At the CIA, Accidentally Kidnapping and Torturing an Innocent Guy Earns You a Promotion

The Associated Press' Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo have a breathtaking-but-sadly-unsurprising story detailing the CIA's habit of promoting the very people responsible for the Agency's most spectacular fuck-ups. The analyst responsible for illegally abducting, drugging, sodomizing, and beating a completely innocent man because she thought he was someone else? She's running the hunt for bin Laden now. The guy who let a prisoner freeze to death in Afghanistan? He oversees spying operations in the Middle East.

It should come as no surprise that a secret organization with no accountability promotes incompetents—but the CIA is actively encouraging the careers of the most aggressively error-prone employees it has:

In the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, officers who committed serious mistakes that left people wrongly imprisoned or even dead have received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all, an Associated Press investigation has revealed. The botched el-Masri case is but one example of a CIA accountability process that even some within the agency say is unpredictable and inconsistent.

So "Frances," the analyst who insisted that el-Masri be abducted in 2003—Frances is her middle name; the AP agreed at the CIA's urging not to use the last names of any CIA agents in the story—was singled out by an inspector general report which found that there was "no legal justification" for el-Masri's rendition. And "even before the el-Masri case, station chiefs had complained to top CIA officials raising concerns about Frances' operational judgment."

The decision about whether to punish Frances for causing a man to be illegally kidnapped, sodomized, and tortured by the CIA fell to the agency's director, Michael Hayden. What did he do? "Hayden told colleagues that he gave Frances a pass because he didn't want to deter initiative within the counterterrorism ranks," the AP says. And if there's one thing the CIA needs, it's the initiative to just kidnap whoever the fuck we want for no good reason, irrespective of whether or not they've done anything wrong.

[AP. Photo via Getty Images.]