As Monday morning kicked off, the big news was not that my St. Louis Rams continue to impress as they climb to .500 with back-to-back shutout wins (albeit against Oakland and Washington), but the haggling over a Senate report on CIA interrogation methods in the War on Terror, including torture such as sleep deprivation, confinement, and waterboarding.
The report, a 480 page summary of a 6,000 page classified document, is basically the first public accounting of the CIA's tactics with detainees held in secret facilities in the years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The report has taken five years to complete, due to numerous delays, and has reportedly cost upwards of $40 million to produce.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been pushing for a release of the report for months now, with the latest wrinkle being Secretary of State John Kerry playing middleman for the White House to ask Feinstein for a continued delay, due to perceptions the report could put American personnel overseas at risk from increased extremist action. Naturally, at this stage of the game, the predominant worry is that Democrats will run out of time to release the report before the Republican majority assumes control in January.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) agrees with Kerry, telling CNN's State of the Union over the weekend that "Foreign partners are telling us this will cause violence and deaths. Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths." Rogers has also questioned why the report needs to become public, as the Justice Department investigation resulted in no criminal charges being filed.
Detractors, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, fear the report could undermine cooperation between the U.S. and other countries on intelligence and counterterrorism, although Feinstein maintained recently to the Los Angeles Times the tactics undermined "societal and constitutional values that we are very proud of. Anybody who reads this is going to never let this happen again."
Okay. Both sides of the argument seem perfectly valid, but it's kind of hard not to lean toward releasing the report. Granted, there might be some blowback, but at the same time and going beyond the Democrats' notion of transparency, is there really anything in that report, all 480 presumably ponderous pages, that will actually shock anyone with its revelation? We've been joking about it for decades. The world's been joking about it for decades.
Also, as for Feinstein's contention that anyone who reads the report "is going to never let this happen again..." Yeah, that's cute as hell. She can just go on believing that.
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