What will John Brennan do, Suspend his operations?

Brennan with Torture

These with a thousand small deliberations

Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,

Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,

With pungent sauces, multiply variety

In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,

Suspend its operations, will the weevil

Delay?

–T.S. Eliot, Gerontian

This image — captioned, “President Barack Obama talks with CIA Director John Brennan, center, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in a West Wing hallway of the White House, May 10, 2013” – may officially be my new favorite official White House photograph.

I first learned of it when Katherine Hawkins pointed to this MuckRock FOIA request, which noted that the document in Brennan’s hand was titled, “The Central Intelligence Agency’s Response to The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.”

In other words, John Brennan was speaking to Obama and the Chief of Staff about CIA’s complaints about the SSCI Torture Report on May 10. And White House photographer Pete Souza had framed the event amidst reflections and dark lighting that would make even James Jesus Angleton weep.

I’m fond of the photo, too, for what it shows.

As you recall, SSCI’s torture report was completed last December. CIA was initially supposed to respond to SSCI about the report by February 15, but that got held up, in part, because of Brennan’s confirmation, during which he appeared to avoid reading the report to avoid saying anything about it before being confirmed. Almost immediately after Brennan was confirmed, the CIA started leaking about how much they didn’t like it (even while claiming they still hadn’t finished reviewing the document). It turns out those leaks were factually incorrect. On April 11, Brennan was still stalling about the content of the review and completely ignoring any possibility it would be released publicly (though had spoken with Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss earlier that week about it). On May 1, Mark Udall got shrill, advising the President he could “excise the demons” of torture by releasing the report. On May 7, CIA was still compiling its “defiant” response to the report; National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden told me the White House was still reviewing the document. Also on May 7, a collection of human rights organizations called on the White House to appoint someone to oversee the release of the report.

3 days later, Brennan was in the White House with a report on CIA’s complaints about the report, all written up.

But here’s the thing: that meeting was May 10. It was almost 7 weeks later before Brennan would present that report (again with leaks about how inaccurate millions of CIA cables are) — in the company of Joe Biden — to Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss (though there were reports that they ended up discussing other issues instead).

CIA has had its complaints all typed up for over two months now. And the only sign of any discussion about declassifying the report that describes how many lies CIA told about this program is Feinstein’s request to Jim Comey in his confirmation hearing that he would read it, why by itself seems a concession that we all won’t get to.

So did the White House decide not to release the report two months ago and just never tell us all?

Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

15 Responses to What will John Brennan do, Suspend his operations?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV RT @GatorZoneBB: #Gators Ranked No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll #ItsGreatUF http://t.co/FU12KqXCw7
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Popehat can you also represent me in suit v ZD30 for facilitating Party's illegal leaks?
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @NickBaumann Any reason to believe she--who bought house in own name-- covert? Even people who were govt has shown great negligence with
45mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dnvolz not at all. They've used "torture" for some time.
58mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Glad NYT calling for torture prosecution. Pretty funny to call those who refuse to use T-word blinkered apologists bc NYT just adopted Tword
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Remember Curveball? Turns out torture has a Curveball too. http://t.co/b5LvTDojEX
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Add torture and the Internet dragnet to Bush programs partly justified by a fabricator. http://t.co/b5LvTDojEX
2hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @GreggJLevine: How false witness helped CIA make a case for torture //very excited to welcome @emptywheel to the pages of @AJAM http://t…
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @GreggJLevine: How false witness helped CIA make a case for torture //very excited to welcome @emptywheel to the pages of @AJAM http://t…
2hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Werner was basketball Driskel. RT @gatorhoops: @APMarkLong Werner had Charlie Brown syndrome, a.knack.for making losing plays.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV One of four genetic tests #FBI used on #anthrax samples had 43% false negative rate. Still used it! #Amerithrax https://t.co/3yUk5sKX7n
3hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Re-upping: GAO Analysis Highlights Lab Samples Excluded in Sloppy FBI Anthrax Investigation https://t.co/tayFUfUjol
3hreplyretweetfavorite
July 2013
S M T W T F S
« Jun   Aug »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031