CIA Finishes Its Torture Report Redactions As Relations With Senate Intelligence Committee Have Become 'Strained'
from the shouldn't they always be that way dept
As you may recall, back in April, the Senate finally voted to declassify parts of the executive summary of its $40 million, 6,300-page report on the disastrous CIA torture program. Of course, as part of that, the White House said it would let the CIA take a first crack at figuring out what to redact, with the expected answer being “a whole hell of a lot.” The CIA has apparently now turned its first draft of redactions over to the White House, which is expected to further redact things, because the State Department is afraid that releasing the report might make people angry at US officials. While that may be true, it would seem that the proper response to that would have been to, you know, not torture people, rather than to hide the report under a bunch of black ink.
Of course, there’s a separate meta-drama within all of this, which was the big fight between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee who wrote the report, after it came out that the CIA spied on the Senate staffers working on this report. That got even more messy, when the CIA then asked the DOJ to investigate those Senate staffers for possible crimes, while the Senate also asked the DOJ to investigate if the CIA had broken the law in spying on those staffers’ computers. Needless to say, there’s been something of a chill in “relations” between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In the Politico report about the CIA handing the report over to the White House, it includes a tidbit at the end, suggesting that the chilly relationship has not thawed at all:
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a former Intelligence Committee chairman, said the declassification process has strained relations between the committee and the administration’s intelligence apparatus. The CIA has accused the committee of removing an internal interrogation review from its facilities — and Feinstein has charged that the CIA erred in removing that document from the committee’s computers.
“There’s a code of silence. And it stems from the redaction of this enhanced interrogation, torture report,” Rockefeller said of congressional relations with the CIA.
While the “code of silence” seems stupid and petty, frankly, it’s probably a good thing that the sides aren’t too chummy. The whole point of the Intelligence Committees in both houses of Congress is supposed to be for oversight of the intelligence community. However, in recent years that’s obviously changed into something entirely different, where those Committees seemed much more focused on being the intelligence community’s cheerleaders and defenders, rather than overseers. The relationship here should be somewhat adversarial. No one’s saying they need to hate each others’ guts, but it’s pretty clear that bad things happen when the relationship has become downright friendly.