The oldest bottle in his friend’s restaurant? an 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Years ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a bet with a restaurateur around his CIA-led mission to find Osama Bin Laden: If Panetta’s team caught Bin Laden, Ted Balestreri would open up a bottle of wine that predates the first automobile. Now that time’s come. With Bin Laden dead, Balestreri will uncork that 141-year-old bottle around New Year’s Eve. Did we mention the bottle costs between $10,000 and $15,000? Careful to walk a line, though, one of Panetta’s spokespeople notes that this gesture isn’t meant to celebrate Bin Laden’s death. “Secretary Panetta has had New Year’s Eve gatherings with toasts with friends for years and this year there will be a special toast,” noted Douglas Wilson, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. source
MI6 and the CIA knew absolutely how much torture was taking place. They knew that these people would be abused in custody when they were sent back to Libya. Why else would you hand them over to the Libyans? You captured him, you have all of your black sites anyway, but you offered him to the Libyans. Of course the [CIA] letters say, ‘Please commit to us that you will respect their human rights.’ But that’s just talk.Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch • Speaking on the trove of documents he himself copied in Tripoli and released to various media. They show that following Gaddafi’s 2003 vow to give up his weapons of mass destruction, the CIA and MI6 both engaged in renditions to send political opponents of Gaddafi’s regime into Libya, presumably knowing the sort of inhumane treatment and torture would await them. One example: A current commander of rebel forces in Tripoli, Abdulhakim Belhadj, was rendered into Libya by the CIA, where he claims he was isolated and tortured. (h/t ZeitVox) source (via • follow)
airzona asks: Thoughts on the New York Observer article that almost outs the CIA operative that hunted Bin Laden down?
» SFB says: The NY Observer wasn’t in the wrong for printing it, though you need to approach these types of things with kid gloves (do you think they did?); the CIA was in the wrong for not being careful enough to make sure his identity was hidden. — Ernie @ SFB
» The big shuffle continues: With Robert Gates’ retirement, and Leon Panetta imminently poised to become the new Secretary of Defense, the Senate has voted to confirm General David Petaeus to take Panetta’s old job. Petraeus had been serving as the Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but will be departing to become the number one man of the government agency we all think of when we think about high-level secrecy. Of note in this confirmation — ninety-four to nothing! Even in a thoroughly divided Washington, it’s clear Petraeus is still one of the most politically popular people to stand in support of, no matter the political party.
‘What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?’ … Does he drink? What are his views? Is he married?Bush-era CIA official David Low (reportedly) • Discussing with Glenn L. Carle, another top official in the CIA at that time, what they should do about Bush-needling professor Juan Cole, whose Informed Comment blog repeatedly criticized the Bush administration’s foreign policy. Cole posted about the matter on his blog today, kind of shocked about what came out. But he admits that he could be only the tip of the iceberg. “What alarms me most of all in the nakedly illegal deployment of the CIA against an academic for the explicit purpose of destroying his reputation for political purposes,” he says, “is that I know I am a relatively small fish and it seems to me rather likely that I was not the only target of the baleful team at the White House.” source (via • follow)
The Central Intelligence Agency’s practice of shredding and burning classified papers—often referred to in movies and books as “burn after reading”—is one of several ways the CIA conserves energy, reduces its impact on the environment, and lowers costs through its sustainability efforts.The CIA • In an Earth Day posting to their website. The fact that the CIA actually said this is much funnier than any joke we could hope to make, so we’ll just let it stand. source (via • follow)