Like Sisyphus, all we can do is persevere. From the Washington Post:
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to make public a long-awaited report that concludes that the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation measures did not produce valuable intelligence and that the agency repeatedly misled government officials about the severity and success of the program.
The decision, opposed by three Republicans on the panel, means that the findings will be sent to the White House and the CIA, putting the agency in the awkward position of having to declassify a document that delivers a scathing verdict on one of the most controversial periods in its history.
“The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, said in a statement Thursday. “The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen.”
U.S. officials said it could be months before the executive summary of the panel’s inquiry is released to the public. But Thursday’s vote marked the formal end of a four-year Senate investigation of the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh tactics against terrorism suspects in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
President Obama has signaled his support for the public release of the findings and an executive summary, a 481-page section at the front of a classified report that in its complete form runs to more than 6,200 pages and includes detailed accounts of the CIA’s treatment of dozens of detainees…
The report, based on a review of millions of internal CIA records, found scant evidence that the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques generated meaningful intelligence. It accuses agency officials of overstating the significance of alleged terrorist plots and prisoners, and exaggerating the effectiveness of the program by claiming credit for information detainees surrendered before they were subjected to duress.
For years, the agency made inaccurate statements to the president, the National Security Council and Congress, [Maine Sen. Angus] King said. “That’s one of the most disturbing parts of this — the institutional failure.”…
Interesting note from Politico:
Panel staffers said they were not authorized to release a breakdown of the vote on seeking declassification, though POLITICO confirmed that GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Jim Risch of Idaho and Dan Coats of Indiana voted against declassification. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) voted present.
When you can’t get Tom Coburn to deliver a stirring defence of “My Agency, right or wrong” (with an optional chorus of ‘Let the Eagle Soar’) I think it is fair to assume that the CIA has thoroughly befouled its bedsheets.
And I know the easy, ‘rational’ response here is to shrug and say something flip about the Church Commission, but this is the political equivalent of confronting an addict — it’ll be excruciatingly unpleasant and the odds are against it making a permanent difference, but it’s an essential first step regardless.
Apart from pushing rocks uphill, what’s on the agenda for the evening?