Laura Rozen has been reporting an angle of the Jane Harman story that has been largely neglected elsewhere–the possibility that this story is coming out now as a way to hit Harman, the fiercest critic of the torture program.
A former senior U.S. intelligence officer said he heard during work on the Hill in the 2004 time period of whispers among members of the intelligence committees and their staffs that Harman was allegedly caught up in some Israel-related case that would likely prevent her from getting the chairmanship of the committee she sought. He also said that it was clear that Goss and Harman (and their staffs) fiercely disliked each other.
But he wondered if the timing of this story was about changing the subject, from what Bush-era officials had authorized, to what the Congress was complicit in. "Is this about taking pressure off the revelations of waterboarding and the memos?" he speculated. "And the fact," he added, "that no real intelligence came out of this whole effort?" referring to the enhanced interrogation/torture regime revealed in the memos, which he said produced no actionable intelligence.
(For his part, Stein said in an online chat Monday afternoon that he had had the story for a while, and only decided to move on it now.)
But the former intelligence official familiar with the matter noted that Goss has given only one on-the-record interview on these CIA controversies since leaving the CIA director job. In the December 2007 interview, he said that Congressional leaders, including Representatives Pelosi and Goss himself, Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), and later Rep. Harman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), had been briefed on CIA waterboarding back in 2002 and 2003. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," Goss told the Washington Post. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."
Who was the lone lawmaker the article identified as objecting to the program?
The story is plausible not just because Porter Goss–both a former Congressman and former DCI–might fit as one of the sources for all the intelligence reporters covering this story. But also because we know Porter Goss was doing a masterful job working the press to distract from his role in the torture tape destruction (that’s what his on-the-record interview was all about). Read more