[IP] Summarized -- WashPost: Bush's Massive and Secret CIA "GST"

David Farber dave at farber.net
Fri Dec 30 04:24:48 PST 2005

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The effort President Bush authorized shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to
fight al Qaeda has grown into the largest CIA covert action program
since the height of the Cold War, expanding in size and ambition
despite a growing outcry at home and abroad over its clandestine
tactics, according to former and current intelligence officials and
congressional and administration sources.

...GST includes programs allowing the CIA to capture al Qaeda
suspects with help from foreign intelligence services, to maintain
secret prisons abroad, to use interrogation techniques that some
lawyers say violate international treaties, and to maintain a fleet
of aircraft to move detainees around the globe.

...Over the past two years, as aspects of this umbrella effort have
burst into public view, the revelations have prompted protests and
official investigations in countries that work with the United
States, as well as condemnation by international human rights
activists and criticism by members of Congress.

...The administration's decisions to rely on a small circle of
lawyers for legal interpretations that justify the CIA's covert
programs and not to consult widely with Congress on them have also
helped insulate the efforts from the growing furor, said several
sources who have been involved.

...That program is separate from the GST program, but three lawyers
involved said the legal rationale for the NSA program is essentially
the same one used to support GST, which is an abbreviation of a
classified code name for the umbrella covert action program.

The administration contends it is still acting in self-defense after
the Sept. 11 attacks, that the battlefield is worldwide, and that
everything it has approved is consistent with the demands made by
Congress on Sept. 14, 2001, when it passed a resolution authorizing
"all necessary and appropriate force against those nations,
organizations, or persons [the president] determines planned,
authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks."

...After a CIA inspector general's report in the spring of 2004
stated that some authorized interrogation techniques violated
international law, Goss asked two national security experts to study
the program's effectiveness.

...But two intelligence experts said the CIA will be required to draw
up clear guidelines and to get all special interrogation techniques
approved by a wider range of government lawyers who hold a more
conventional interpretation of international treaty obligations.

...The top-secret presidential finding Bush signed six days after the
Sept. 11 attacks empowered the intelligence agencies in a way not
seen since World War II, and it ordered them to create what would
become the GST program.

...With billions of dollars appropriated each year by Congress, the
CIA has established joint counterterrorism intelligence centers in
more than two dozen countries, and it has enlisted at least eight
countries, including several in Eastern Europe, to allow secret
prisons on their soil.

Working behind the scenes, the CIA has gained approval from foreign
governments to whisk terrorism suspects off the streets or out of
police custody into a clandestine prison system that includes the
CIA's black sites and facilities run by intelligence agencies in
other countries.

...In four years, the GST has become larger than the CIA's covert
action programs in Afghanistan and Central America in the 1980s,
according to current and former intelligence officials.

...When the CIA wanted new rules for interrogating important
terrorism suspects the White House gave the task to a small group of
lawyers within the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel who
believed in an aggressive interpretation of presidential power.

..."The Bush administration did not seek a broad debate on whether
commander-in-chief powers can trump international conventions and
domestic statutes in our struggle against terrorism," said Radsan,
the former CIA lawyer, who is a professor at William Mitchell College
of Law in St.

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