EIGHTY-NINE QUESTIONS: WHAT DID LIBYA DO FOR THE C.I.A.?
How many more ways can evidence of America’s rendition and torture practices come to light? Earlier this week, it was thanks to a dispute over who would pay for muffins, airphone calls, and a plane to fly prisoners to secret prisons. Now, it’s with papers in a binder marked “C.I.A.” found in one of Qaddafi’s offices in Tripoli. (Jon Lee Anderson is there for The New Yorker.) What next—an Eastern European military officer’s divorce trial, an election campaign in Asia, an iPhone prototype left in a bar? (That’s another story.) A program that involved hiding people from our country’s laws and courts, and outsourcing their interrogation to willing torturers—including, according to the documents, Qaddafi—left traces scattered around the world, waiting to be stumbled upon. A way they haven’t been cataloged, though, is the way they should have been: through a true reckoning by our own government. Instead, President Obama decided, in effect, that what was done was done. But it isn’t.
The “C.I.A.” binder was accompanied by two marked “MI-6,” and the office they were in belonged to a man the Times described as “Libya’s former spymaster.” The paper also noted that, in the circumstances, their authenticity was hard to verify. (The C.I.A.’s response was not exactly a denial: “It can’t come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats.”) Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, sat down and read through the binders. There were talking points for Qaddafi, logistical details for flights, and what seems to have been the bartering of Qaddafi’s opponents, some of whom had ties to Islamist groups, for his cooperation. One of them is now a rebel leader.
All in all, there were “thousands of pieces of correspondence from US and UK officials…”