— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) December 4, 2014
Look back, not forward!… because you know what they say about those who don’t learn from the past. From the Vice link:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) provided the first official confirmation on Thursday that a long-awaited report prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program will be released “early next week.”…
At Bloomberg View, Josh Rogin and Eli Lake have more detail on “the Battle Over the CIA Torture Report“.
At The Intercept, Dan Froomkin (whose skeptical Washington Post column got me through Dubya’s first term), shares “12 Things to Keep in Mind When You Read the Torture Report“:
… The report, a review of brutal CIA interrogation methods during the presidency of George W. Bush, has been the subject of a contentious back-and-forth, with U.S. intelligence agencies and the White House on one side pushing for mass redactions in the name of national security and committee staffers on the other arguing that the proposed redactions render the report unintelligible.
Should something emerge, here are some important caveats to keep in mind:
1) You’re not actually reading the torture report. You’re just reading an executive summary. The full Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program runs upward of 6,000 pages. The executive summary is 480 pages. So you’re missing more than 80 percent of it.
2) The CIA got to cut out parts. The summary has been redacted – ostensibly by the White House, but in practice by officials of the CIA…
4) The investigation was extremely narrow in its focus. Committee staffers only looked at what the CIA did in its black sites; whether it misled other officials; and whether it complied with orders. That is somewhat like investigating whether a hit man did the job efficiently and cleaned up nicely.
5) The investigation didn’t examine who gave the CIA its orders, or why. The summary doesn’t assess who told the CIA to torture…
6) Torture was hardly limited to the CIA. In fact, the worst of it was done by the military….
Just before Thanksgiving, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s former lawyer, Jason D. Wright, told Politico “America Tortured—And We Need to Shed Some Light on It“:
… This report, set to be accompanied by a CIA response and review by former CIA Director Leon Panetta, is the backdrop for President Obama’s admission at a White House news conference in August: “We tortured some folks.”
Let’s be clear: President Obama is wrong on one point. There’s no collective “we” here. The American people did not torture these folks. The sin of torture is on the hands of those who directed the torture, those who contorted the law to justify the torture, those who applied the torture—and those who have attempted to cover-up the torture…
We, the American people, must not commit the sin of silence. We need a public debate about the American torture policy. We need this debate to obtain some measure of governmental accountability and ensure that we never repeat these mistakes again. We also need this debate to demonstrate to the world that the United States of America can once again be the shining beacon on the hill, that principle is more important than politics, and that the rule of law is greater than the rule of men…
There’s one more slim chance that we non-VIPs might get access to the full report:
… In his first interview since Election Day, Udall told The Denver Post that he would “keep all options on the table” — including a rarely used right given to federal lawmakers — to publicize a secret report about the harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA agents in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks…
“Transparency and disclosure are critical to the work of the Senate intelligence committee and our democracy, so I’m going to keep all options on the table to ensure the truth comes out,” Udall said.
That includes a little-used privilege of the U.S. Constitution called the “Speech or Debate Clause,” which has been suggested by civil libertarians to shake loose the information.
“I mean, I’m going to keep all options on the table,” said Udall when asked specifically about that method.
As written, the Speech or Debate Clause gives lawmakers near-blanket immunity from prosecution when speaking on the floor of the U.S. House or Senate — even if they reveal classified information.
The most famous example of its use came in the early 1970s when then-U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska wielded its power to force the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record, an effort that supplemented reporting by The New York Times on the secret Vietnam War documents.
Reached by phone, Gravel urged Udall to chart a similar course…
That was in mid-November, but as of yesterday, Udall hadn’t publicly rejected the idea.