In discussion with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, Malcolm Nance called out Senator Cotton (R-Ark) for his comments on “making excuses” for terrorists.
Mr. Nance reminds us that the torture program was reverse engineered the U.S. S.E.R.E. program was built on the blood Of service members and that this aids the enemy’s goals.
HAYES: Joining me now, counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance, author
of “An End to al Qaeda.”
Malcolm, great to have you. I`ve been following you for a long time.
I`m really glad to have you on the show.
MALCOLM NANCE, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: My pleasure.
HAYES: What do you think — I thought that his point, John`s point
about prosecution — I mean, what do you think, first of all, to start
this off, about the fact that he`s the only guy who`s seen the inside of a
jail cell for this entire program and what he did was talk to a reporter
NANCE: well, within the intelligence community, you`re always going
to have a dim view of people who disclose highly classified information.
Unfortunately, when you`re dealing with clandestine agencies like the CIA,
naming someone in their true name is a federal felony.
He has copped to that. He admits to all of that. And he`s served his
time for that now.
But the very fact that he is the only person who has been brought to
account for activities which, certainly coming from my perspective in the
world, you know, I stand for the honor of the program that actually was
brought out, that`s the survival, evasion, resistance, and escape program,
which was brought out, drawn
from the blood of tortured American service members, and which was re-
engineered into this program, which he described earlier. It`s almost
HAYES: Do you think he`s hated, Kiriakou? I mean, I get the sense
that he is persona non grata inside the CIA.
Well, he`s a convicted felon. And that`s all you can say. But the
activities as he presented them the first time were almost within
whistleblower protections. Again, he divulged that classified information,
and that`s what he`s been held to account for.
But the broad program of individuals who literally decided that these
activities, which the world has seen forever as torture, which we
prosecuted people for in World War II, was good enough for us to use. That
in itself is a crime. I mean, it`s certainly enough to besmirch the entire
honor of the United States.
But that — people should be held to account for that.
HAYES: What do you think the legacy of that period has been for
counterterrorism and intelligence now? Have things gotten better? Is
there some sort of internal repudiation that`s happened, or is it
basically, that was a bad chapter and if we have another attack and someone
sends the order down from OIC again, we`ll go back at it?
NANCE: Well, let`s just look at this on a day-to-day basis. Look at
today. We have ISIS and a large-scale al Qaeda affiliate that is now
taking over terrain in various parts of the Middle East, fulfilling bin
Laden Jihad, executing people wearing the orange jumpsuits of prisoners
that were sent to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
The entire last 13 years that I`ve been operating throughout the
Middle East — I just came back from seven years in the Middle East, every
person has brought up Abu Ghraib, torture, waterboarding, and all of these
atrocities, these activities which were carried out by U.S. personnel and
U.S. government agencies.
This is not the standard that we needed to defeat these enemies. We
cannot allow a moral equivalency with our — with the opposition.
HAYES: It`s fascinating, you say that, of pointing out those orange
jumpsuits, which has become now so iconic in the snuff films that ISIS
Respond to someone like Tom Cotton, senator and veteran who says,
that`s making excuses for evil, making excuses for the enemies. They don`t
need an excuse. How dare you bring that up.
VANCE: Well, you know, Tom Cotton, of all people should know better.
He was a service member. He swore an oath to uphold and protect the United
not just to protect the citizens of the United States. We have a 200-plus-
year history of serving with honor.
And if honor and the dignity of the United States and when the United
States armed forces goes into war or our intelligence agencies go into
operations and we can`t do it cleanly, then, you know, you`re not actually
working for our goals, you`re working for our enemies` goals.
We can not empower ISIS. We cannot empower al Qaeda. We cannot
empower Boko Haram to go out and do what they believe we`ve done.
HAYES: Malcolm Nance, really a pleasure. Thank you, sir.