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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

 
Torture? What torture?

by digby

I'm sure most people have no problem with this. After all, the world is full of dangerous people and we need to keep an eye on them lest they kill us in our beds:
The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.

The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.

The development marks an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the CIA and its congressional overseers amid an extraordinary closed-door battle over the 6,300-page report on the agency’s use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists held in secret overseas prisons. The report is said to be a searing indictment of the program. The CIA has disputed some of the reports findings.

White House officials have closely tracked the bitter struggle, a McClatchy investigation has found. But they haven’t directly intervened, perhaps because they are embroiled in their own feud with the committee, resisting surrendering top-secret documents that the CIA asserted were covered by executive privilege and sent to the White House.

McClatchy’s findings are based on information found in official documents and provided by people with knowledge of the dispute being fought in the seventh-floor executive offices of the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Va., and the committee’s high-security work spaces on Capitol Hill.
I think it's very cute that the CIA sent these torture documents to the White House so they could be covered up under executive privilege --- and that the White House is actually acquiescing.

But hey, there's no reason to suspect our fine public servants in the secret surveillance and clandestine services would ever use their power for anything but good. We need to trust them. Just because they are covering up their crimes and spying on the staff of Senators tasked with oversight doesn't mean we should be skeptical of their goodness and righteousness. Those Senate staffers -- hell, the Senators themselves --- could be terrorists. We really can't be too careful.

Oh, and by the way, this isn't ancient history. As this piece from a few years back pointed out, the Obama administration's reversion to the Army Field Manual guidelines did not eliminate torture from the tool kit as we were led to believe. It doesn't allow waterboarding or putting people in coffins with bugs to drive them crazy like the Yoo-approved methods did. But what it does allow is still plenty bad. Also too: force feeding in Guantanamo.

The torture continues.

But never say the US Government doesn't have a sense of humor:



Update: The Guardian adds this little detail:
A leading US senator has said that President Obama knew of an “unprecedented action” taken by the CIA against the Senate intelligence committee, which has apparently prompted an inspector general’s inquiry at Langley.

The subtle reference in a Tuesday letter from Senator Mark Udall to Obama, seeking to enlist the president’s help in declassifying a 6,300-page inquiry by the committee into torture carried out by CIA interrogators after 9/11, threatens to plunge the White House into a battle between the agency and its Senate overseers.

McClatchy and the New York Times reported Wednesday that the CIA had secretly monitored computers used by committee staffers preparing the inquiry report, which is said to be scathing not only about the brutality and ineffectiveness of the agency’s interrogation techniques but deception by the CIA to Congress and policymakers about it. The CIA sharply disputes the committee’s findings.

Udall, a Colorado Democrat and one of the CIA’s leading pursuers on the committee, appeared to reference that surreptitious spying on Congress, which Udall said undermined democratic principles.

“As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal CIA review and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight powers and for our democracy,” Udall wrote to Obama on Tuesday.

Independent observers were unaware of a precedent for the CIA spying on the congressional committees established in the 1970s to check abuses by the intelligence agencies.

h/t to @attackerman

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