Brennan Cedes to Feinstein on Torture Tape Destroyer But “Defiant” on Torture Report

The WaPo reports that the woman who helped Jose Rodriguez destroy the torture tapes will not — as had been floated — officially lead the Clandestine Services.

A female CIA officer who was the first woman to lead the agency’s clandestine service, but was also closely tied to the agency’s interrogation program, will not get to keep that job as part of a management shake-up announced Tuesday by CIA Director John O. Brennan, U.S. officials said.

The report (sourced to “US officials,” which can be code for members of Congress or staffers) emphasizes that the intervention of members of Congress — and Dianne Feinstein specifically — played in key role in persuading John Brennan such an appointment would be a problem.

But the woman, who remains under cover, faced opposition from senior lawmakers over her ties to an interrogation program that critics have said employed torture to get information from al-Qaeda captives after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

[snip]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had called Brennan to express concern over the possibility that someone so closely linked to the program would be put in position to lead the agency’s spying service.

Kudos to DiFi for what appears to be successful oversight.

The only problem is the same article notes that Brennan is preparing to blow off DiFi’s torture report.

The transition comes at a time when the agency is assembling what is said to be a defiant response to a recently completed report by the Senate Intelligence Committee that is sharply critical of the interrogation program and its results.

As I have noted in the past and elaborated on at Salon yesterday, Brennan’s “defiance” should not matter. Ultimately, the White House has the authority to release the report.

But it’s trying to dodge the issue.

And now, in spite of Panetta’s claims that the White House originally made torture a SAP, the White House has done nothing to accelerate the release of a report that — according to Democrats on the committee and John McCain — will correct many misconceptions about the torture program.

Of course, as president, Obama would have the authority to order John Brennan to declassify the report in any case. But the White House seems unwilling to acknowledge whether it possesses the sole authority over this decision. In response to a question whether — as Panetta’s statement indicates — the White House has classification authority over the program, NSC spokesperson Caitlin Hayden didn’t answer.

Instead, she used the same kind of stalling technique as the CIA:

The Administration is currently reviewing the full 6,000 page report at the invitation of the SSCI and we look forward to working with the Committee once that review is complete.

I suspect the White House will use Brennan’s “defiance” as cover for keeping the report hidden.

What Brennan does in personnel decisions that remain hidden won’t get the CIA out of the torture business. Only real transparency on it will.

Update: The Cable published the entire letter announcing the personnel changes at CIA. It ends with this claim about the woman passed over at Clandestine Services.

The assertion she was not chosen because of her affiliation with the CT mission is absolutely not true.

I guess for the CIA, destroying evidence of torture is considered “the [counterterrorism] mission.”

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

5 Responses to Brennan Cedes to Feinstein on Torture Tape Destroyer But “Defiant” on Torture Report

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @Rschooley Oh. That's a potentially genius theory. Especially w/Trump running the Reality Show now. @KevinMKruse
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KevinMKruse Damn you Ted Cruz!! You've spoiled Kristol's not-at-all-laid-plans!
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KimZetter This is the same govt that pretends they know nothing about StuxNet, right? They have reason to pretend you're a unicorn.
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KevinMKruse You're an expert: don't megachurches host 79K people in one place on Sundays?
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KyleHuckins213 Don't tell him. But at least say, "Kristol's efforts are doomed to fail as he has already missed key deadlines."
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Shouldn't people talking abt Kristol's indy recruitment mention things like deadlines that have already passed? Or would that spoil the fun?
6mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @ryanjreilly: Your occasional reminder that sending politicians to prison is an excellent way to get them to support prison reform https…
19mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JennaMC_Laugh @bradheath Ah yes, the Friday DOJ comedy hour.
31mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @benwizner Heh, bourbon would probably fry the screen anyway.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @benwizner @whitneymuseum Does wheeled friend go out for cocktails?
35mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @runtodaylight: The Intelligence Community Casts Its Vote for Hillary Clinton https://t.co/qzrg16Gofu
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @smsaideman Who is that?
45mreplyretweetfavorite