CIA Archives -

Biden Advisor an “Apologist for Torture,” an Architect of “Kill Lists”


JEFFREY KAYE, jeffkaye at, @jeff_kaye
Author of Cover-up at GuantanamoKaye said today: “According to former Obama senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, putative Democratic Party candidate for president Joe Biden picked a ‘superstar‘ when he appointed ex-CIA Deputy Director and White House attorney Avril Haines to head his national security and foreign policy team.

“No matter how much Obama/Biden administration officials praise her, Avril Haines’ role always seems to be making the unpalatable palatable, whether it’s prettifying companies like [data mining] contractor Palantir, agencies like the CIA, policies like ‘targeted killing,’ or war criminals like current CIA chief, ‘Bloody’ Gina Haspel.

“During Haspel’s contentious Senate confirmation, the Trump administration turned to Haines to legitimate Haspel, whose crimes included helping destroy CIA torture tapes, as well as participating in an unspecified management role at more than one CIA black site. Haines called Haspel ‘intelligent, compassionate, and fair.’ But that wasn’t all that Avril Haines has done for the CIA. She also participated in an ‘accountability board’ inquiry into CIA interference in the Senate investigation of CIA torture. She, of course, found no wrong-doing by the CIA.

“Haines claims to find torture immoral, yet she supports known torture official Haspel. Additionally, she was a White House lawyer when the UN Committee on Torture condemned the Obama-supported Army Field Manual on interrogations for using methods of interrogation, including sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation, that can cause psychotic reactions in prisoners, raising serious concerns of U.S. current use of torture. Did Haines agree with the Obama administration’s decision to defend the condemned techniques?

“We don’t know, as many questions haven’t been asked in the rush to anoint her a ‘superstar’ appointment. One anonymous progressive leader told The Daily Beast, ‘Being where any decent person should be on a few issues doesn’t cancel out an endorsement of torturers.’ It is sad that in 2020 ‘the leader of a progressive nonprofit that works on national security issues’ would fear ‘professional reprisal’ for daring to criticize Biden’s choice!

“The problems with Haines don’t stop with her shady connections to torture. It’s known that Avril Haines was Obama’s CIA deputy director. But most of the public doesn’t know she was also Obama’s direct advisor in constructing his targeted assassination ‘Kill List’ policy.

“Haines supposedly made Obama’s drone assassination program more transparent and less liable to kill innocents. But a 2016 ACLU examination of the policy Haines helped construct concluded it fell ‘far short of the standards for transparency and accountability needed to ensure that the government’s targeted killing program is lawful under domestic and international law.’ In particular, the Haines-influenced policy relied on ‘looser, law-of-war standards that govern conduct in war, rather than the more protective rules that apply under international human rights law.’

“Avril Haines is presented as a humane, intelligent and compassionate alternative to the typical white male elite that run the CIA and other such agencies. But her record is clear. She is an apologist for torture operations. She helped create kill lists for the CIA and U.S. Special Forces. She is not an alternative to the barbarism of the Trump administration, but a dire predictor of Biden’s obeisance as president to an out-of-control national security establishment.”

Inconvenient Facts: U.S. Killed Russians in Syria and Afghanistan


ABC reports Thursday: “Top intel officials brief Pelosi, congressional leaders on reported Russian bounty on U.S. troops.”

The Daily Beast reported in 2018: “Report: U.S. Forces Killed More Than 200 Russian Fighters in Syria Attack.”

Excerpts from Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA [PDF is here], a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Tim Weiner:

The CIA’s biggest gun running mission was its global pipeline to the mujahideen, the holy warriors of Afghanistan, who were fighting the 110,000-man Soviet army of occupation. It began under Jimmy Carter in January 1980. Because it was Carter’s idea, Casey did not embrace it wholeheartedly—not at first. But soon he saw the opportunity at hand. “I was the first chief of station ever sent abroad with this wonderful order: ‘Go kill Soviet soldiers,’ ” said Howard Hart, who arrived as the chief in Pakistan in 1981. “Imagine! I loved it.” It was a noble goal. But the mission was not to liberate Afghanistan. No one believed that the Afghans could actually win. From the start, the Saudis matched the CIA’s support for the rebels, dollar for dollar. The Chinese kicked in millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, as did the Egyptians and the British. The CIA coordinated the shipments. Hart handed them over to Pakistani intelligence. …

The Soviets were trying to build a natural-gas pipeline from Siberia into Eastern Europe. They needed computers to control its pressure gauges and valves. They sought the software on the open market in the United States. Washington rejected the request but subtly pointed to a certain Canadian company that might have what Moscow wanted. The Soviets sent a Line X officer to steal the software. The CIA and the Canadians conspired to let them have it. For a few months, the software ran swimmingly. Then it slowly sent the pressure in the pipeline soaring. The explosion in the wilds of Siberia cost Moscow millions it could ill afford to spare. The silent attack on Soviet military and state engineering programs went on for a year. …

The CIA’s Afghan operation was now a $700-million-a-year program. It represented about 80 percent of the overseas budget of the clandestine service. Armed with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, the Afghan rebels were killing Soviet soldiers, downing Soviet helicopter gunships, and inflicting deep wounds on the Soviet self-image. The CIA had done what it set out to do: to give the Soviets their Vietnam. “One by one we killed them,” said Howard Hart, who had run the mission to arm the Afghans from 1981 to 1984. “And they went home. And that was a terrorist campaign.”

MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh at
Hoh resigned in protest from his State Department position in Afghanistan in 2009 over the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama administration; he also served in Iraq with the Marines. On Monday, he was featured on an news release: “Is Big Media Echoing Accusations to Demonize Russia and Continue Afghan War?