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The Progressive

Shame on Holder and Panetta for Not Going after CIA Destruction of Torture Evidence

If you’ve been a cynic all along, you win again.

I’m referring to the decision this week by the Justice Department not to go after a senior official of the CIA who ordered the destruction of dozens of videotapes of the torture of terrorism suspects.

Remember, this wasn’t a low-level operative of the CIA going off on some rogue mission.

This was the guy who, at the time, was head of the agency’s clandestine service. His name is Jose Rodriguez, and he ordered his staff to destroy the visual evidence, which included a taping of a detainee being waterboarded.

Rodriguez’s lawyer calls him “a hero and a patriot.” I call him a criminal and a creep.

And the Justice Department a bunch of cowards. Attorney General Eric Holder should be ashamed of himself.

At his confirmation hearings, he told Senator Patrick Leahy:

"If you look at the history of the use of that technique used by the Khmer Rouge, used in the inquisition, used by the Japanese and prosecuted by us as war crimes, we prosecuted our own soldiers in Vietnam, I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, waterboarding is torture.” He added: “No one is above the law," said Holder.

But that was then.

Leon Panetta, another “good Democrat,” who is the director of the CIA, should also be ashamed of himself. He says he’s “pleased with the decision.”

But how can you be pleased with the decision if you believe that we live in a democracy where the rule of law is applied equally?

Obviously, we don’t live in such a democracy.

You can torture someone and you can willfully destroy evidence, and you can get away with it, so long as you’re in the Executive Branch.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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