Oversight or Witch Hunt: The Feinstein CIA ‘Report’
Aren’t you skeptical about the motives of Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller and others in the Democrat Party over the release of the Senate Intelligence Report on CIA detentions and interrogations? Would it be beyond reason to suspect these Democrats of political motives? In the wake of the Democrat massacre Nov. 4, is it unreasonable to suspect the Democrats of seizing on a conversation changer?
After all, this matter was extensively debated just a few years ago. The Obama administration decided to immunize the CIA from prosecution. Congressional leaders including Feinstein, Rockefeller and Pelosi were fully briefed from the beginning. The program was halted in 2007, before Obama took office.
Feinstein summarized the 6,000 page report by addressing the Senate on Dec. 9. She accused the CIA of misleading the Congress and the White House. She claimed interrogations amounted to torture, resulting in two deaths, yielding little if any actionable intelligence.
There are plenty of people lining up to say the Feinstein report lacks intelligence, including Obama’s CIA director. Sources in this Washington Post report say the investigation was biased, it took on a highly partisan tone, and that investigators failed to consult anyone in the CIA to get the proverbial ‘other side of the story.’
Ironically, it was former CIA director Michael Hayden who supplied the Feinstein oversight committee with volumes of CIA cables as requested, initiating meetings to brief Congress back in 2006. He said of the report released by Feinstein on Dec. 9:
“This was her taking a five-year look at 6 million documents costing you $40 million with an army of contractors, and finding data points that support … a preordained conclusion that the program was wrong in concept, wrong in management and wrong in that it was not successful in gaining information. Everyone needs to wait and make a fair judgment after the CIA rebuttal to this report comes out, and let me emphasize the Barack Obama’s CIA’s rebuttal to this report, as well as the minority report from the Republicans on the committee.”
President Bush and Vice President Cheney have issued statements fully supporting the CIA, the Justice Department’s legal opinions in support of detention and interrogation methods, and the results derived from those methods. The CIA attorney at the center of deliberations has also publicly stated the practices were entirely legal, that accusations of torture do not fit the standards defined in law.
But whether or not these practices were illegal or immoral in the public mind, the question remains: is the release of this formerly classified document an act of public service, or a dagger plunged by the Legislative Branch in the back of the former Executive Branch and its intelligence services? Further, does the release of this report help Obama in any way?
It is important to keep in mind Obama moved to provide the CIA with immunity in 2009, saying: “Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past … we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.” But prior to granting immunity, Obama had expressed an interest in prosecuting the CIA. Now, he supports the release of the Feinstein report saying the CIA tortured people, but he doesn’t want to answer questions about the legality of the program, the charges of CIA malfeasance, or the claim the interrogations did no good but much harm. Such behavior is typical of a President who is frequently found playing all sides against the middle.
Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan says the interrogations did yield actionable intelligence that greatly enhanced the agency’s ability to protect the homeland. He also took issue with the allegation the CIA mislead Congress:
“Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day. We also disagree with the Study’s characterization of how CIA briefed the program to the Congress, various entities within the Executive Branch, and the public. While we made mistakes, the record does not support the Study’s inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program.”
It is difficult to see how Obama benefits from the re-opening of this wound. He is made to look even more incompetent, triple-minded, and weak as a leader. However, Democrats certainly benefit by distancing themselves from Obama, and posturing as the party of morality and accountability.
If that is the Democrat calculation, it is likely one that will blow up in their faces. The public mood is less interested in CIA alleged excesses in a new era more lethal than the immediate post-911 period when self-defense was more important than political correctness.
And if the release of this report cripples the CIA such that another mass casualty attack is made possible, Democrats will face enhanced interrogations conducted by the American People.
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