WH Talking Points on Senate Report Confirm What We Already Knew

Via AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.

“This report tells a story of which no American is proud,” says the four-page White House document, which contains the State Department’s preliminary proposed talking points in response to the classified Senate report, a summary of which is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

“But it is also part of another story of which we can be proud,” adds the document, which was circulating this week among White House officials and which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter. “America’s democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values.”

Someone at the White House “accidentally emailed” this document to the AP reporter? Really? Is it possible the Obama administration is gearing up to hold some people accountable at last? We’ll see, but I doubt it. They are forward-looking to a fault.

Also, the CIA has admitted it acted improperly in 2009 when operatives screwed around with the data in computers the Senate Intelligence Committee was using to research possible CIA misconduct during the Bush administration.

But no worries: CIA Director John Brennan has appointed former Senator Evan Bayh to chair an accountability board. I’m sure he’ll handle the role with the same levels of integrity and judgment he displayed throughout his political career. Oh wait.

[H/T: Valued commenter Mandalay]

52 replies
  1. 1

    In other news, Ted Cruz has managed to kill the House Border Bill.

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: And Boehner’s getting a slightly earlier than usual start on his regular drinking/tanning binge I assume?

  3. 3
    beth says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: They also put out a statement urging the President to take actions on his own to deal with the immigration mess. I can’t wait to hear the White House response to that – wait maybe if I listen hard enough I can hear the laughter all the way here in South Carolina.

  4. 4
    Belafon says:

    @beth: “But if you take any action, we’ll sue you for refusing to take action fast enough.” (No, he didn’t actually say that, but it’s really hard to tell any more).

    I laughed out loud when I read Boehner’s statement.

  5. 5
    scav says:

    @beth: encouraging the unjust and unprecedented authoritatianism they’re taking him to task and court over!? Pulsars are getting a run for their money on spin and emissions in this brave new Wingularity.

  6. 6

    @dmsilev: That sickly hue the Speaker has may be entirely explained by his drinking habits. What does the grapevine say, is JB a drunk?

  7. 7
  8. 8
    El Caganer says:

    If the Senate has nothing to hide, it shouldn’t complain about the CIA spying on it.

  9. 9

    All this spying business with the CIA and NSA is bad, but what did people expect after giving the spying agencies a carte blanche after 9/11.

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    Is it possible the Obama administration is gearing up to hold some people accountable at last?

    You mean like send W and Cheney to The Hague? Because that’s the only thing that’s going to get me to vote for him in ’16.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    @beth:

    They also put out a statement urging the President to take actions on his own to deal with the immigration mess.

    I’m betting that the White House lawyers are inserting that into their defense brief as Exhibit A right now.

  12. 12
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Also, the House appears to have screwed the Senate by rejecting the Transportation bill (the funding method of which was preposterous to start with) and sending the upper house one of their own just as all the rats are fleeing town.

    I am agog.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The Dark Lord needs to be arrested and extradited to Den Haag for his war crimes trial.

    End of discussion.

  14. 14
    KG says:

    @different-church-lady: i see what you did there.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m getting ads that say “Stop Reckless Government!” I have a feeling that the House’s actions are not what they’re talking about.

  16. 16
    KG says:

    @Mnemosyne: nah, they’d go with a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) first. evidence doesn’t matter in that case, it’s just the fact that the plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient facts to maintain a cause of action. evidence doesn’t come in until the file a motion for summary judgment… which would likely come after they depose every Republican member of Congress on this case. And really, just for the spectacle of seeing the craziest of the GOPers under oath in a deposition it is almost worth rooting for this to survive. I don’t think it will, because every federal judge in the country would look at this, no matter how wingnutty they are, and say “nope.”

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    I like how it says “of which no American is proud.” Surely right, but infuriating.

    How could we be proud or not proud or anything when what was being done in our name was not known to us? And then when it was suspected the government ignored it and covered it up. This is bigger than the two parties I think. Yes the GOP started this but the Dems have to push back harder. I’m afraid they are protecting the bad actors whether they like it or not.

  18. 18
    Betty Cracker says:

    @different-church-lady: Prosecuting Jose Rodriguez would be a good start. Never gonna happen though. Water under the bridge, it is.

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well, at least the Republicans are for amnesty for one Hispanic male.

  20. 20
    Calouste says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I don’t think that’s right. I’m sure Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Yoo et. al. are pretty proud of what they have done.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: I share your suspicion that it’s more along the lines of people bitching that government is preventing them from fucking over consumers or beating up on poors or daring to hold them responsible for leaving their AK-47s lying around where anyone can pick them up and use them to shoot the neighbor’s cat. Or the neighbor.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @KG: In my fantasy concerning this, some federal judge looks at this, decides it’s frivolous in the extreme, and orders the summary execution of every congresscritter who voted for it.

    Then he regrets it because 75 million people immediately ask to be involved in carrying out his order.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    @BGinCHI: Infuriating, and I’m a bit worried that they’ll go for a both sides were right sort of post-civil war reconciliation BS. Still, rhetorically, it may pre-emptively cut a little ledge out from under all those that really do seem to be proud of unfettered US military actions. Getting that it wasn’t a proud action in official print.

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    @El Caganer:

    If the Senate has nothing to hide, it shouldn’t complain about the CIA spying on it.

    My understanding was that the Senate computers for the initial review were set up in a room controlled by the CIA – for security dontchaknow – so I would have expected them to be bugged by the CIA. And they were.
    Then the senate staffers were able to track what the CIA folks were doing.

  25. 25
    SatanicPanic says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: To be greeted as liberators?

  26. 26
    scav says:

    @catclub: So, (eta some /eta) Senate staffers are apparently not only smarter than most Senators, they can also outdo the CIA? Golly.

  27. 27
    Splitting Image says:

    Director John Brennan has appointed former Senator Evan Bayh to chair an accountability board. I’m sure he’ll handle the role with the same levels of integrity and judgment he displayed throughout his political career.

    It has occurred to me once or twice that the enduring popularity of bipartisan centrists in certain circles is that no one else is nearly as reliable when it comes to talking a lot about something, and doing exactly jack shit about it when they are handed the portfolio.

    See McCain, John and Hacker, Jim.

  28. 28
    Liquid says:

    There’s an amusing line from “Conspiracy” – “They believe laws are like ice cream, easily melted.” Of course that’s referring to the SS…

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Liquid:

    Apparently they didn’t buy their ice cream from Wal-Mart.

    (Well, ice cream sandwiches, anyway.)

  30. 30
    muddy says:

    @BGinCHI: Can’t we at least be proud that the CIA is so thorough? USAUSA!!

    @SatanicPanic: Nice.

  31. 31
    Cervantes says:

    Torture? Spying? Leaks? All nothingburgers.

    The real scandal here is two-fold: using “email” as a verb and spelling it without a hyphen.

  32. 32
    Jay C says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Sorry, I’ve got to call BS on that “…when what was being done in our name was not known to us? claim. “We” certainly did fucking know: “We” had plenty of information on what was going on – and the sad fact is that most Americans just didn’t goddamn care what abuses were being visited on “terrorists”, in our name or not. And for a farrago of reasons: none of which was particularly reasoned or compelling, but all of which fed into each other in a sick helix of self-righteous justification. And wreaking bloody vengeance* for the 9/11 attacks – a “rationale” nobody in this country questioned at the time, or has questioned much since – lies at the bottom of it all.

    *On whom was relatively unimportant: just so the vengeance was violent, righteous and just well-publicized enough.

  33. 33
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cervantes: A hyphen? Get thee gone, I say!

  34. 34
    Mike G says:

    The “Constitution Uber Alles” crowd will rush to the defense of the torturers, invoking the “People I don’t like don’t have any rights” secret clause in their copy of the constitution they downloaded from Conservapedia.

  35. 35
    Cervantes says:

    @Jay C:

    most Americans just didn’t goddamn care […] a “rationale” nobody in this country questioned at the time

    Can you be more specific about “most” and “nobody”?

    On a more serious note:

    “We” certainly did fucking know: “We” had plenty of information on what was going on

    I agree.

  36. 36
    MattF says:

    We can all name a half-dozen people who ought to be arrested right away for war crimes– but Obama clearly isn’t going anywhere near that, and that’s too bad. I’d love to see, e.g., Marc Theissen do some hard time.

    But it ain’t gonna happen. I do note fwiw, that the little flurry of media embarrassment over Cheney/Kristol warmongering faded pretty quickly.

  37. 37
    muddy says:

    @Mike G: One of them told me that needing 60 of 100 to make a majority in the Senate was in the Constitution.

  38. 38
    Cervantes says:

    @WaterGirl: Soon enough.

  39. 39
    Heliopause says:

    “America’s democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values.”

    Oh yes. The founders certainly designed this system with a vast bureaucracy of torturers and extrajudicial murderers in mind. Rightee-oh.

    Until something more than a “sorry we got caught” is the consequence I think I’ll save those “democratic values” for a rainy day.

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    Yawn. Known. Burger.

  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    “In a separate appearance in Washington today, CIA Director John Brennan said the agency had not hacked into the committee’s computers.

    ” ‘Nothing could be further from the truth,’ Brennan said . ‘We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the scope of reason.’ “

    Ahh, the classics never die!

  42. 42
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cervantes:

    “email” as a verb

    :-).
    BTW, I have been unable to find a difference between Labor/notLabor so far in Israeli settlement population level increases. Next step is to, as you suggest, to create a graph of new-housing-unit-approvals vs time, marked up with who is in control of the housing ministry.

  43. 43
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cervantes: What does that mean???

  44. 44
    Cervantes says:

    Somewhat off topic, Rick Perry’s talking points:

    It’s beyond belief that Congress is abandoning its post while our border crisis continues to create humanitarian suffering, and criminal aliens still represent a clear threat to our citizens and our nation. While Texas has taken what steps it can to mitigate the damage caused by a porous border, Congress and the President have a duty to address our border security issues without further delay. […]

  45. 45
    MattF says:

    @Cervantes: And it’s good to see that the Senator from Texas has been actively working on this issue. Oh, wait.

  46. 46
    Jay C says:

    @Cervantes:

    Can you be more specific about “most” and “nobody”?

    Unless my memories of the post-9/11 Great American Terror Freakout are utterly warped with age (doubtful, but always possible) I recall that right up until the Abu Ghraib revelations (and even for a while afterwards) complaints about American mistreatment of “War On Terror” prisoners/suspects were generally dismissed as the disloyal whining of hippie-liberal bleeding-hearts by all but the leftmost media outlets: and even as time went on, there was very little public agitation about the issue, I recall that even after he Abu Ghraib photos were made public, there was a nontrivial segment of the “conservative” media that was as outraged (if not more) at the fact of them being publicized, not for the actions they exposed.

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Dark Lord needs to be arrested and extradited to Den Haag for his war crimes sent to Gitmo without a trial.

    FTFY.

  48. 48
    Dog On Porch says:

    “This report tells a story of which no American is proud..”. Except Dick Cheney and the entire congressional delegation of the republican party.

    What an insultingly preposterous statement to make. It could be the motto on the flag that waves from the peak of Mt. Bullshit. Who is the author addressing again? White House staff? Or a 3rd grade social studies class?

    Unfuckingbelievable.

    In contrast, the author’s “system worked” spin merely rises to the level of being a simple minded delusion .

  49. 49

    @SatanicPanic: With candy and flowers, right?

  50. 50
    Cervantes says:

    @Dog On Porch:

    You’ll appreciate this:

    As for the talking-points document obtained by the AP, U.S. officials said Thursday they were unable to discuss it because the underlying Senate report that it discussed was still classified. But they did not explain how the talking points, which were explicitly marked “unclassified,” could describe in such detail some parts of the still-classified report. Under the government’s “derivative classification” rules, information from a classified document remains classified whenever it is extracted, paraphrased or restated in a new form.

  51. 51
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    Sen. Evan Bayh? As a Hoosier, let me say I have to pause for a moment to overcome the sick dry heaves after reading this.

    There. That’s better.

    Well, all I want to know is how they manage to lure Bay away from the lobbyists trough, or from the slop trough provided by his wife and her drug company lobbying, in order to pretend to do something that looks like work.

    Evan Bayh is one of the most pathetic failures in the history of Indiana politics.

    He is a rich white dude who betrayed the principles of the Democratic party, and whose sole purpose in life seems to be to see how reach he can make himself and his wife through their immoral activities.

    And I don’t like him, either.

  52. 52
    WaterGirl says:

    @HeartlandLiberal:

    Evan Bayh is one of the most pathetic failures in the history of Indiana politics.

    He is a rich white dude who betrayed the principles of the Democratic party, and whose sole purpose in life seems to be to see how reach rich he can make himself and his wife through their immoral activities.

    And I don’t like him, either.

    I just wanted to see that one more time! I could have written that myself, but I think I would have added “so there!” at the end. :-)

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