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Mike Baker's THE PEOPLE'S WEEKLY BRIEF

Ladies and gentlemen, those of us here at the main office are pleased to announce that the Peoples Weekly Brief (voted America’s favorite column two years running as tallied by the Spenkman-Wanker Polling Institute) is back on line. After a lengthy hiatus, during which I toiled on a book of dubious quality, spent three weeks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon rafting the rapids and several weeks helping Mum adjust to life without Pop, it’s time to switch on the lights, spin the Wheel of Bloviation and send Bobo the talking intern out for more donuts.

To be honest, we were worried that the downtime might have a negative impact on the PWB’s loyal readers. However, we heard from several thousand of you during the past couple months… a clear indication that several thousand of you have too much time on your hands. Thank you for the show of support.

Finally, a big thanks to Buzzy’s 8 Ball Room for hosting the PWB staff party the other night. Several former interns stopped by and it was exciting to see that a couple of them had actually found real jobs. Many tasty beverages were consumed, awards were handed out for past performance and the evening ended badly with the entire lounge singing along to The Curly Shuffle. A nice way to kick off a new season of the PWB.

While walking back to the office after the festivities I started mulling over topics for this week’s column. Health care? Iran? Increased home grown terrorism threats? Kanye West’s recent boorish, cognac fueled MTV breakdown? Little did I know the answer was waiting for me in an unmarked manila envelope shoved under the office door.

I sat down at the desk and removed several sheets of paper from the envelope. They were marked “Classified” and the contents surprised even me. I won’t bother to edit the document:

Classification: Secret-ish
Date: XXXXXX
Location: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Subject: Transcript: Defense Team interview with client Khalid Sheik Mohammed

“Hi Mr. Mohammed, my name is Captain Fenster… can I call you Khalid?”

Khalid sits with his arms folded in front of a small conference table. He stares at the young defense lawyer… “Die scumbag, leave me alone.”

Fenster sits down across from his client…”You can call me Carl.” He takes out a file and lays a stack of 8x10 color photographs on the table. “I’d like you to take a look at these photos and tell me if you recognize anyone.”

“#@%*# off infidel dog.”

Unperturbed, Fenster spreads the photos in front of Khalid… “Well okay then… look, I know this whole situation has been stressful for you, believe me, I’m simply here to help. These are pictures of CIA personnel… I’m just wondering if you’ve seen any of them before. Take your time.”

Khalid glances at the photos briefly then looks around the room… “Are you #%&*$@ serious? Is this some kind of trick?”

“Honestly, no tricks Khalid… the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers tracked down the identities of CIA personnel who worked here at Gitmo, snapped some photos of them and Bob’s your uncle. Sounds crazy huh?”

Leaning closer to the table to stare at the photos… “These are CIA dudes?”

“Yeah, can you imagine?” Fenster offers Khalid an altoid… “So, any of them look familiar?”

“Why the photos? I mean, you know I’m a terrorist, right? Blood on my hands, that sort of thing… what’s this about?”

Fenster leans back. “Look Khalid, the fact that you’ve killed hundreds…”

Khalid interrupts, “… thousands”

“Right, thousands of innocent people, doesn’t give the CIA the right to treat you with disrespect.” Fenster stands up and paces slowly back and forth… “You see Khalid, if we allow our people to shove you up against a wall, pour water up your nose or force you to listen to hours of Russell Brand monologues… are we really any better than terrorists like yourself who kill woman and children without mercy?”

“What?”

Warming up to the subject Fenster continues… “It’s really a moral imperative. Sure, what you do as a terrorist is distasteful, but we compound it when we don’t treat you properly. Do you see what I’m saying?

“No.”

Fenster sits back down at the table and pushes the photos towards Khalid… “C’mon, surely you must recognize a few of these guys.”

Khalid stares at Fenster… “Honestly, all CIA people look the same to me.”

“Would it help if I gave you their names and some information about their families? “ Fenster takes out another file. “Just point to any suspicious ones, I’ll take some notes and we’ll get busy.”

“Get busy?”

“Investigating. And prosecuting. Both really. We’ll teach them to rough up a terrorist.”

Khalid stands up… “Are you #@$* insane? Whose side are you on? We go out and kill people, you catch us and now you’re investigating your own guys?” He turns to leave… “And I thought I was crazy.”

End Transcript #74-A339

Not for Dissemination

So, I told you it was surprising. Now, I realize you may not have heard about this incident, primarily because it received almost no coverage. Let me summarize again what happened;
The ACLU and others, working under something called the John Adams Project, did some admittedly nifty investigative work, identified a number of CIA personnel who had worked at Gitmo, tracked them down and took some photos. They then passed these photos to some of the military defense lawyers building cases for Gitmo detainees, who in turn showed the photos to the terrorists. Obviously, the goal was to have the terrorists finger the CIA personnel who had worked on their interrogations. Seriously.

Now, I don’t have Jimmy Carter’s super X-Ray vision allowing me to see in to men’s souls and determine how they think. But I suspect the ACLU and their cohorts believe firmly that, as defenders of all that is good and virtuous, they are simply protecting the Constitution and our very souls by their actions. What a load of crap.

By the way, does anyone remember the outrage that tumbled forth from the Democrats back when Valerie Plame, CIA WMD specialist and wife of well known Ambassador Joseph Wilson was referred to in the media as a "CIA officer"? My God, shock and horror oozed from the pours of every Democrat capable of finding a television camera.

My how times have changed. Outrage over what the defense lawyers did? Not so much. And it does make you wonder if the ACLU and defense lawyers cooked up this caper all on their own without seeking authorization or approval from anyone in the Attorney General’s office, DoD or elsewhere in the administration. Do you suppose the military lawyers would accept the photos from the John Adams Project and, without checking with anyone, concoct a scheme to show them to the detainees?

As Khalid would say… “Are you #$%*@ serious?”

Til’ next week, stay safe.

As always we look forward hearing your thoughts, comments and suggestions for future columns.

Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector and has recently returned to Diligence LLC, a company he cofounded in 2000, as President. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on counterterrorism, intelligence and homeland security. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.