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December 09, 2014

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we must do this because the enemy is a foul, inhuman cult that has no respect for life and will stop at nothing to achieve its goal of dominating the world.

AMIRITE!?!?!?!?

Well, it is abundantly clear (from just the little I have had time to read so far) why the CIA fought so hard to keep this from being made public. And it had absolutely nothing to do with risks to our regular intelligence operations or concerns about damage to our relations with other countries. It had everything to do with just how bad this makes them look. "Ineffective", "incompetentlt managed", and "dishonest with their lawful oversight bodies" (including the National Security Council, the Congressional Oversight committees, and the CIA's own Inspector General) are the first three phrases that leap to mind.

If you have nime for nothing else, just read thru the first 17 pages and 20 findings.

So, we know that people working for foreign governments helped out with this program, and that doing so was certainly a violation of their governments' official laws. Now that this is out, some of those people may get prosecuted by their governments. If those people fled to the US and asked for asylum, claiming they were being politically persecuted, what would the US do?

I mean, the US government's claim is that no one did anything wrong, and that's why there have been no and there will be no prosecutions.

Of course, they'd probably just ignore those guys and deport them back to their country, but it is fun to think through unlikely cases in which the US government is forced to confront, in some small way, their own barbarity.

There would seem to be serious questions about what should be done as a result of this report.

Not having seen the full report (and not being a lawyer), I don't know what prosecutions may be possible. But a few things are clear:

-- those (in the CIA or elsewhere) who managed the Detention and Interrogation Program should be fired. Not "asked to resign", fired.

-- any CIA personnel who were involved in actually running the program should likewise be fired. (see next bullet on the outsourcing of the program)

-- the two outside psychologists who invented the torture program, and the company they founded (to which the program was subsequently outsourced), should be sued by the government for fraud. As individuals and the company both. Complete with massive punitive damages.

More may come to mind as we have time to absorb what it here. But those three stand out as no-brainers.

There are also references to other procedures, including the use of tubes to administer “rectal rehydration” and feeding. CIA documents describe a case in which a prisoner’s lunch tray “consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raising was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.” At least five CIA detainees were subjected to “rectal rehydration” or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity

This is what happens when the CIA recruits from frat houses that practice butt-chugging.

Follow former Obsidian Wings blogger, Katherine Hawkins, who has been covering US torture for more than a decade
https://twitter.com/Krhawkins5
"It turns out you can still be shocked even if you're not surprised."

Another reason for the CIA not to want the report to be released: it seems they lied to foreign governments/intelligence agencies about what they were doing.

This was interesting too, via Sully.

Therefore, the CIA admitted that—as late as June 2013—it was simply incapable of evaluating the effectiveness of its covert activity. This apparently made it impossible for CIA officials and those within the Counterterrorism Center (CTC), who were responsible for detaining and interrogating the 119 known detainees, to examine and assess if this detention and interrogation program was working at all. Given that the CIA has acknowledged this so recently, it should cast doubt upon all previous responses from Intelligence Community officials that defended and justified the program. If they had, by the CIA’s own admission, the wrong structure, expertise, and methodologies to evaluate the program, then what was the basis upon which they claimed it was needed and successful?

But Ugh, why ever not? After all, they were lying to their own government, including those legally charged with overseeing them. And even to their internal IG. What's a few more lies to foreigners?

Of course, the foreign governments and politicians who were caught up in this, especially the ones who were lied to, are now "beyond furious." And the chances of getting their cooperation on the next request we make, however innocuous, have nose-dived. Thank you, CIA et al.

Aren't we all (the Americans, anyway) so extra-super-duper safe because of all this? I feel special, knowing people were willing to do these things just to keep me out of harm's way. God Bless America!

(Is it okay to vomit now?)

Is it okay to vomit now?

as long as you're not in CIA custody it's probably safe.

Sullivan again:

Let me state this as plainly as I can: this is Nazi-level criminality and brutality. This is unimaginable sadism. If the people who did this and those who authorized this are allowed to get away with this, and even be praised by presidents for it, then we have left our civilization behind.

Of course, the foreign governments and politicians who were caught up in this, especially the ones who were lied to, are now "beyond furious." And the chances of getting their cooperation on the next request we make, however innocuous, have nose-dived.

This. The CIA is not concerned that they lied, but that the foreign governments and intelligence services will no longer cooperate.

It's very much like the child who killed his parents pleading for leniency because he's an orphan.

As emptywheel points out, the report establishes beyond doubt that the US Govt knew it was deliberately in breach of the UN Convention on torture.

Here, from page 33 of the Report, is the language establishing the above:

…drafted a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking the Department of Justice for “a formal declination of prosecution, in advance, for any employees of the United States, as well as any other personnel acting on behalf of the United States, who may employ methods in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah that otherwise might subject those individuals to prosecution. The letter further indicated that “the interrogation team had concluded “that “the use of more aggressive methods is required to persuade Abu Zubaydah to provide the critical information we need to safeguard the lives of innumerable innocent men, women and children within the United States and abroad.” The letter added that these “aggressive methods” would otherwise be prohibited by the torture statute, “apart from potential reliance upon the doctrines of necessity or of self-defense.”

oddly, none of the wingnut sites i occasionally look at have a single thing to say about this. but, they are all very interested in the Rolling Stone rape thing.

and MSNBC.com still refuses to call what happened "torture" (they will quote other people saying it).

and the Senate GOP has concluded that "it's all good and you're a liar". (be sure to read the comments!)

this goes nowhere. nothing happens. scot remains free.

When you have taken the mutually exclusive positions that "nothing we did was other than humane" and "if what we did is revealed, it will so infuriate the rest of the world as to put Americans at risk," and then the former is revealed by the CIA's own documents to be false, what is left? Either claim it is all lies (the CIA's own documents are lies? Because the is what is being quoted) or ignore it an focus of unrelated stories.

Nigel - that's interesting, and interesting that that letter was never sent. Probably because it would be the admission emptywheel states. Instead, they got the DOJ to "bless" what they were doing, and in that had the CYA to do what they wanted.

That they were lying to the DOJ about the facts and the DOJ was lying to them about the law, was win-win in their eyes - if everyone's guilty - then no one is. And if one of the guilty parties is the DOJ, who then will bring charges?

From what I've heard the view inside CIA was that the DOJ can't one day tell CIA that torturing is okay, and then the next day turn around and say torturing is not okay and commence prosecuting. Not an unreasonable position, in theory (and even in practice, depending on the facts). But even in these circumstances, more than enough protection from a political standpoint to preclude criminal prosecutions - even for the destruction of the torture tapes (although that still boggles the mind - not there is a lack of that sort of thing).

Never order the the "awesome hummus" at this conservative's pig trough of a dinner table:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/fox-host-cia-torture-america-awesome

Because you don't know where it's been.

I like the CIA defense: It worked! But we don't do it anymore!

Well, if it worked (and saved "thousands" of lives), why don't you do it anymore?

why don't you do it anymore?

CIA: because mean old man Obama said we couldn't, and that's making us less safe!

GOP: CIA says Obama is making America less safe!

FOX: Obama loves teh terrrisssts!

CIA, GOP, FOX: IMPEACH!

Frank Church.

What happened to him?

He was put down like a dog by our old subhuman vermin friends -- Cheney and Rumsfeld

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Torture_Report_And_What_Comes_Next

Isn't the CIA's defense more like: "Our own internal documents say that it didn't work. But we told everybody outside that it did. And they said it was OK, because it worked. So we're clear!"

Which do we think will happen first? Last? Anything?

Barack Obama calls for the arrest of the pig-filth sadistic vermin, who share their predilections with both Nazi and Stalinist torturers of the past in a hat-trick example of bipartisan who-do-we-think-is-worstism -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, the entire defense and security apparatus of the U.S. Government during that time, including some choice Democrats --- and their rendition to the Hague to stand trial?

The sadistic Republican subhuman vermin in the House and the Senate now applauding the behavior described in the report (McCain can kiss my hummus-enemad ass, despite his too-late rhetoric) calling for the impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama for refusing to cooperate with the release of this report and thereby covering-up the crimes and protecting the aforesaid Bush Administration and their crimes?

The impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama for bringing some sensible health care coverage to some 11 million Americans and protecting 5 million illegal immigrants who have made a go of it in the United States, despite calls for their immediate deportation and the sundering of their traditional families by torture-loving Tea Party filth, who believe hummus enemas are the only medical care that should be covered by government for poor Americans?

A dozen or more dicey shooting of unarmed black men over the next year?

Rand Paul finds yet three more sides of his surly, ignorant mouth to talk out of for electoral gain, perhaps blaming the behavior described in the report on the taxation and regulation of hummus?


If any ObWi alumni would like to post on this, please feel free.If you don't have (or can't find) the keys for the place or don't want to bother with dealing with the typepad interface, send me the text file and I will get it posted

none of the wingnut sites i occasionally look at have a single thing to say about this

You and I obviously are looking at different wingnut sites. Here's one.

My own opinion on this is: we shouldn't be doing it; we should not ever have done it, and saying something like: well, rendition started under Clinton, so we are not so bad because reasons just isn't really a compelling story.

For me, the only reason to look forward to an Obama presidency was for things like this to finally have a light shined on them. I badly misjudged just how low a priority the exhumation of information about the Bush administration would get, and/or how long it would take to get any of it public.

I'd rather dine on cosmoline-soaked rags than listen to any of the defensiveness, frankly.

You and I obviously are looking at different wingnut sites.

well, i went to PJ, but not that guy. i saw that Instapundit could only muster a "heh, but Feinstein... [fapfapfap]"

I don't have much to say about this, beyond what's been said. It's terrible that it happened, its terrible how long it took to get out, and its terrible that even now the CIA's official response is along the lines of "yeah, but..."

For example:

In some instances the only technique used was sleep deprivation, and there were mllltiple occasions-ignored by the Study-in which the Agency applied no enhanced techniques because officers judged detainees
were cooperating as a result of standard interrogation and debriefing techniques, or opted to forego specific techniques because officers judged they would most likely only stiffen the resolve of the detainee.

If that's a defense, nobody would ever be guilty.

The CIA needs to be gutted and rebuilt from scratch in a much more limited role with more direct oversight. Or not rebuilt at all.

Interview with Katherine Hawkins on Senate Torture Report.

https://soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/why-the-cia-torture-report-matters?utm_content=buffer94654&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

"The CIA needs to be gutted and rebuilt from scratch in a much more limited role with more direct oversight. Or not rebuilt at all."

I would agree with that proposal, particularly were it extended to the entire federal government.

Well, we do need some entitity to gather intelligence information in the more traditional manner. And to analyze what is gathered. The CIA has never been particularly good at gathering intelligence. So rebuilding that part of the agency from scratch seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea. We might even end up with something that works.

But it was supposed ot be, once upon a time, pretty good at analysis. To the extent that those folks are still around, they might form the core of a rebuilt analysis effort. (And since data analysis would not involve torturing people, they would probably not be directly implicated in the rest of the agency's misdeeds.)

As a side note, I suspect that whatever we have going forward needs to be restarted with a new name and totally new management. The existing management is manifestly incompetent and untrustworthy. And the brand is trashed beyond repair.

Driving home from work today, I was tempted to torture a radio. Pull its knobs off. Shove a pen deep into its speakers. Smash its display with my fist. Drape it with a soft cloth and pour water on it until it said something I wanted to hear.

Unfortunately, that was my own car radio, which is more or less hard-wired to NPR. Sensible liberals know that NPR stands for (N)ice (P)olite (R)epublicans, but never mind.

Anyway, the NPR anchor who rejoices in the name "Audie" Cornish was interviewing "former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin about his objections to the Senate Intelligence Committee's so-called torture report". Listening to that smarmy little man, I lost any last vestige of a twinge I may ever have harbored at The Count's use of terms like "pig-filth".

I could not bring myself to vandalize my own car radio, mostly because I know it would not do any good. My local NPR station is currently running their end-of-year on-air fundraiser; calling in to declare a non-pledge because of Audie's kid-glove non-interrogation of McLaughlin probably won't do any good either. I'm not sure anything will do any good. I'm beginning to feel like a decent German circa 1933.

P.S. (after previewing): I see Brett is pounding the confederate drum again. THAT would solve the problem. You betcha.

--TP

After all, they were lying to their own government, including those legally charged with overseeing them.

I don't even begin to know what it means that they "lied". Perhaps not every single gory detail was known, but by the time Bush was reelected, everyone in the country was on notice that horrible torture was going on. This was the Bush administration, elected by the American people, not just a rogue CIA.

wj:

Analysis is necessary for making informed decisions, and a valuable part of governance (imo). But I can't recall any examples of the CIA being particularly good at analysis, nor do I really see a need for their analysis that couldn't be better done at other departments (State, Defense, etc).

By "they lied" I mean that their own documents show that one thing was true. While their statements, to Congress, to the National Security Council and to the President, not to mention their statements to the press, said something entirely at odds with what those documents said.

Not to mention other documents which do things like advise against writing down certain information, because it might later be used to show that they lied. (Bad idea that, writing down the directive to not write things down lest they come back to haunt you.)

thompson, my impression that they were relatively good at analysis comes from stuff I saw decades ago. So clearly I can't come upwith citations. And also, I don't know at this point how trustworthy the sources were -- save that they were being harsh about the CIA's covert operations efforts, which suggests that they were not just generic CIA propaganda.

That said, certainly other groups could do analysis for us. The only advantage of having one central group do it is that you have less chance of one hand not knowing what the other hand knows. In fact, that was the original justification for consolidating our various intelligence groups into one central agency.

While their statements, to Congress, to the National Security Council and to the President, not to mention their statements to the press, said something entirely at odds with what those documents said.

Well, there was a reason why Obama immediately dismantled the program of torture when he came into office. It wasn't because someone finally told him the truth. It was because the truth was known. To the extent that the report blames the CIA for dishonesty, okay sure, whatever. But the buck doesn't stop at the CIA.

I don't even begin to know what it means that they "lied".

"Nevertheless, we do agree with the Study that there were instances where representations about the program that were used or approved by Agency officers were inaccurate, imprecise, or fell short of Agency tradecraft standards."

-John O. Brennan

(Also, what wj said.)

That said, certainly other groups could do analysis for us. The only advantage of having one central group do it is that you have less chance of one hand not knowing what the other hand knows. In fact, that was the original justification for consolidating our various intelligence groups into one central agency.

Yeah, but that's not the case now. E.g., the DoD recently organized its own Defense Clandestine Service (which admittedly was more a restructuring and re-organizing of existing assets than something made from whole cloth, but that really just underscores the point). And beyond that, one of the damning bits in the Study was that it was observed that the CIA program was impeding their ability to act in concert with other parts of the US intelligence community. If the one central service is doing things that prevent it from acting as a central hub for intelligence, then that's no longer a meaningful justification for its existence.

So who cares that they left out the rectal feeding? Everyone knew they were doing things that were agonizing short of causing organ failure. This is not simply a CIA problem. It's a Republican administration, with the cooperation of cowardly Democrats in Congress, problem.

wj:

The only advantage of having one central group do it is that you have less chance of one hand not knowing what the other hand knows.

There is some truth to that. I don't know if its worth keeping the CIA around for. Not trying to pick a fight with you over it, certainly, just that I've never really seen good data of what the CIA does or could do (beyond on what they do terribly wrong).

Also, what NV said at 9:00PM.

or, 8:59PM. Whenever NV said what NV said, it was correct.

I'd say we need to get rid of the CIA. As noted, that brand is toast.

The question is, are there some people who have worked for the CIA who a) have useful skills, and b) were not involved in the torture operation? If so (and I confess I don't have solid information one way or the other), they ought to be retained -- in whatever intelligence operation(s) we have. Those that do not meet those criteria should find other careers.

This is not simply a CIA problem. It's a Republican administration, with the cooperation of cowardly Democrats in Congress, problem.

(Emphasis added.)

The Republican administration in question is gone. The CIA that enacted sloppy, dangerous, unprofessional policies on its behalf is still there, and has shown itself to be unwilling to take disciplinary action against those responsible for conceiving, planning, and implementing those policies (or even directly admit that they were anything more than inefficient). Indeed, the Study shows signs that it instead took measures to retaliate against internal elements that questioned them.

What you tolerate, you condone. In fairness, though, this looks like well more than simple toleration, as there was active pushback to oversight, internal or external. And the CIA of today is essentially the same CIA as 10 years ago. As the Study pointed out, the only thing standing between the current status quo of these policies being verboten and their resumption is a unilaterally-rescindable Executive Order.

So who cares that they left out the rectal feeding?

So who cares if they left out dropping bound prisoners into the ocean from helicopters? I mean, to the best of our knowledge, they did no such thing, but they've demonstrated a willingness to lie and misrepresent their activities to the entities charged with oversight of their operations in order to conceal actions that were unsavory, but according to official executive policy, legal. If they're willing to lie to their overseers in a confidential context IOT avoid embarrassment for engaging in ostensibly legal activities, they cannot reasonably be trusted not to lie if they're engaging in uncontroversially illegal activity.

Basically, this is a paramilitary organization demonstrating that it chaffs at the notion of being beholden to civilian authority. Recall, it doesn't just stand accused of lying to Congress; it also stands accused of lying to State, the DOJ, and other executive agencies. That's... a pretty big deal.

The question is, are there some people who have worked for the CIA who a) have useful skills, and b) were not involved in the torture operation?

I'm sure there are tons. This was, one assumes, primarily or even exclusively the baby of the National Clandestine Service (i.e., the former Directorate of Operations). That leaves the other three directorates, and countless NCS agents who were assigned to other projects/regions. Admittedly, if one is concerned about cleaning out an institutional culture, it's not nearly enough to merely have avoided direct participation in this program.

the only thing standing between the current status quo of these policies being verboten and their resumption is a unilaterally-rescindable Executive Order

No, this is actually the big deal. If the President's executive order can stop the CIA from doing what it was doing, then clearly the responsibility is at the Executive level - in other words, the Bush administration.

Do you honestly think that the Bush administration didn't know what the CIA was doing?

If the CIA was investigated, and found to be violating Obama's executive order, then the "rogue CIA theory" might hold water. What we think we know is that the CIA felt perfectly comfortable doing horrific things under protection of the legal opinions of the Bush administration.

The argument I am currently seeing is that, while the Bush administration may have known about the torture, Bush himself did not. Really, I saw someone arguing exactly that -- and therefore Bush was not responsible for the torture. As if ignorance kept anybody else from being responsible for the policy-based actions taken in an organizaiton that he is in charge of.

This is rather damning. Hell, even if his testimony was all true it's damning.

Good God.

"Nazar Ali, an 'intellectually challenged' individual whose taped crying was used as leverage against a family member...." was one of those wrongly held.

But it's all "move along, nothing to see here."

wj, over here this is known as "Wenn das der Führer wüßte" (If just the Führer would know about that) and is a staple of palaeo and neo-Nazis to this day (cf. David Irving* claiming that Himmler did the Holocaust all by himself behind Hitler's back).
But it says something that in connection with Bush the Lesser it sounds much more credible but not something good.

*before later switching to total denial

Well, the report has accomplished its only purpose. The Dems really needed to reinvoke that"anti Bush" sentiment to invigorate the base and take the focus off of the failing Obama presidency. I mean,how long has it been since sapient was this engaged here? We'll just have to see if Hilary, Warren or maybe even Feinstein can make it last long enough to win the White House.

Because, really, Jeb is the only Republican they are worried about.

[sarcasm]And that's the reason why they published the report directly after the midterm elections. They're geniuses[/sarcasm]

It wasn't going to win them the midterms, they really didn't want to release it at all. In the end it indicts the Congressional oversight as much as anything, either they knew and didn't do anything( my opinion not contradicted here) or they were massively incompetent. Neither is a good platform builder for Senate or House races. Note, every hard core Democrat went straight to "it's really all about Bush". They need him to run against, again.

If the President's executive order can stop the CIA from doing what it was doing, then clearly the responsibility is at the Executive level - in other words, the Bush administration.

This argument would hold more water if the EO had stopped the abusive behaviors. It did not. The negative consequences and/or blowback from the abusive behaviors stopped the abusive behaviors prior to Obama's election, so we have no evidence whether the Agency is inclined to abide by the EO. So we can hope the Agency is constrained by EOs in regards to such behavior, but we don't have evidence they are, so we probably shouldn't make quite so bold a pronouncement as you have. However, that's not the main point...

If the CIA was investigated, and found to be violating Obama's executive order, then the "rogue CIA theory" might hold water.

I feel like I'm arguing with you, and you're arguing with a strawman standing right behind me, but I'll bite. The "rogue CIA" theory (by which I can only presume you mean something like "the CIA acted almost entirely on its own initiative in pursuing the torture program"... WTF?) is not what I refer to when I discuss CIA malfeasance here. It's the contempt for oversight and lawful authority outside of the Oval Office (at least, I hope it was only for authority outside the Oval Office). It's the willingness to lie to Congress and other Executive agencies despite their legitimate need-to-know IOT influence policy decisions and help ensure they can continue to engage in their then-current policies, or to save face. It's about - as an organization, so at least in an officious capacity, though frankly it sounded moreso official - releasing (misleading or outright false) information to the domestic press IOT influence policy decisions and help ensure they can continue to engage in their then-current policies, or to save face. It's about behaving in a manner where their leadership appears to have retaliated against their own IG when it sought to review the program in question and came up with results suggesting it was problematic or ineffective. It's about obstructing investigation into their conduct not because intelligence sources needed protected, but because revealing the depths of their malice and incompetence would make it more difficult for them to work with the foreign agencies who assisted them in their questionable endeavors, but also by all appearances because it would result in lost face and/or external interference into their (apparently questionable) management policies.

Basically, the only "rogue CIA" theory that I'm peddling is not that the CIA bears full responsibility for the torture program - it's that regardless of who bears ultimate responsibility for the program the CIA's actions during and after the program are exceedingly problematic and consistent with a governmental organism that is seeking to minimize if not outright eliminate external control and oversight - or more succinctly, a "rogue" organization.

We've had variations of this argument before, and I've always gotten the impression that you feel we should only ever hold the people at the very highest level - specifically the political leaders - responsible for any abusive conduct by the Agency. And I fiercely disagree with that. Beyond taking issue with the notion that following orders is indemnifying, a lot of what I find objectionable in the CIA's conduct, and that the Study identifies as problematic, are actions that the CIA took entirely on their own initiative, and many of them were not even towards the end of executing the orders handed down to them from higher - they were to try to ensure that external entities or public opinion did not pressure higher into changing the orders they had received. That is, to say the least, outside their purview. I'll go further and say that that is anathema to elected control of our government. When a government agency starts trying to manipulate the parties responsible for giving it orders, that's a problem. When an Executive agency starts trying to manipulate the function of the Legislature IOT promote policies favored by its leadership, that's a problem. When the bureaucracy starts trying to exercise influence over the elected portions of government, that's a problem. Even if you buy into an imperial executive theory of governance, these are problematic, especially when the agency is attempting to manipulate other portions of the Executive. All of these sorts of actions are consistent with an organization attempting to reduce the amount of external control exercised upon it. Given the CIA's history, I can't say that this inspires a warm, fuzzy sense of trust in me. The parties who were responsible for this should be held responsible for their actions, and those who engaged in mismanagement and gross inefficiency should be held responsible for their actions. And yes, I'd love to see outright the parties who engaged in torture held responsible for their actions, but I can't even imagine a world where that would happen, so I'd grimly settle for imagining organizational reform and a tighter leash on the rogue agency.

Here you go Marty, clearly calculated for a release at just this moment in time.

In the end it indicts the Congressional oversight as much as anything, either they knew and didn't do anything( my opinion not contradicted here) or they were massively incompetent.

Marty, I'm kinda having trouble seeing how a report who presents a recurrent theme of willful deceit to Congress on the part of the Agency that was supposed to be overseen translates to your false dichotomy. To the contrary, it's an indictment of the willingness of the agency in question and to a lesser degree, the Executive in general, to engage with the Congress in good faith. But no, you're right, this can only have been released to fire up the Democratic base for the Presidential election that's about to happen in... um... 23 months.

Plainly, though, you're right. The only possible purpose of the report was partisan maneuvering for an election two years away. That's what got McCain to support the report's release. That's what got a cheerleader like Feinstein to call out an intelligence agency. It can't be about misconduct. Hell, it can't even be about Congress grabbing at power by trying to preserve its capacity to engage in Executive oversight and prevent the balance from shifting even further from co-equality. Nope, it can only be simple, petty, destructive malice, and BDS.

Not to mention the report gives lots of cover to Bush by saying he was essentially kept in the dark until 2006.

Ah, Paul Clement, you really are a political hack (even if a super smart and gifted one).

More detail on that last comment here.

"This is not simply a CIA problem. It's a Republican administration, with the cooperation of cowardly Democrats in Congress, problem."

So, you're saying the Clinton administration was a Republican administration? Because extraordinary rendition was started under Clinton, not Bush. No matter how that interferes with the narrative.

Marty, could you update us on the Ebola virus raging through the American countryside at Obama's behest and the imminent fall of western civilization at the hands of ISIS, because I can't find anything on these pressing issues from the meep meep crickets since the polls closed in California on November 4.

Brett: Rectal feeding? Yet another reason to get rid of food stamps and school lunches.

George W. Bush's knowledge of torture:

CIA: Mr. Vice President, would you let the President know about the rectal feeding?

Cheney: Why? I mean, I think we all know what his response will be.

Cheney launches into his spot-on perfect impression of Bush's impression of Carla Faye Tucker begging for leniency in Texas: "Please," Cheney whimpers, his lips pursed exactly like Bush's impression of Tucker, in mock desperation, "don't shove that hummus up my ass."

CIA: Got it.

Then Tucker Carlson and his buddy beat the sh*t out of a gay desperado for inappropriate glancing at the urinals in the nearest men's room, in solidarity with the American conservative Zeitgeist.

Should we impeach Bill Clinton for his rendition orders and even earlier, sending a guy in Arkansas to the gallows for short-term political advantage.

No, I think we should impeach him for the blow job.

Should we impeach Barack Obama for covering up the CIA's torture activities and refusing to order the CIA to cooperate in the torture?

No, but he gave a guy in some cracker state an opportunity to purchase health insurance on a Federal exchange.

Let's get him for that.

Comets in the farthest reaches of the universe are diverting themselves onto a path of collision with Earth, using the gigantic roiling mass of horsesh*t kicked up over America as a homing beacon.

Well, the report has accomplished its only purpose. The Dems really needed to reinvoke that"anti Bush" sentiment to invigorate the base and take the focus off of the failing Obama presidency.

yeah, let's talk about changing the subject.


I could not bring myself to vandalize my own car radio, mostly because I know it would not do any good.

i punched the Off button so hard i was worried i might have broken it. NPR is less than worthless on tough topics. they always bow and scrape before the GOP when it comes to these things, always.

it is, in fact, why i don't donate to them.

NV, there us difference in purpose in
1) collecting the data and writing the report, presenting it to appropriate oversight and giving a summary in public testimony to Congress.
2)releasing the report in full so every individual, particularly politician could extract their favorite point to spin.

I'm glad it was done, other than some specific omg's, as expressed here, there isn't s thing in it that wasn't talked about 6 years ago. It accomplishes no purpose except as a distraction to be generally released. And it could significantly impact the primaries, and who might run, by being released now.

And it could significantly impact the primaries, and who might run, by being released now.

there are 23 months until the next election. it is almost impossible to be farther from an election.

so... when, by your standards, would be the right time to release something like this?

Ugh, thanks for the link. EXACTLY, the report was completed in April,summary released, appropriate people provided all the details. Release six months later becaauusssee ......politics, more to the point, Presidential politics.

We've had variations of this argument before, and I've always gotten the impression that you feel we should only ever hold the people at the very highest level - specifically the political leaders - responsible for any abusive conduct by the Agency. And I fiercely disagree with that.

If we could prosecute people like James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, I'd be all for it. My guess is that the prosecution would not succeed even if it were initiated.

But the main thing is that I just don't buy that the Bush administration wasn't authorizing abuse of prisoners. The CIA was acting on behalf of elected officials. Maybe we should look at situations where organ failure occurred, and punish people whose prisoners died. Is that what you're saying? I mean, give me some other examples where the behavior of the CIA wasn't directly related to the license given by John Yoo's memo.

If there is a prosecution of some of these horrible torturers, I will be all for it. I am much more interested in making sure the people who instigated this never have a chance to do it again. Unfortunately, they just took over Congress.

Well, sapient, I'm pretty sure that we can't and shouldn't prosecute, well, ALL Republicans, or even gin up enough blame to cover them all. That's who just took over Congress. But your comment is certainly in line with my assessment.

Extreme hypothetical for Marty: Would there have been a torture program under President Gore?

Sapient: Please respond to Brett's observation regarding Clinton and "extraordinary rendition".

bobbyp, no actual clue, but probably. The oversight in Congress was led by essentially Gore contemporaries, none of whom objected to any of this, he was pretty hawkish. We would have spent more on inconvenient truths. So, IDK is really the answer.

...other than some specific omg's, as expressed here, there isn't s thing in it that wasn't talked about 6 years ago.

What makes the omg's omg's, and why aren't they significant? Certainly people knew about waterboarding and extended isolation and stress positions and such, but those things are now known to be on the milder side of what the CIA was doing.

What also wasn't known was the extent of the cover-up effort - a sort of meta problem that allows not-so-meta problems to occur.

I have to say, Marty, this conspiracy theory of yours is, as much as I can disagree with you, well beyond what I would expect from you in terms of blinkered partisan bias.

Actually, Feinstein didn't overlap with Gore at all, at least not in the Senate.

bobbyp, we have some very skeletal anecdotes regarding Clinton's rendition of a handful of Egyptian terrorists to Egypt. http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/rendition701/timeline/timeline_1.html

I'm not convinced that his actions were illegal, or immoral.

hsh, even in the "common" wisdom I've read the release was forced to prevent the Republicans from killing the full release entirely. As conspiracy theories go this is pretty simplistic. I don't even think its a question.

Blinkered partisanship is exactly what releasing it is.

Marty: It accomplishes no purpose except as a distraction to be generally released.

The difference is that this is a) comprehensive, and b) official. That is, there is no longer room to argue that it comes from taking a few examples out of context. (Not that it isn't being tried.) And the full report, specifically the CIA documents cited in it, can serve as a basis for legal prosecutions.

It's one thing to have stuff part of "general knowledge" (albeit denied by some). It's quite another to have that same stuff officially and publicly documented. Not to mention that, while as you say the general outlines were known, there were specifics in there that were not known. Rather damning specifics IMHO.

hsh, even in the "common" wisdom I've read the release was forced to prevent the Republicans from killing the full release entirely.

which wouldn't be a political act, not at all. heavens no.

because the GOP is full of high-minded statesmen.

Blinkered partisanship is exactly what releasing it is.

If the Republicans are trying to prevent the rightful release of information, it doesn't make releasing that information an act of partisanship.

Are you saying this shouldn't have been released? Are you still saying this was somehow about directly influencing elections?

Why are you "glad it was done"? Why isn't it the Republicans who are being partisan in trying to prevent the release of the report to save their brand?

And, again, when could this report have been released in order for you not to think it was just a partisan maneuver?

Rather than trying to muddy waters with my own spin...what NV said. Again.

Marty:

It accomplishes no purpose except as a distraction to be generally released.

I disagree. It always serves to have clarity about just what was done, how long it went on, how many people were involved, etc.

Well sure, we knew torture occurred, but the debate about its use took place without understanding a lot of the specifics. When all you know are halftruths and vague generalities, it can be easy to spin to support any narrative, including 'it wasn't that bad and it resulted in valuable intel.' This report brings a level of depth and breadth to the issue.

While I am often skeptical about controlled/partial release of classified information to support a specific view, this doesn't strike me as an example of that.

Regarding the timing of release, this report has been a long time coming, and the SIC has been trying to get it released for a long time. I'm also skeptical that right after a midterm is the opportune moment to game political advantage. Why not 6 months from now, when Jeb Bush is putting out primary feelers, or 1 year from now, when the candidates would be forced to take stances on the report.

Now? It seems like any cynical politician could wait 12 months to see where various voting blocs come down on this report and shape their campaign appropriately.

I don't think it should have been released. I am glad the report was done, but it was done in April. The CIA has been properly chastised, and limited. Additional limitations will be to our detriment. The vast majority of Americans will actually know just as much about it tomorrow as they did yesterday. Any additional information they have will be the titillations of the media, and politicians. Now its all about politics.

Not to mention the report gives lots of cover to Bush by saying he was essentially kept in the dark until 2006.

the Abu Ghraib stuff came out in 2003. we know Rumsfeld signed authorizations for "special interrogation plans" in 2002. and we know Bybee and Yoo were working on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in 2002.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture_Memos

Now? It seems like any cynical politician could wait 12 months to see where various voting blocs come down on this report and shape their campaign appropriately.

Thompson, the concern is that a year(month, six months) from now there would be a Republican controlled Congress that wouldn't release it. So they had to make the political calculation now. And to have an impact, perhaps whether Bush decides to run, this had to be public.

the Abu Ghraib stuff came out in 2003. we know Rumsfeld signed authorizations for "special interrogation plans" in 2002. and we know Bybee and Yoo were working on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in 2002.

Yes, it's preposterous Bush didn't know all this way before 2006 - he clearly did.

My point was to counter Marty's ridiculous suggestion that this was all about running against Bush in 2016 - if it's about that, why would it say Bush was kept in the dark and that the CIA lied to him about various aspects of the program?

Marty, if the CIA had been "properly chastised," would they have kept fighting to keep the reality of what they did from coming out? More to the point, would they still be arguing that what they did was OK (which they seem to be)?

I would think that, if properly chastized, they would at least admit that they screwed up, and talk about what they were doing to avoid having it happen again. But I'm not seeing any such admissions. (If you have, please share.)

Thompson, the concern is that a year(month, six months) from now there would be a Republican controlled Congress that wouldn't release it. So they had to make the political calculation now.

I seel It's the congressional Democrats' fault that the Republicans wouldn't release it if Republicans were in charge. So, by being obstructionists, the Republicans can turn anything the Democrats might do into an act of partisanship. Neat!

I wish Democrats - the voters, I mean - could get behind their party the way you can get behind the Republicans. Then again, they'd probably have to be just like the Republicans for that to happen, so maybe not.

"seel" should be "see.", um, period.

The CIA has been properly chastised, and limited

With all due respect, bollocks.

The present and former director of the CIA continue to lie about the matter - the last 30 pages of the report (which is not a full report as you suggest, but a 600 page summary of a 6000 page report) - are taken up in demonstrating how Hayden consistently lied to those who supposedly have oversight over intelligence.

"Properly chastised" would necessarily involve criminal prosecutions -

not only for torture, which are required under US treaty obligations):
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15397&LangID=E

- but also any or all of the following:
18 U.S.C. § 4 - Misprision of felony
18 U.S.C. §371 Conspiracy
18 U.S.C. §1001 False Statements
18 U.S.C. §1621 Perjury
18 U.S.C. §1505 Obstruction of Justice

That a nation which is apparently happy to imprison its citizens at a rate four times that of any other developed nation is unable or unwilling to hold public officials to legal account in this manner is pretty contemptible.

To dismiss this as 'partisan' utterly so.

The vast majority of Americans will actually know just as much about it tomorrow as they did yesterday. Any additional information they have will be the titillations of the media, and politicians.

Oh, and this. It's the congressional Democrats' fault that the American people are too stupid to do anything but be subject to the titilations of the media and politicians. Of course, it's also their fault that the media and politicians won't better inform the stupid American people.

So, basically, the Democrats can't really do anything but for politics, the world being what it is, and as they have so made it.

It's amazing how they can set all this stuff up to their political advantage. Too bad they couldn't get to you, Marty, to prevent you from seeing through it all.

Micheal Brown and Eric Garner should've taken jobs as CIA torturers. instead of pearl-clutching over their petty crimes and mocking their subsequent deaths as the just desserts of thugs and fatties, the GOP would now be celebrating their lawbreaking as the acts of noble American Heroes ™.

The other significance of the report is that it provides evidence - as opposed to the leaks we've had up until now - which would provide a basis for legal action overseas:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/10/cia-report-prosecutions-international-law-icc
“If I was one of those people, I would hesitate before making any travel arrangements,” said Michael Bochenek, director of law and policy at Amnesty International.

The Obama administration wound up an inquiry into criminal responsibility for the use of torture in 2012, without launching any prosecutions and it is unclear whether the Senate report will lead to that decision being reviewed. But because torture is considered a grave crime under international law, other governments could arrest and prosecute anyone implicated in the report who was on their territory under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

“Some of these people will never leave US borders again,” Bochenek said. “If say, one of them goes on holiday in Paris, then France would have the legal obligation to arrest and prosecute that individual. States have clear obligation in cases of torture...

Marty:

The vast majority of Americans will actually know just as much about it tomorrow as they did yesterday.

But any american who WAS interested could find journalists they trust and even go to the source documents themselves. That's an important aspect of oversight.

As an argument that details of government operations should be concealed, 'most people won't care' isn't a good one.

Why release data on what research the NSF or NIH fund? Most people won't read it. I mean, why even have a public budget? Most people won't bother to familiarize themselves with it. etc etc

the concern is that a year(month, six months) from now there would be a Republican controlled Congress that wouldn't release it.

To the extent that that's a possibility, it's not an argument against release.

I have just deleted a really incensed rebuttal to hsh and Nigel. I am fine with holding us to a higher standard, just not in public flagellation in cases where we don't feel we met it.

In a world where someone beheads an American a month all this self loathing and public recrimination seems misplaced.

There's nothing that will sink someone's chances in a Republican party like reminding the voters his brother was associated with a torture program.

In a world where someone beheads an American a month all this self loathing and public recrimination seems misplaced.

if someone else is bad, we can't criticize crimes committed by our own government ?

I am fine with holding us to a higher standard

Which would be your own laws.

I take the point that there are worse things happening in the world - but not in nations where the rule of law still holds sway.

"but not in nations where the rule of law still holds sway."

Jeez Nigel, really? isn't this a little pompous and almost certainly naïve?

I guess the problem I am having with Marty's standard is that it would seem to say (unless I am misreading him) that all it takes is for someone, somewhere in the world, to behave badly. That's enough reason to not mention publicly and officially that we did something bad.

Is that really what you are saying, Marty? Because I just can't see relative morality like that. If something is wrong, we should be willing to say so. No matter what someone elsewhere in the world is doing or saying. Their behavior cannot guide our moral standards.

"Is that really what you are saying, Marty? "

Noooo, I am saying we have said publicly, all the way up to the President himself, that we did things that were wrong, we stopped and have instructed our military and CIA not to do them anymore.

The release of more details, especially since there was no investigation, it was simply a document review, was unnecessary, unwise and politically motivated.

no investigation?

how do you get 6000 pages of text without investigating anything?

The CIA's torture regime doesn't seem to have done much to stem the tide of beheadings.

What's the point of having a head if we can't use it to be outraged by illegal garbanzo bean butt stuffing committed by the U.S. Government?

I don't loathe myself. What have I done? I mean, I do suffer from a sort of trivial, free-floating self-loathing but not because I've beheaded anyone.

Public recrimination? What do you want to do, keep it to yourself and suffer privately. That's so .... Soviet and post-War II Germany.

By all means, let's save the self-loathing and public recrimination for those high medical insurance deductibles.

Heads must roll there, buster!

Nigel:

"Which would be your own laws."

Just the other day, Brett, with Marty's help, wiped nearly every law off the books. Too many laws. I think you'll find the laws against torture out back in the trash, if you hurry.

Not that anyone read the anti-torture law signed by Ronald Reagan, because it was longer than two pages with cover letter and appendices, and thus more outrageous than, say, beheadings.

Unnecessary? Because we have what evidence that the CIA understands that what it did was wrong and will not do it again?

Unwise? Because we are better off not knowing the details?

Politically motivated? Based on what? I personally can't see either party gaining much advantage from this. Not that both won't try, of course. But I just don't see a net political benefit -- certainly not one to warrant all the time and effort. There are lots more politically effective things that either one could do with their resources.

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