The Dianne Feinstein-Jose Rodriguez Grudge Match

It cannot be sheer coincidence that Dianne Feinstein released two letters to acting CIA Director Michael Morell just hours before WaPo published yet another fact-free defense of torture from Jose Rodriguez.

In addition to demanding proof for assertions Morell made–after DiFi sent her first letter–in a letter to CIA employees about Zero Dark Thirty…

In your December 21, 2012, statement to CIA employees regarding the film, Zero Dark Thirty, you state that “the film creates the strong impression that enhanced interrogation techniques” were “the key to finding Bin Ladin” and that this impression “is false.” However, you went on to refer to multiple streams of intelligence that led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was hiding in Abbottabad and stated that “Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. And, importantly, whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved.”

DiFi also noted (in her first letter) that the false assertions in the film tracked public claims made by Michael Hayden and Rodriguez.

As you know, the film depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees. The film then credits CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques as providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the UBL compound. While this information is incorrect, it is consistent with public statements made by former Director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

DiFi sent her first letter December 19. Morell made his incorrect claims two days later. Then DiFi demanded he back his claims on Monday.

Then here we are, on Thursday, with Rodriguez both denying the brutal aspects of the torture depicted in the movie resemble what the CIA did, while claiming (as DiFi predicted) that torture was central to finding Osama bin Laden.

I guess this is why the name of Jane Harman–who may have been terrible on a number of points but pushed back on the Bush Administration’s torture regime–got floated in the last few days as CIA Director, instead of Morell, who had previously been a lock?

In addition to preventing Morell from officially directing the CIA, DiFi does have another way to respond to this insubordination: to release her long report showing that torture not only didn’t work, but did resemble the brutal scenes in the movie.

Mind you, she’s going to face an increasingly fierce battle over classification. Does CIA retain primary classification authority for the program–in which case they’ll fight her? Or does Obama–and will the CIA’s godfather, John Brennan, allow the report to be released?

In any case, this seems a clear moment when DiFi’s authority (indeed, when Congress’ authority) on an issue on which she has been productive, is being challenged head on.

We shall see whether the Congressional overseer or the torturer wins this battle.

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emptywheel @MuskegonCritic But you were willing to send him all the carp he wanted to fertilize his fields?
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emptywheel @sarahjeong There's a special exception for you on the terrorist watchlist guidelines because of it too.
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emptywheel @HinaShamsi Also, generally, girls.
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emptywheel Ut oh. Arms merchants selling to terrorists are also suspected terrorists. Long line of Americans and their friends on that puppy.
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emptywheel If corporations are people can we put the whole damn thing on a No Fly list?
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emptywheel Also, HSBC should be on this terrorist watchlist thingie. That one's a no-brainer. JP Morgan Chase too.
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emptywheel RT @srubenfeld: Exclusive: SEC turns over anonymous whistleblower tip - on judge's order - to hedge fund where tip alleged wrongdoing http:…
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emptywheel Certainly terrorist activities 20 years ago still count, per exmple. How about 30 years ago?
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emptywheel Back to reading Terror Watchlist. I honestly believe that Peter King still qualifies. Am I reading this properly?
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emptywheel @nadabakos It wouldn't be Aspen then. But yes, it would be refreshing and valuable. @MiekeEoyang
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emptywheel RT @joshgerstein: DC Circuit issues rare mandamus order nixing deposition for Vilsack in Sherrod v. Breitbart lawsuit http://t.co/Pz1RjXFcw6
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emptywheel @attackerman Don't forget surveill everyoneinthewideworldistan. In case they become Whereverthefuckistan.
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