The Obama Administration: Despair you can believe in. http://t.co/CfOipLvVp9
— Billmon (@billmon1) December 5, 2014
Just yesterday, I had what passes among us devout Cynics as hope. Another Friday doc dump that will live in infamy, per Bloomberg View:
Secretary of State John Kerry personally phoned Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Friday morning to ask her to delay the imminent release of her committee’s report on CIA torture and rendition during the George W. Bush administration, according to administration and Congressional officials.
Kerry was not going rogue — his call came after an interagency process that decided the release of the report early next week, as Feinstein had been planning, could complicate relationships with foreign countries at a sensitive time and posed an unacceptable risk to U.S. personnel and facilities abroad. Kerry told Feinstein he still supports releasing the report, just not right now…
Hill staffers and human rights advocates saw the Kerry call as a stunning reversal by an administration that has publicly supported the report’s release for months. For Senate Republicans, who have warned about the potential fallout for more than a year, the administration is belatedly coming around to agree with their position.
“There’s always a lot going on in the world and the timing of the release of a report like this never convenient,” one senior GOP senate staffer said. “They should have thought about that a long time ago and advocated against the release.”
For the large community of nongovernmental organizations and human rights groups that have been fighting for the release, the administration’s action is a betrayal, and also a sign that the whole issue has been poorly managed…
Any delay would be a huge problem for Feinstein for several reasons. First of all, her staff just completed a grueling months-long negotiation with the CIA over what details would make it into the final release. Those negotiations were personally mediated by President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, who flew to San Francisco several times to negotiate directly with Feinstein.
Second, if the release is pushed off past next week, Feinstein will no longer head the committee, and the incoming chairman, Republican Richard Burr, could very well prevent the report from being released at all. That could negate years of work by Feinstein’s investigators and prevent the report’s conclusions, many of which will be disputed vigorously by the CIA, from ever coming to light…
This is bullshit on stilts — of course it is “never a good time” for the World’s Greatest Nation(tm) to sack up and admit to having tortured people. Shame on my former Senator Kerry for letting this smarmy, craven garbage go out with his name on it, and shame on President Obama for asking him to do so.
As of a couple of hours ago, per Esquire, outgoing Senator Mark Udall hadn’t repudiated the idea that he could read the entire report into the Congressional Record:
Mark Udall: I have made it clear over the last couple of weeks—if the report is not declassified in a way that’s transparent and shines a bright light on what we did, then I will consider using all and any options.
Scott Raab: I’ve heard this before.
MU: And right now, we are at the point where I’m still optimistic that the White House, working with a committee, is going to do the right thing, which is to declassify the report in a way that’s understandable and transparent. And so I’m working through what we call regular order here in Washington. But if, in my opinion, the report is either—obviously, if it’s not released, then I’m gonna use every power I have, because it’s too important. It’s too historic. And we can’t afford to repeat the mistakes to let this slide…
What happened broke faith in the Constitution. It’s made our challenge much greater when it comes to facing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. And it is morally repugnant. When this report is declassified, people will abhor what they read. They’re gonna be disgusted. They’re gonna be appalled. They’re gonna be shocked at what we did. But it will lay a foundation whereby we don’t do this in the future. That’s been my goal. That’s been my mission.
Goddess grant that I’m pulling a Cole, here — that this is some eleven-dimensional-chess Obama-fu where at least the skeletal, heavily redacted Executive summary gets released as planned. But I most sincerely doubt that. Help us, Obi-Wan Udall, you’re our only hope…