Senator Diane Feinstein chose to release the Senate Intelligence Committee majority report of Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation after 9/11 yesterday. Today’s Wall Street Journal posted two editorials on the release of the report–one editorial entitled, “Spooks of the Senate,” and one opinion piece by former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general) and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes.
The Spooks of the Senate piece points out:
It (the report) devotes 6,000 pages to marshalling evidence to indict the CIA program, and nothing was going to interfere with its appointed verdict.
Not former CIA directors, who weren’t even interviewed (see the op-ed nearby). Not the virtues of bipartisanship, as the GOP minority staff were reduced to bystanders (see the minority report). And not the requirements of future security, which have been sacrificed to the immediate need to embarrass the agency to prove that Democrats were right.
The worst CIA failing in the report is poor management and a lack of adequate oversight. Junior officials were put in charge of detainees when wiser hands were needed, and in one case a detainee died from hypothermia. This may have resulted from the rapid CIA recruitment after 9/11, but it is a major failing, especially given the political backlash that CIA leaders knew was inevitable.
The opinion piece by the former Directors reminds us:
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation—essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks.
Examining how the CIA handled these matters is an important subject of continuing relevance to a nation still at war. In no way would we claim that we did everything perfectly, especially in the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. As in all wars, there were undoubtedly things in our program that should not have happened. When we learned of them, we reported such instances to the CIA inspector general or the Justice Department and sought to take corrective action.
The country and the CIA would have benefited from a more balanced study of these programs and a corresponding set of recommendations. The committee’s report is not that study. It offers not a single recommendation.
I have no idea what the motive for the undertaking and release of such a biased report was. However, it is time to put political bias aside and get down to the business of defending America. The current crop of Washington ‘leaders’ has run up an unreasonable deficit, cut our military back to a dangerous level, and padded their own nests constantly. There are a few exceptions, but the Democrats and establishment Republicans are working very hard to prevent them from doing anything constructive. It is truly time to clean house in Washington. Watch the voting in the House and the Senate in the next two years and cast your vote accordingly. We need to elect leaders who actually represent us–not their own political and private interests.