QOTD: Mark Udall
On the revelation that the CIA has admitted to hacking into the the Senate computers and that John Brennan has created and "accountability board" chaired by the noted corporate hack Evan Bayh, Udall said:
"During CIA Director John Brennan's confirmation hearings, he promised to fundamentally change the culture at the CIA and to respect vigorous and independent congressional oversight. His actions and those of CIA officials whom he oversees have proven otherwise," Udall said in a statement. "From the unprecedented hacking of congressional staff computers and continued leaks undermining the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of the CIA's detention and interrogation program to his abject failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing by the agency, I have lost confidence in John Brennan."
That's nice. And it really is very bad that the CIA hacked into the Senate computers, thus violating the separation of powers. Very bad.
But it's not as bad as torturing people and getting away with it!!
Jesus H. Christ, Brennan was right in the middle of that whole thing and has been complicit in the cover-up. But the straw that broke the camel's back was leaking and hacking the Senate investigation?
The leak today of a confidential State Department memo says this:
"The report leaves no doubt that the methods used to extract information from some terrorist suspects caused profound pain, suffering and humiliation," the document states.
All day I've been watching villagers like Andrea Mitchell express righteous indignation over this unprecedented assault on the prerogatives of the Senate. (And yes,again, it's wrong.) But the torture itself? Well, it was bad, but the system worked. In fact, it worked so well that Obama hired John Brennan, who has spent his entire tenure protecting the CIA from any kind of accountability for the practice he was involved with.
"It also leaves no doubt that the harm caused by the use of these techniques outweighed any potential benefit."
But the document notes approvingly that "America's democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values".
President Barack Obama ordered a halt to the CIA's enhanced interrogation programme soon after taking office in 2009.
Are the American people being asked to entrust our clandestine spy agency and its killing and interrogation apparatuses to a man who was complicit in illegal torture?
Whatever. Just as long as they don't do something personally to Dianne Feinstein. That's a bridge too far.
There is strong circumstantial evidence that the answer is yes. At minimum, Brennan favored rendition and what he called "enhanced interrogation tactics" other than waterboarding. As Andrew Sullivan put it in 2008, when Obama first considered Brennan as CIA chief, "if Obama picks him, it will be a vindication of the kind of ambivalence and institutional moral cowardice that made America a torturing nation. It would be an unforgivable betrayal of his supporters and his ideals."