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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Very interesting article with very interesting sourcing in the New York Times by

Mazzetti and Shane report that top lawyers in the White House were involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of the interrogations of Abu Zubaida and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. There is a fierce controversy over what they said.

Almost all sources demanded anonymity. It is clear that, in this case, it was reasonable to grant it as some are honest whistle blowers (others are being dishonest or at least evasive but no way to know who yet).

It does make it hard to keep the anonymous sources straight. One of the anonymous sources does stand out as he or she makes a strong claim.

One former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said there had been “vigorous sentiment” among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes.

[big snip]

The current and former officials also provided new details about the role played in November 2005 by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the chief of the agency’s clandestine branch, who ultimately ordered the destruction of the tapes.

I would have liked some "offical A" "official B" to help me keep track (and not just to remind me of people about to be indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald).

I also seriously wish that reporters would at least tell who an anonymous source isn't. In particular, I would really like to be reassured that "One former senior intelligence official" isn't named "Jose A. Rodriguez Jr" so I would have liked to read "One former senior intelligence official who is not Jose A. Rodriguez Jr" if it could have been written honestly. Sad to say, I am fairly sure it couldn't be, that is the bombshell accusation is coming from Rodriguez who is trying to blame others for his possible obstruction of justice.

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