S. personnel are scrupulous in providing medical care to captives, adding in a deadpan voice, that "pain control [in wounded patients] is a very subjective thing."

‘We’re Not Aware’

The CIA’s participation in the interrogation of rendered terrorist suspects varies from country to country.

"In some cases [involving interrogations in Saudi Arabia], we’re able to observe through one-way mirrors the live investigations," said a senior U.S. official involved in Middle East security issues. "In others, we usually get summaries. We will feed questions to their investigators. They’re still very much in control."

The official added: "We’re not aware of any torture or even physical abuse."

Tenet acknowledged the Saudis’ role in his Dec. 11 speech. "The Saudis are proving increasingly important support to our counterterrorism efforts — from making arrests to sharing debriefing results," he said.

But Saudi Arabia is also said to withhold information that might lead the U.S. government to conclusions or policies that the Saudi royal family fears. U.S. teams, for that reason, have sometimes sent Saudi nationals to Egypt instead.

Jordan is a favored country for renditions, several U.S. officials said. The Jordanians are considered "highly professional" interrogators, which some officials said meant that they do not use torture. But the State Department’s 2001 human rights report criticized Jordan and its General Intelligence Directorate for arbitrary and unlawful detentions and abuse.

"The most frequently alleged methods of torture include sleep deprivation, beatings on the soles of the feet, prolonged suspension with ropes in contorted positions and extended solitary confinement," the 2001 report noted. Jordan also is known to use prisoners’ family members to induce suspects to talk.

Another significant destination for rendered suspects is Morocco, whose general intelligence service has sharply stepped up cooperation with the United States. Morocco has a documented history of torture, as well as longstanding ties to the CIA.

Morocco is also named in the 2005 story.

The State Department’s human rights report says Moroccan law "prohibits torture, and the government claims that the use of torture has been discontinued; however, some members of the security forces still tortured or otherwise abused detainees."

In at least one case, U.S. operatives led the capture and transfer of an al Qaeda suspect to Syria, which for years has been near the top of U.S. lists of human rights violators and sponsors of terrorism. The German government strongly protested the move. The suspect, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, holds joint German and Syrian citizenship. It could not be learned how much of Zammar’s interrogation record Syria has provided the CIA.

The Bush administration maintains a legal distance from any mistreatment that occurs overseas, officials said, by denying that torture is the intended result of its rendition policy. American teams, officials said, do no more than assist in the transfer of suspects who are wanted on criminal charges by friendly countries. But five officials acknowledged, as one of them put it, "that sometimes a friendly country can be invited to ‘want’ someone we grab." Then, other officials said, the foreign government will charge him with a crime of some sort.

One official who has had direct involvement in renditions said he knew they were likely to be tortured. "I … do it with my eyes open," he said.

According to present and former officials with firsthand knowledge, the CIA’s authoritative Directorate of Operations instructions, drafted in cooperation with the general counsel, tells case officers in the field that they may not engage in, provide advice about or encourage the use of torture by cooperating intelligence services from other countries.

"Based largely on the Central American human rights experience," said Fred Hitz, former CIA inspector general, "we don’t do torture, and we can’t countenance torture in terms of we can’t know of it." But if a country offers information gleaned from interrogations, "we can use the fruits of it."

Bush administration officials said the CIA, in practice, is using a narrow definition of what counts as "knowing" that a suspect has been tortured. "If we’re not there in the room, who is to say?" said one official conversant with recent reports of renditions.

The Clinton administration pioneered the use of extraordinary rendition after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. But it also pressed allied intelligence services to respect lawful boundaries in interrogations.

After years of fruitless talks in Egypt, President Bill Clinton cut off funding and cooperation with the directorate of Egypt’s general intelligence service, whose torture of suspects has been a perennial theme in State Department human rights reports.

"You can be sure," one Bush administration official said, "that we are not spending a lot of time on that now."

Staff writers Bob Woodward, Susan Schmidt and Douglas Farah, and correspondent Peter Finn in Berlin, contributed to this report.

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Comments:
  1. The Chamber Pot Spills

    I ripped the Washington Post yesterday for a dishonest editorial attacking Porter Goss and the CIA. The Post actually attempted to say it was wrong to fire suspected leaker Mary McCarthy, who may be involved with Dana Priest’s Pulitzer Prize-winning…

  2. Hyscience says:

    Was That 2005 Dana Priest Story A Fraud?

    Could it be that we’ve all been had by the WaPo?

  3. Laertes says:

    omg plagiarism! You so totally busted her!
    This is your liberal media at work. A conservative (Ben Domenech) plagiarizes, and he he’s hounded out of his job. A liberal (I assume she’s a liberal since she doesn’t run her stories by the Decider-in-chief before she runs them) copies almost an entire story, and what does she get? A pulitzer. A connie just can’t win, I swear.

  4. Max says:

    Good job, Dan.

  5. Dean Esmay says:

    I got a little lost in the middle of that, do you think you might more clearly lable it with “here’s the 2002 story” and “here’s the 2005 story?” With labels like this perhaps?
    —[begin 2005 story]—
    blah blah blah blah
    blah blah
    blah blah blah
    —[end 2005 story]—
    I know it seems stupid but the piece is long and the quoted parts are long and it’s easy to get lost in there.

  6. Dean's World says:

    Dana Priest’s Non-News Story Pulitzer?

    Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser: there doesn’t seem to have been very much actual news in Dana Priest’s Pulitzer-winning …

  7. Verner says:

    Great Post. If you put this together with Gateway Pundit’s work on how Priest was mirroring the propaganda put out by William Goodfellow’s (her husband) think tank CIP, you have a very damning case.
    Also note, the timing was critical. The 2005 WaPo piece heavily damaged American foreign policy, and gave the america-hating neo-marxists in Europe a high profile reason to ruin Condi’s visit and damage our European allies in the WOT.
    Very good to point out the inflamitory language she used in 2005. It’s almost as if it were written by CIP, not an “objective” reporter for the WaPo.

  8. Dan says:

    Dean I cleaned it up just now as best I could given time available. Hopefully at the top it reads more succintly and more clearly. Time limited here, as always! – Dan

  9. Don Surber says:

    Good Question

    Dan Riehl asks was Dana Priest’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story on secret prisons a repeat of her 2002 reporting? Good question.

  10. splashtc says:

    Wow, what the h_ll goes on with the so called media elite. Seems they live in their own cronyism world and abuse their positions for personal gain. Where are the ethics in journists, do they take some kind of oath.

  11. Dana Priest, Mary McCarthy: Delibertate Effort To

    Was McCarthy in cahoots with Dana Priest- and was she willingly used by Dana Priest, in an effort to conceal Priest’s plagiarism and make it appear as if her ‘reporting’ was more credible than it actually was?

  12. Old story?

    Riehl World View thinks that the Pulitzer Price-winning Washington Post story by Dana Priest on the CIA secret prisons in Europe looks too similar to another one she co-wrote -more approvingly- back in December 26, 2002; he has a thorough…

  13. Dan says:

    As I noted, it could have been an archive issue. Obviously I went with the link provided. Either way, it’s irrelevant to the point.

  14. Mapping McCarthy, continued

    Even as National Democrats are making noises about instituting impeachment proceedings against President Bush (and perhaps even VP Cheney), and more former intel personnel spin their CYA stories for a (thus far) compliant and helpful media (on &quot…

  15. A Pulitzer for a Story Written Already in 2002?

    Dan Riehl catches Dana Preist recycling a story written in 2002 into her Pulitzer Prize for Treason work this year- with two different spins.

  16. Oh THAT Pulitzer

    The Pulitzer is a joke. Always has been. It’s the journalism equivalent of the Academy Award. No, worse. It’s the journalism equivalent of the Daytime Emmys. Like the Oscar or the Emmy, it is simply an in-house award. The Oscar…

  17. WaPo Changes Its View On CIA Prisons

    Hat Tip to Clarice Friedman on pointing us to this amazing analysis showing how the Chameleon post sees the same program as needed under Clinton and a near war crime under Bush.In 2002 the WaPo called the International detention (prison) story vital – …

  18. MrsLevy says:

    There’s a point?
    MrsLevy

  19. The McCarthy Story Grows

    Curt at Flopping Aces continues to stay right on top of the McCarthy leak story. Read his latest update here. *** Don’t miss Allahpundit’s post here or Dan Riehl’s here.

  20. Synchronicity Redux

    …Porter Goss has some serious housecleaning to do. And that explains why we keep hearing about disgruntled CIA officers – they are the ones who Goss is looking at as having leaked sensitive and classified information about operations crucial to obt…

  21. J Thomason says:

    I wonder what Barton Gellman, the co-author of the 2002 piece, thinks about Priest’s Pulitzer.

  22. Katherine says:

    Um, when someone points out a false statement in a post, isn’t it customary to correct rather than to claim it’s irrelevant to your point?
    The reason the articles overlap is that she’s reporting on the same program, and probably assumed people hadn’t memorized her 2002 article. There is all sorts of new information in the 2005 article. Take the lead;
    “The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.”
    That’s new.
    “The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.”
    That’s far more detailed.
    “The existence and locations of the facilities — referred to as “black sites” in classified White House, CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents — are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country.”
    I believe this is the first time the term “black sites” is used, and this indicates that she’s seen the documents.
    “They include tactics such as “waterboarding,” in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning.”
    That’s new.
    “Among the first steps was to figure out where the CIA could secretly hold the captives. One early idea was to keep them on ships in international waters, but that was discarded for security and logistics reasons.
    CIA officers also searched for a setting like Alcatraz Island. They considered the virtually unvisited islands in Lake Kariba in Zambia, which were edged with craggy cliffs and covered in woods. But poor sanitary conditions could easily lead to fatal diseases, they decided, and besides, they wondered, could the Zambians be trusted with such a secret?”
    That’s new.
    “The largest CIA prison in Afghanistan was code-named the Salt Pit. It was also the CIA’s substation and was first housed in an old brick factory outside Kabul. In November 2002, an inexperienced CIA case officer allegedly ordered guards to strip naked an uncooperative young detainee, chain him to the concrete floor and leave him there overnight without blankets. He froze to death, according to four U.S. government officials. The CIA officer has not been charged in the death.”
    Priest reported that about a year ago, but it’s new since 2002–another example of giving readers useful information in case they haven’t memorized her previous articles.
    “By mid-2002, the CIA had worked out secret black-site deals with two countries, including Thailand and one Eastern European nation, current and former officials said. An estimated $100 million was tucked inside the classified annex of the first supplemental Afghanistan appropriation.
    Then the CIA captured its first big detainee, in March 28, 2002. Pakistani forces took Abu Zubaida, al Qaeda’s operations chief, into custody and the CIA whisked him to the new black site in Thailand, which included underground interrogation cells, said several former and current intelligence officials. Six months later, Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh was also captured in Pakistan and flown to Thailand.
    But after published reports revealed the existence of the site in June 2003, Thai officials insisted the CIA shut it down, and the two terrorists were moved elsewhere, according to former government officials involved in the matter. Work between the two countries on counterterrorism has been lukewarm ever since.
    In late 2002 or early 2003, the CIA brokered deals with other countries to establish black-site prisons. One of these sites — which sources said they believed to be the CIA’s biggest facility now — became particularly important when the agency realized it would have a growing number of prisoners and a shrinking number of prisons.
    Thailand was closed, and sometime in 2004 the CIA decided it had to give up its small site at Guantanamo Bay. The CIA had planned to convert that into a state-of-the-art facility, operated independently of the military. The CIA pulled out when U.S. courts began to exercise greater control over the military detainees, and agency officials feared judges would soon extend the same type of supervision over their detainees.”
    That’s new.
    “The original standard for consigning suspects to the invisible universe was lowered or ignored, they said. “They’ve got many, many more who don’t reach any threshold,” one intelligence official said.”
    That’s new.
    It’s a four page article. You cherry pick things that overlap somewhat. I’m sorry, should she NOT mention the facility at Bagram or Morocco, even though it’s highly relevant? That’s stupid.
    As far as rendition under Clinton: transferring prisoners to other countries started under Clinton. Secret CIA prisons did not. The 2002 article gave a lot of attention to rendition. The 2005 article focused overwhelmingly on the CIA prisons.
    Weak, weak, weak.

  23. Pulitzer Winning Secret Prisons Story As Fraud

    It turns out Dana Priest wrote the same story secret prisons story in 2002, although with less spin and with the note that they were started under Clinton. In 2006, they became a Bush creation and a major scandal. [URL=http …

  24. Good Lt says:

    Umm Kathrine:
    I’m sorry, but you can’t seriously think that these are two completely different stories reporting on completely different aspects with completely new and breaking information. A Pulitzer? If that’s what a Pulizter is, then it may be a bigger honor not to win one. No wonder print journalism is taking a nosedive as of late.
    A previously reported story that did not win a Pulitzer is not breaking news, nor is it Pulitzer-worthy when rehashed with “new developments” that fail to indicate that the other 90% of the article has been reported already. Did the WaPo think you forgot, and hence gave you a friendly reminder of their ability to fennagle info from Donk CIA mole Mary McCarthy in 2002?
    No link to the archived article at the WaPo. No reference to it in the prize-winning piece. No indication that 95% of this information was reported years ago. A “reintoduction” to the definition of “rendition,” even though it was made clear in the 2002 article. An omission of the Clinton Administration’s role in renditions for the “updated” 2005 article when it was clearly relevant for context in 2002.
    The point is that these prisons were not “secret” in 2005, since Priests’s reporting beginning on 12-26-2002 “outed” them. Now they have reverted back to “secret prisons?” Why? Because there were too many anti-war lies between now and then to remember to emphasize these prisons? Because it is politically expedient to try to take dishonest and badly sourced (rouge CIA operatives who donate heavily to Democrat candidates and campaigns) cheap shots at the war effort because of barely-veiled partisanship disguised as “breaking news?” Luckily, Riehl has the gall to question the almighty dieties at the WaPo and suggest that their motives and actions may have been less than genuine in this case. It would not be the first time a leading national paper has gotten caught with its pants down playing politics for the Democrats, after all. Let’s not forget who the WaPo oficially backed in the last two presidential elections, as well as the NYT, LAT, etc. Hint – they were Democrats.
    This is not original reporting. This is repackaging and recycling old news, as well as possible criminal publication of classified national security secrets. In addition, muchof the information presented is speculation, guessing, approximation and stale info. Courtesy of several WaPo writers, not just Priest.
    By the way – did the EU find evidence of the rendition centers’ existence, or are we still going by the word of proven liar Mary McCarthy? More speculation as to where they are does not count as evidence of their existence. We’ll wait.

  25. Some day well find it, the yellowcake connection

    Heres something to get your engine started
    CIA officer Mary McCarthy was fired for leaking a possibly trumped-up story about a secret network of CIA-run prisons in Europe. Ms. McCarthy’s pattern of political donations, her Clinton adm…

  26. rwilymz says:

    “As far as rendition under Clinton: transferring prisoners to other countries started under Clinton. Secret CIA prisons did not.”
    Ahhhh. It’s good to know that a US intelligence official with access to TS documents is explaining this to us.
    Unless you *aren’t* someone with access to such information, in which case you have no clue what you’re talking about and are making presumptive statements which fit your political ideologies.
    The CIA [rather, the CIA's forerunner: OSS] had “secret prisons” during WWII, the CIA had them afterward. Did the US suddenly become the first nation with a conscience, and the only nation currently on the planet to not have “secret prisons” under Clinton?
    I don’t know where some people get their impression that wars and the diplomatic efforts to ensure national survival is all a parlor game played according to hoyle, but it’s not and it never has been.

  27. MSM: “Actually, I voted for leaks of classified information before I voted against them”

    Kind of backwards, but you get the idea. At Patterico, Dana Priest insists the Framers of the Constitution gave her, and not the government, the right to decide what information it would keep classified. And, of course, the MSM continues…

  28. m. watkins says:

    An article they published in the outlook section of the wapo back when Quayle was VP about his kids being elitist for going to private school and playing elitist sports (lacrosse, soccer) blah blah blah.
    Well when Gore was VP they had a slobering piece on Gore’s kids on the front page of the style section about gore’s kids being so athletic and playing the exact same “elitist” sports.
    Funny thing is that Gore’s kids always went to private school and Quayle’s kids went to public when he was in the senate and only went to private when he was VP and one of his sons switched back to his public school after a year.
    I didn’t get internet until 1998 and in 199 I thought about those two articles and thought I’d go buy thwm from wapo archives.
    Guess what? Yep they weren’t there and I did exhaustive search too. Several of them over the years.
    I’m sure when they published the Gore piece I wasn’t the only one who remembered the Quayle piece and they got some letters to the editors about it, which I’m sure never got published.
    I don’t know when they put their archives online but I’m sure they made a note not to put those two articles up.
    I wrote about this on lucianne.com back in 1999 and just this past year on Roger Simon’s website.
    Just thought I’d let you know that this is standard practice for them.
    Also remembering just recently someone caught the ny times editing their arcticles after they were archived without be stated that they were altered.

  29. m. watkins says:

    An article they published in the outlook section of the wapo back when Quayle was VP about his kids being elitist for going to private school and playing elitist sports (lacrosse, soccer) blah blah blah.
    Well when Gore was VP they had a slobering piece on Gore’s kids on the front page of the style section about gore’s kids being so athletic and playing the exact same “elitist” sports.
    Funny thing is that Gore’s kids always went to private school and Quayle’s kids went to public when he was in the senate and only went to private when he was VP and one of his sons switched back to his public school after a year.
    I didn’t get internet until 1998 and in 199 I thought about those two articles and thought I’d go buy thwm from wapo archives.
    Guess what? Yep they weren’t there and I did exhaustive search too. Several of them over the years.
    I’m sure when they published the Gore piece I wasn’t the only one who remembered the Quayle piece and they got some letters to the editors about it, which I’m sure never got published.
    I don’t know when they put their archives online but I’m sure they made a note not to put those two articles up.
    I wrote about this on lucianne.com back in 1999 and just this past year on Roger Simon’s website.
    Just thought I’d let you know that this is standard practice for them.
    Also remembering just recently someone caught the ny times editing their arcticles after they were archived without be stated that they were altered.

  30. m. watkins says:

    Sorry about the double post.
    It would be interesting to get the newspaper of the original 2002 article and go through and see how many other articles from that day’s paper isn’t in their archives. My guess is this would be the only article not posted in their archives.
    My brother is friends with the food critic for the wapo (Tom Sietsema) and I asked once if he would see if he had access to their archives and I told him why. Looked at me crossed-eyed. He’s a little to the left of me.
    BTW, the article on gore’s kids was in the Saturday style section in 1996 (I’m pretty sure). Don’t know what year the Quayle one appeared in the Sunday outlook section.

  31. Katherine says:

    Again, it IS IN THEIR ARCHIVES. Working links appear several times above in this thread. However, the owner of this weblog doesn’t have the basic integrity to post corrections when he makes clear errors and they are pointed out to him.

  32. Sue says:

    The reason the articles overlap is that she’s reporting on the same program, and probably assumed people hadn’t memorized her 2002 article.
    Or didn’t remember it.

  33. Sue says:

    Sorry, new poster and didn’t realize the html codes wouldn’t work, or I did them wrong.
    ======================
    Katherine said:
    The reason the articles overlap is that she’s reporting on the same program, and probably assumed people hadn’t memorized her 2002 article.
    ==============================
    My reply: Or didn’t remember it.

  34. This Raises Some Interesting Questions

    It would appear that the 2005 Pulitzer prize winning Dana Priest story on the “secret prisons” was a rework of a 2002 story. Riehl World View: Is The 2005 Priest Story A Fraud? In 2002 the focus was on the…

  35. This Raises Some Interesting Questions

    It would appear that the 2005 Pulitzer prize winning Dana Priest story on the “secret prisons” was a rework of a 2002 story. Riehl World View: Is The 2005 Priest Story A Fraud? In 2002 the focus was on the…

  36. The McCarthy Story Grows

    Curt at Flopping Aces continues to stay right on top of the McCarthy leak story. Read his latest update here. *** Don’t miss Allahpundit’s post here or Dan Riehl’s here.

  37. sf says:

    Here are two indicators that Priest’s 2005 piece on secret prisons was a partisan hit instead of news (the category for which the story won the Pulitzer):
    1. Editors usually *hate* “old news.” It’s considered uninteresting, stale, and reporters rarely get “old news” printed unless there’s are significant new developments to give the story new life and relevance. Did the prison story have such a factor? No.
    2. If a reporter decides to write about a story that first broke a couple of years ago, the later reporter typically mentions the original breaking date, and what’s just happened to make the story relevant now. In this case, did Priest’s 2005 story make any reference to her own story in 2002? If so, perhaps Katherine can find it.

  38. Impotopes says:

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    anything as practical and as perfectly designed to perform effectively under
    such difficult conditions.
    — Laurence J. Peter
    —————————————————————————————————-
    http://xanga.com/jeffreymillspr