CIA Won’t Defend Its Torturers

The CIA’s torture program has been well documented in the media and in films like Doctors of the Dark Side, so the only likely surprise when the Senate Intelligence Committee releases it’s expected “torture report” is that the CIA won’t defend itself too vigorously. Story from Daily Beast:

There may have been bourbon punch and festive lights at the CIA’s holiday party Friday night, but a frosty gloom hung in the air.

As everyone in the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters knew, the long-awaited “torture report” from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Democrats was set to drop early the next week, perhaps as soon as Monday morning. It seemed a rather awkward time for a party.

The CIA’s response to the report will be muted. The agency will neither defend the so-called rendition, detention, and interrogation programs. Nor will the CIA disavow those controversial efforts entirely. According to current and former officials familiar with the higher-ups’ thinking, CIA Director John Brennan is likely to keep his powder dry and essentially agree to disagree with the agency’s critics. Even though some CIA employees remain convinced that brutal interrogations of suspected terrorists, including waterboarding, produced useful information that helped prevent terrorist attacks, the agency’s leaders will take no position on whether that information could have been obtained through less coercive means.

Such a Jesuitical response will do absolutely nothing to satisfy critics of the program or its supporters—some of whom still go work at Langley every day. But it’s the result of the precarious political position that Brennan finds himself in now.

“There is a feeling in the hallways that Brennan is not pursuing their best interest,” said a former intelligence official who talks to friends at headquarters. “That, in fact, he’s pursuing the White House’s best interest. And they’re getting thrown under the bus. It goes back to the one basic thing: Whether they did right or they did wrong, they were told to do something, they did it, and they feel like they had the rug pulled out from underneath them. They feel sold down the river, and Brennan is part of the sale process.”

Those disgruntled analysts and spies will find more vocal defenders in a group of former officials who’ve read the findings, and who pledged not to discuss them until they were made public. These officials have penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, which will be published soon after the report is publicly released. In it, according to a source familiar with the contents, the formers will lay out their fierce rebuttal of the committee’s findings—nearly all of which have already been leaked—and blast what they see as a biased, five-year process that culminated in a flawed history of the rendition, detention, and interrogation efforts.

For pro-release activists, the dissemination of the report would be a holiday present, years in the making. And they’re already concerned about deflecting the impending pushback against the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings…

[continues at Daily Beast]


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