Charles P. Pierce / Esquire Magazine – 2014-04-15 01:36:44
(April 11, 2014) — We finally have been favored with the most inevitable leak in the history of the republic. Somebody’s sent the Senate committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program, and its description of what was done in our name, out into the world. This will light a fire under some asses in the Executive branch, I’m thinking. It ought to get people thrown in jail.
Some of the report’s other conclusions, which were obtained by McClatchy, include: the CIA used interrogation methods that weren’t approved by the Justice Department or CIA headquarters; the agency impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making regarding the program; the CIA actively evaded or impeded congressional oversight of the program; the agency hindered oversight of the program by its own Inspector General’s Office.
It is further evidence that nothing said by the heroes of our all-too-human, but curiously error-prone surveillance state about their activities can be trusted. Nothing. Ever. They lie for a living because their mission is a messianic one.
They are contemptuous of democratic institutions, democratic norms, and any democratic spirit abroad in the people who pay their salaries and in whose name they carried out their crimes. If that skepticism is the most lasting result, that will be a good thing.
The investigation determined that the program produced very little intelligence of value and that the CIA misled the Bush White House, the Congress and the public about the effectiveness of the interrogation techniques, committee members have said.
The techniques included waterboarding, which produces a sensation of drowning, stress positions, sleep deprivation for up to 11 days at a time, confinement in a cramped box, slaps and slamming detainees into walls. The CIA held detainees in secret “black site” prisons overseas and abducted others who it turned over to foreign governments for interrogation.
There is no question that these are crimes. There is no question that there are crimes that grew from the crimes. There is a severe test for the rule of law here, just as there was after the Bay of Pigs, and after the Church Committee hearings. Of course, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who had a couple of weeks in which she didn’t seem to be entirely in the tank for the spooks, knows where the real problem with the leak lies.
Asked to comment on the findings, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said: “Given the report remains classified, we are unable to comment. As we have stated previously, the CIA, in consultation with other agencies, will carry out an expeditious classification review of those portions of the final SSCI report submitted to the executive branch for review.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein also declined to comment except to say: “If someone distributed any part of this classified report, they broke the law and should be prosecuted.”
This is the debate that started with Edward Snowden, International Man Of Luggage. It’s far beyond him now. What is more important — for the government to keep its secrets or for the people to know what they need to know to govern themselves, and, about what was done in their name, and who makes the decision about where the “balance” lies. It cannot lie with the people who committed the crimes, not in this democracy.
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