If you’ve watched enough television, you know who I mean. In all those old historical movies, he’s the big guy with a bare chest and black hood who swings the axe that lops off the usurpers head. Sometimes he’s the hangman. Other times he’s down in the dungeon, working the wrack or the thumbscrews, surrounded by emaciated prisoners with long white beards hanging on meat hooks.
The good guys in the black hoods, serving of the king; don’t get too close.
Then there were the good guys in pointed white hoods and flowing white capes, members of that famous secret society that took the law into their own hands and lynched uppity niggers by the score.
You could never identify these guys, but you knew who they were. They lived next door. They owned the bakery. They ran law offices and held public office.
Black hood, white hood, it’s the same guy.
At the Salem witch trials he dunked uppity white women in the lake till they confessed, ratted out their evil-doer sisters, or drowned.
Waterboarding enemy combatants or dunking girls, it’s all the same to him. You know the type of guy it takes to do this stuff. The kind off guy who knows that God is on his side and that he will be forgiven his sins.
An Inquisition kind of guy.
A CIA interrogator.
This is the strange thing about the God-fearing, righteous, all-American CIA officer. He is doing good, but he’s afraid to show his face. And it’s not like his job is any more dangerous than, say, a cop or district attorney who investigates the Mafia in Springfield, Massachusetts and actually lives in Springfield, Massachusetts. How come those guys don’t get the black hoods? Their enemy lives next door, not locked up in high-tech dungeon in Cuba or Pakistan or on some Navy ship floating off the coast of Madagascar.
There has to be some other reason for the CIA officer’s need for secrecy, something more akin to what went on in those old movies, where people were tortured into confessing to crimes they never committed or executed for their political beliefs.
Maybe US Attorney John Durham down on Connecticut will succeed in ripping the mask off the CIA interrogators. Maybe if we get a look at their faces, we’ll understand what the CIA is all about.
Maybe we already know.
DOUGLAS VALENTINE is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY. His fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1968, which received the Choice Academic Excellence Award and is being published in Russia. The sequel, The Strength of the Pack, is being published by University Press of Kansas in 2008. For information about Mr. Valentine, and his books and articles, please visit his web sites at www.DouglasValentine.com and http://members.authorsguild.net/valentine