The Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday released its report on the CIA excluding the who, when and where of its topic. After negotiations between administration officials (at times including the President) and committee chairperson Diane Feinstein of California (AP photo, below), according to Politico's Josh Gerstein
The 528-page summary had 7 percent of its words blacked out, obscuring the titles of CIA staffers and dates of critical events. On top of that, there are code names for so-called black sites and pseudonyms for two key CIA contractors who carried out the bulk of the harshest interrogations.
Sometimes the public version of the report piles opacity on opacity, deleting codes already intended to obscure basic information. The original Senate report used letters to represent the foreign countries involved, but the CIA and the White House insisted that even those letters be blacked out before the review was made public....
Blacking out most CIA officers’ names rather than providing pseudonyms made it almost impossible to track what knowledge they had from emails, memos or experience with other interrogations.
While some officials are named because they were already known publicly, one US intelligence official said "there are other CIA officers whose identities are not revealed because there is a reasonable possibility that these officers would be subject to threats and possible violence if their identities were revealed." The worse the transgressions, the more involved in torture the individual, the less likely his/her name is revealed and the more likely it will remain a secret to the American people. That's a sweet deal for the most egregious torturers, who are violating an international treaty and by U.S. law are subject to twenty years in prison. Or death.
During what Politico's Jennifer Epstein wrote was "a call with reporters," on Tuesday "a senior administration official" stated
I think that there is value in transparency in the sense that by being transparent and by providing this information to the public, it adds another strong piece of evidence as to why we should not do these things as a country,The release … I think helps cement the notion that we should not do these things because in a democracy the American people can take a hard look at this information themselves and I think generally speaking the American people reject the notion that we have to utilize these types of brutal tactics in service of our own security.
President Obama believes we are a nation of laws, as long as they're not enforced. In a statement, he maintained "I hope that today's report can help us leave these techniques where they belong- in the past."
Oh sure, it won't happen again. In related news: Martians will be performing next Thursday in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza for the first of three planned concerts for the "Today Show." Joining them will be Kenny Chesney and Beyonce for an eclectic group of stars sure to satisfy the entire family.
Discussing on "Meet The Press" domestic CIA activities in the 1970s, the late Senator Frank Church (D-ID) at the time said
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
The abyss was crossed. It has been again. And it will again. Thank you for the hope and change, President Obama.