The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday issued a 600-page executive summary of its long-awaited 6,000-page report on torture used between by the Central Intelligence Agency in the years following the 9/11 attacks. The intro to the executive summary was written by the committee’s chair Sen. Diane Feinstein and signed by seven other Democrats who sit on the committee. There are still thousands of pages that the White House refuses to release to the Committee.
In the summary, Feinstein warns readers to put things in historical context. “I can understand the CIA’s impulse to consider the use of every possible tool to gather intelligence and remove terrorists from the battlefield, and CIA was encouraged by political leaders and the public to do whatever it could to prevent another attack,” Feinstein wrote. However, she said that such pressure and fear does not “excuse improper actions.”
Improper actions is one way to put it. Another way: Revolting and immoral.
A handful of Republican senators and members of the intelligence community lambasted the release of the report. Sen. John McCain broke ranks and thanked the Senate Democrats for releasing it. “The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow,” he said. “But the American people are entitled to it nonetheless.”
So far, our own congressional delegation has been silent, including GOP Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan, who worked for the White House and the State Department under Condoleezza Rice when the torture transpired, though it’s unclear what Rice or President George W. Bush knew about the extent of the torture. Sullivan was also an active Marine between 2004-2006, where he was stationed in the Middle East. I’ve asked his spokesman to what extent, if any. Sullivan knew about the program. I’ll post when I hear back.
Here are some excerpts from the summary and some reactions. Warning: Some of it is deeply disturbing:
The narrative of modern American history will be shaped by the documentation provided in CIA report. It is that big. http://t.co/IX5BcC6lGh
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) December 9, 2014
The report also claims that the Bush White House tried to make sure Colin Powell, the secretary of state, was not fully briefed. A CIA email from 2003 said the White House was “extremely concerned Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed about what’s been going on.” The CIA briefed two senior senators about some aspects of the programme in 2002 but refused to tell other members of the Senate intelligence committee about it until September 6, 2006 – the same day Mr Bush acknowledged the programme in a public speech. Yet during that period the CIA tried to reassure other agencies that the Senate was fully informed on the programme and it “misrepresented the views of members of Congress on a number of occasions,” according to the report.
These tweets are from John Schindler, a former National Security Agency official and US Naval war college professor, who is a strong defender of the intelligence world.
It’s GOP’s fault putting IC in terrible post-9/11 position re torture. It’s now Dems fault 4 telling the world. Which is gratuitous & worse. — John Schindler (@20committee) December 9, 2014
Seems lot of folks are having a hard time accepting how Dems just gratuitously f***d the IC and US allies. Remember this. It ought to burn. — John Schindler (@20committee) December 9, 2014
I know v senior Western intel types who collaborated w/IC on renditions, etc. They are beyond furious today. Gotten hellish emails already. — John Schindler (@20committee) December 9, 2014