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December 09, 2007

Jose Rodriguez is Jack Bauer

The Chair of the House Intelligence Committee favorably compared the former head of the National Clandestine Service to the fictional torturer Jack Bauer at a CIA awards ceremony last August. (Text below the fold.)

Rep. Sylvestre Reyes (D-TX) gave Jose Rodriguez, Jr. a flag and called him an American hero.

Now, Rodriguez is back in the news because he's being blamed for destroying hundreds of hours of footage of the CIA torturing suspects. 

Ken Silverstein reports that Rodriguez may also be a) shortlisted for a job with Blackwater, and, b) in business with one of Reyes' brothers.

On Tuesday, 16 August 2007, during the 4th annual "Border Security Conference" in El Paso, Texas, Congressman Silvestre Reyes presented Jose Rodriguez, Director of the National Clandestine Service, with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in recognition of his three decades of dedicated service with the Central Intelligence Agency.  Here is an excerpt:

CHAIRMAN REYES: Thank you very much, General. Before I bring up to the podium a very special guest who is going to wrap up our conference – and I consider him a personal friend, although we’ve been working together a very short six months, but I feel like I’ve really got an opportunity to know, Director Mike McConnell – I thought it would be appropriate to honor an individual. And when we honor this individual, we normally don’t get an opportunity to thank the people that worked so hard on behalf of our national security. By the very nature of their job, they have to stay in the shadows; no one ever knows who they are and nobody ever gets an opportunity to thank them.

We have an individual here that Mike Delaney tells me was the impetus to – I hope all of you are familiar with the TV series “24.” This gentleman that I’m about to thank was really the genesis – with a few liberties that Hollywood takes – the exploits of Jose Rodriguez are documented in the series “24.” So he admitted to me that he likes fast cars. I won’t tell you about the women, but I will tell you about the fast cars. (Laughter.) He is a connoisseur of fine wine. I said, well, in my experience, coming out of Camp Fear was I know the difference between Mogen David and Ripple.

He’s been through El Paso once before, and I consider him an American hero. And we thought we would honor Jose Rodriguez. And by honoring him, we honor the thousands of other employees of the Central Intelligence Agency that we never get to know. And I hope that the message gets back to them that we appreciate their work, that we appreciate their commitment; we appreciate their dedication; we appreciate their professionalism, because they have a difficult job and they do that job day in and day out in some of the most God-forsaken places on earth. I know because I’ve had the honor to visit with them in these different places around the world as a member of the intelligence committee.

So I would just like our good friend and American hero to come up and accept a flag flown in his honor over the nation’s Capitol. Please come up, Jose. And this is a certificate that reads, this flag is presented in honor of your commitment and devotion to the United States of America and your service to our country. It is presented on behalf of all of us here and a grateful nation that will never forget your hard work and your sacrifices. Mr. Jose Rodriguez, Director of National Clandestine Service. Please give him a big round of applause.

(Applause.)

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: When I said yesterday that I was a little nervous because I was dropping trou – I didn’t mean it in the “24” series sense; I meant it in dropping cover. But I am truly honored, Congressman. I don’t know what to say. I am truly honored. And what I will do is I will go back to my service and I will tell the people who work there with me, my colleagues, about this honor that you have given us in front of so many people. Thank you. It’s not often that we get recognized. And to be recognized like this is just very unique. And I thank you so much. Thank you so much. [CIA.gov]

I had serious reservations about Reyes when Pelosi appointed him chair of the intel committee--but I never would have pegged him as a torture-booster.

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Comments

For the last two days I have been thinking to myself that life is imitating a Tom Clancy Novel, which would make Rodriguez the bad guy in Clear and Present Danger.

Laura Ingraham stated on Faux News that the average American's love of the show 24 is a referendum for the use of torture.

Even Clinton claims that torture Jack Bauer-style is A-OK. He astonishingly justifies the act by citing that it works on a fictional television show.

The ticking-time-bomb fantasy/threat is the perfect paranoid insanity of our age. Exactly the same as the "what if there are Commies everywhere?" delusions of my childhood. Beyond sad.

I don't get this at all. A few months ago, I had thought that referring to the ticking time bomb scenario as a plot from 24 was something that liberals did, to deride the scenario. Now I hear conservatives referring positively to Jack Bauer all the time. Are they actually proud of basing repulsive policies on implausible plots from T.V. shows?

I will (with some shame) admit that I enjoy watching 24. But for chistssake, it's fiction. I mean, I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I don't want national policies based on rooting out the vampires disguised as humans who walk among us.

P.S. Dock, there were Commies everywhere back then, just like there are teeming Islamofascist-sympathizers in America today. Don't you listen to David Horowitz?

I don't get this at all. A few months ago, I had thought that referring to the ticking time bomb scenario as a plot from 24 was something that liberals did, to deride the scenario. Now I hear conservatives referring positively to Jack Bauer all the time. Are they actually proud of basing repulsive policies on implausible plots from T.V. shows?

I will (with some shame) admit that I enjoy watching 24. But for chistssake, it's fiction. I mean, I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I don't want national policies based on rooting out the vampires disguised as humans who walk among us.

P.S. Dock, there were Commies everywhere back then, just like there are teeming Islamofascist-sympathizers in America today. Don't you listen to David Horowitz?

Don't feel bad, AH. 24 is like the Bible--you can enjoy it without endorsing it, or dragging it into politics.

I might rent the first season of 24 over the holidays, just to get a sense of what everyone's talking about.

Hey, I enjoy Harry Lime without wanting to peddle tainted penicillin.

LB - 24 is no "The Wire." Btw - you've created a monster. I am now a "The Wire" proselytizer.

Spread the good word MK!

Lindsay, my shame is from watching an entire season of such low-quality nonsense, not from endorsing torture.

One reason I initially liked it was that I accidentally got the second season on DVD, and thought it was the first season. I was impressed that the writers clearly had worked out a whole backstory of character interactions, relationships, and histories, but that they didn't just spell them out for you; instead they let you figure it out bit by bit through different episodes. I got about a third of the way through the season before I realized that the writers were just assuming I had watched the previous season. So, Lindsay, I don't recommend you waste your time watching it, but if you decide to, my recommendation is to get the 2nd season and try to forget that you've gotten the wrong season. :)

24 is basically a damsel in distress, plus a president at peril, plot.

It's not even a scorching saga set against a turbulent backdrop.

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