Former president George W. Bush was known for sticking his foot in his mouth. His penchant for malapropisms like “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” or once stating that he wouldn’t answer questions from reporters “neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican” was a recurring part of his presidency.
Bush’s tendency to speak before he thought was certainly fodder for late-night comedians; but, according to a revelation contained in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture, Bush himself viewed his propensity for word vomit as a potential threat to national security.
The report—the release of which was delayed for two years due to CIA objections—recounted a presentation about the agency’s activities given to officials of a foreign country, whose name has been redacted due to security concerns by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
While the Senate report noted that that presentation has “many of the same inaccurate representations [the CIA also] made to U.S. policymakers,” it also contained a fascinating tidbit of info about the relationship between President Bush and the shadowy network of CIA-operated “black site” prisons across the globe where detainees were reportedly subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The presentation also noted that the president of the United States had directed that he not be informed of the locations of the CIA detention facilities to ensure he would not accidentally disclose the information.
Since the most powerful man in the free world didn’t trust himself not to blab, he reportedly decided it would be better if he didn’t know where representatives of the U.S. government were force-feeding detainees through their rectums, threatening to rape and murder detainees’ mothers, and forcing them to stand in stress positions for hours on broken legs.
Also, the report notes, not only did the CIA never brief the president about the activities going on in the prisons for a whole six years after they commenced, but also lied to basically anyone who would listen about how the enhanced interrogation program produced actionable intelligence when it rarely did any such thing.
If Armitage sounds familiar, it’s likely because he was the Bush Administration official who admitted to leaking the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame to journalist Robert Novak. Armitage outed her in an attempt to discredit her husband Joe Wilson, a vocal critic of the ultimately fraudulent intelligence the administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Photo via Executive Office of the President of the United States/Wikimedia Commons