The willingness to commit crimes against humanity guaranteed that the men who committed the worst crime against Americans will never be fully, legally punished.

by John Kiriakou, LA Progressive

When I joined the C.I.A. in January 1990, I did it to serve my country and to see the world. I believed at the time that we were the “good guys.” I believed that the United States was a force for good around the world. I wanted to put my degrees—in Middle Eastern studies/Islamic theology and legislative affairs/policy analysis—to good use.

Seven years after joining the C.I.A., I made a move to counterterrorism operations to stave off boredom. I still believed we were the good guys, and I wanted to help keep Americans safe. My whole world, like the worlds of all Americans, changed dramatically and permanently on September 11th, 2001. Within months of the attacks, I found myself heading to Pakistan as the chief of C.I.A. counterterrorism operations in Pakistan.

Guantanamo bay torture protest

Almost immediately, my team began capturing Al-Qaeda fighters at safehouses all around Pakistan. In late March 2002, we hit the jackpot with the capture of Abu Zubaydah and dozens of other fighters, including two who commanded Al-Qaeda’s training camps in southern Afghanistan.

By the end of the month, my Pakistani colleagues told me that the local jail, where we were temporarily holding the men we had captured, was full. They had to be moved somewhere. I called the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center and said that the Pakistanis wanted our prisoners out of their jail. Where should I send them?

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