I Hate to Say I Told You So, John Brennan Covering Up Torture Report Edition

Man, have the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — particularly Dianne Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller — been pawned. One of their key issues during John Brennan’s confirmation was the declassification of the 6,000 page torture report.

Based on both Saxby Chambliss’ representation of comments Brennan made in their private meeting and on the delayed CIA response about the report, I predicted Brennan would be stating publicly what he stated privately (not having read most of the report yet) to Saxby.

During John Brennan’s confirmation process, he answered questions about the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture with two faces. To Saxby Chambliss in private, he said he thought the report was a prosecutorial document, set up to come to pre-ordained conclusions. Publicly, to Democrats, he said he was shocked–shocked!–by what he had read in the Executive Summary of the report.

It was quite clear that Brennan was playing the lawmakers who would get to vote on his confirmation, but they didn’t delay his confirmation to resolve the report declassification.

When Brennan’s confirmation got delayed by demands to exercise oversight, the CIA delayed its response — originally due February 15 — on the contents of the report. Indefinitely.

All of this, of course, sets up Brennan to refuse to declassify the report because he believes (and, importantly, believed from the start, according to Saxby Chambliss) that the people who have now rushed his confirmation through were acting in an unfairly prosecutorial mode when they spent 5 years documenting what CIA did in its torture program.

Here’s what Brennan said to Jan Schakowsky yesterday when she asked about the report.

SCHAKOWSKY: Let me ask you also, Mr. Brennan, as you know, the Senate Intelligence Committee report on former CIA detention and interrogation practices is under review with the — within the administration and the agency. Comments were originally due back to the committee on February 15, though the reply has now been delayed indefinitely.

On March 7 in the New York Times, former CIA Senior Analyst, Emile Nakhleh said that if any person can take this on, it would be you, Director Brennan. It’s you and that, quote, “the institution would benefit from the eventual — eventual declassification and release of the study.”

What is the current status of the review of the report and can you please just, if you could, discuss the importance as a leader of the — the leader of the CIA of its release?

BRENNAN: Well, clearly, it’s — it’s an important report that was issued by the — the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I have as — as recently as earlier this [week] spoken with both the chairman and the vice chairman of the — the committee telling them that I am in the process of the reviewing of the — the document and will be getting back to them shortly. This is a 6,000 page document that has, you know, millions of pages behind it in terms of what was reviewed.

And so it’s my obligation as the Director of CIA to make sure that my response back to them is going to be thorough and as accurate as possible and will convey my views about what that report portrays about CIA’s past practices, what we have learned from that experience running the program as well as from that report and also to identify things that I might think that the — the committee may have — the committee’s report might not accurately represent. [my emphasis]

Schakowsky asked about the import of releasing the report, and Brennan instead responded by talking about using the report as a lessons learned document and also objecting to some of the things found in it.

But it sure looks like, unless someone starts pulling teeth, CIA will be “learning from this experience as well as from the report” in private, because Brennan pointedly didn’t respond to Schakowsky’s question about releasing the document publicly.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+2Email to someone

3 Responses to I Hate to Say I Told You So, John Brennan Covering Up Torture Report Edition

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @NC_Prime Yeah. Tho so much technically classified info is not all that sexy.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @NC_Prime The vetting process, like the treatment of leaks, is famously fraught with inconsistencies.
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @NC_Prime Given how Panetta gamed vetting not clear that would make difference.
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @EricBoehlert Bai is gonna Bai.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel We know Broadwell didn't publish info fr Petraeus' Black Books. But do we actually know she didn't pub CLASS info? https://t.co/z7nkt0U3YU
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel David Cole keeps selling CIA's propaganda. https://t.co/DU5dj8SxGE Why? Why not call on Obama to release REAL info abt responsibility?
29mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charlie_savage I'm sorry about your Bears. But think how happy you'll be when they spend all the money they've saved on Suh and/or Wilfork.
43mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ShawnMusgrave Oh, I already drank for that one. @JasonLeopold
46mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dametzger Because he knows where the bodies are buried.
48mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @7im That's probably what Al Gore was thinking in 1999.
52mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Reup: On day Petraeus lied to FBI abt sharing class info w/Broadwell, she claimed Benghazi was abt CIA detainees. https://t.co/4pyO3bn38F
54mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @jeffreycarr What I don't understand, given that casinos ALSO CI, is why we don't make bigger deal of Iran's hack of Sands.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2013
S M T W T F S
« Mar   May »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930