Senate Intelligence Torture Report: CIA Lied to the White House and the Public

I’m going to have a few more posts on Ron Wyden’s letter to John Brennan in advance of Brennan’s confirmation hearing.

In light of the Zero Dark Thirty debate and Dianne Feinstein’s spat with Michael Morell, I find this passage rather interesting.

I am particularly interested in getting your reaction to the report’s revelation that the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information about its interrogation program to the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress, and your view on what steps should be taken to correct inaccurate statements that were made to the public.

Frankly, it shouldn’t be a “revelation” that CIA lied to the Justice Department and Congress, at least. As I was able to show from publicly released documents, CIA was running an op on Congress. And it presented misleading documents to DOJ, both in terms of details about the techniques CIA would use as well as the crimes committed under the torture program (though I think both Congress and especially DOJ allowed themselves to be lied to at various points).

Nevertheless, it is apparently a significant conclusion of the torture program that CIA was lying to every potential avenue of oversight over their program.

Frankly, any approach to Brennan’s confirmation hearings that doesn’t also demand public release of the torture report would be yet more dereliction of Congress’ oversight role (either in his role in the White House or his prospective role at CIA, John Brennan would seem to have a significant role in Classification Authority for the torture program, so it should be a fair demand). Sadly, we probably won’t get it.

But even as a slew of journalists and film critics debate whether ZD30 is a CIA effort to pitch their torture program in the best light or not, we have yet more confirmation that CIA lied … to everyone (except maybe Cheney and Addington?).

Even as Wyden asks Brennan what steps he’ll take to make sure CIA doesn’t lie to every entity exercising oversight over it, Zero Dark 30 continues to pack theaters and convince squishy liberals torture worked.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. What Constitution? says:

    Let’s have a real confirmation hearing on Brennan, please, America. Let’s have the Congress find out what Brennan and the CIA have been doing before anointing Brennan the High Inquisitor. Let’s thank Wyden for framing these questions and insist the Senate demand that the Obama administration show Obama meant what he said in his inaugural yesterday, when he revived a reference to the Rule of Law here at the outset of his second term.

    Thanks once more, EW. It’s not OK to pretend a “debate” about torture revolves around whether movie critics wonder whether it “worked”. And then to ignore all other aspects and ramifications because (1) “bin Laden is dead, hooray” and (2) St. Brennan is said to possess “moral rectitude?” Moral wrecked-itude, perhaps. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” Just mentioning, there are indeed rules here — and the point is we ain’t using them and that doesn’t explain why we shouldn’t have to, or why the guy most practiced at secretly ignoring them should be confirmed by the Senate to be in charge of ignoring them.

    At least there was a little pushback to the ambivalence reflected in the likes of Jon Stewart’s recent ditherings, this from Bill Maher:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaF-UhCcMTo

  2. klynn says:

    Would love a letter campaign to happen re: Brennan. And include the import to release the torture report in said letter writing.

  3. Ben Franklin says:

    We can thank Congress and Truman for this uncontrollable Wild Beast. Truman signed it, aboard the fore-runner to Air Force One, appropriately called Sacred Cow. Is there any unified contingent to make them truly accountable? After being stabbed in the back, JFK resolved to break it up into a million pieces, and we see how that worked out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Act_of_1947

  4. Teddy says:

    I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have traded DiFi and Boxer for Wyden and, especially, Merkley. From their full-throated questioning, without partisan diatribe, of this Administration to their constituent service and communications, these two Oregonians are simply remarkable. Anyone hoping to serve a newly sworn Senator in the current class should make an effort to study these two men’s offices, manners, speeches, letters, and personal appearances.

    We are very, very lucky here.

  5. Jacob Gabel says:

    I was tortured for almost 3 years by the FBI and their friends only
    because 85 years old man, Roland Sibens(chicago) convinced them that I
    am a terrorist. I was tortured for working on my prosthetic legs in
    the basement. I done absolutely nothing illegal or wrong. They thought
    that in theory it is possible to hide bomb in them. They saw an
    opportunity to get famous, so they were trying to torture me till I
    sign their insane story. They tortured me using more than 100
    different torturing methods and trust to me waterboarding is not how
    they torture nowadays. I dont know where to find justice.

    I think that after 9/11 things got out of control. Freedom fighters
    became tyrants. In 1945, most Germans had an opportunity to learn about Nazis death
    camps. I hope that one day American citizens will get chance to learn about people
    like me, who were tortured with no reason for years.

  6. Jeff Kaye says:

    Wow. What courage by Sen. Wyden! How many years has he been waiting to hear about executive branch explanations on assassination? What a stern letter. I can’t wait to see Brennan confirmed by a vote of maybe 94-2 (my prediction — Petraeus, of course, was confirmed 94-0).

    And who would have thought that Wyden was a high ironist. Consider this unforgettable tidbit from his letter: “And I believe that every American has the right to know when their government believes it has the right to kill them.” Now, is that before or after they are killed… just kiddin’ (I think).

    While Wyden shows a modicum of conscience, he would do better to turn to his colleagues and denounce them for the schmucks they are. If he really had integrity, he’d tell people to flee from the war-crazied Democratic Party, whose president-leader amnesties torturers and jails those who exposed the torture. Form a new party, one not beholden to the rich, the Pentagon and spook empire, the war machine and corporate-energy aristocracy.

    But that isn’t going to happen, is it? It’s another capitulation coming our way, isn’t it? Well, no. It’s not a “capitulation.” It’s who they really are.

    Congress should put a sign up on its door: six decades of alibing the worst crimes, and we’re never going to stop doing it.

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