Early this afternoon Philip Mudd withdrew from consideration as DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis.
Yesterday the Associated Press reported that a Senate aide had raised the possibility of Mr. Mudd being associated with “enhanced” interrogation techniques used during the last administration.
Late this afternoon the Associated Press reports, “At issue was the extent of Mudd’s involvement in the interrogation program while he was a senior CIA official in the Bush administration. The interrogation methods have been criticized by Democratic lawmakers and Obama… As deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA, Mudd had direct knowledge of the agency’s harsh interrogation program, according to a congressional aide, who was not authorized to disclose the information and spoke on condition of anonymity.”
In recent years, Mr. Mudd has held a senior position with the National Security Branch at the FBI. Before that he served with the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Intelligence Council, and the National Security Council. I do not know him.
Mr. Mudd may have — probably did — know of the harsh techniques being applied at Guantanamo and elsewhere. So did I. So did all of us who were paying attention. Perhaps — certainly — Mr. Mudd knew of the techniques earlier than most of us.
While brooding over what I knew, I was mostly quiet. And in this silence and delay I am no less complicit than he, and barely less than the torturers. So where does that leave me — and you — on this late Spring day? What should we resign? How might we forsake redemption?
Mr. Mudd’s vita notes he has a Master of Arts in English Literature. He is especially fond of Victorian fiction. I do not share his taste. But here is a poem of the period that may capture our present paradox.
When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I’ll not play hypocrite
To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?
O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu
Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,
That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here does house
He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
He comes to brood and sit.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Related Saturday morning reports:
The Cable (Foreign Policy)
Monday morning reports:
On Monday morning the withdrawal is also featured in a few regional papers. But a Friday afternoon story has to have significant legs to make it into the next week. While the Mudd resignation itself may not, the larger story clearly will, as underlined by this Sunday New York Times front-page story: US Lawyers Agreed on Legality of Brutal Tactic.
Pat Longstaff offers an especially helpful comment on the issue. Access immediately below.