Senate's CIA "Torture Report"

It is truthbut truth is not always appearance.

~Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow (1999)

As readers undoubtedly already know...the Senate Intelligence Committee, under the auspice of Senator Dianne Feinstein, has released the very damning report titled "Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program." In it we see a pretty horrific picture painted of the CIA's interrogation program; ranging from allegations of "avoiding or impeding oversight" of any kind, was "brutal and far worse" than represented, "not an effective means of acquiring intelligence" etc. Fairly damning and damaging to the Agency's reputation as well as to the United States' standing in the world.

(Before I go on and for the integrity of this topic, I emphatically sanction the use of EIT's on terrorists--who seek to kill, torture, and subjugate the free people of this world in the name of "religious rectitude"--to secure their motivations and plans. My perspective on most foreign policy or security issues is strictly and religiously utilitarian. In that if actions maximize the overall benefit--protecting US civilians, military, and interests--is achieved then the judgement of the action--use of EIT's--should be measured by this metric.)

Now that that disclaimer is out of the way and there is no question as to my motivation let's get started with the critique.

The Partisan Nature of the Report

Absolutely the largest point that makes taking this report seriously extremely problematic is who produced it.

From the Washington Post(Emphasis Mine.)

The investigation was conducted exclusively by the Senate committee’s Democratic staff. Its release Tuesday is certain to stir new debate over a program that has been a source of contention since the first details about the CIA’s secret prison network began to surface publicly a decade ago
So...why weren't any Republican staffers present? Well...the blame and culpability for this being the case lies solely at the feet of the GOP.

“My predecessor, Sen. Bond, was the lead Republican on the Committee when the report was started. Sen. Bond’s determination early on was that this report was clearly a partisan effort, and there was no reason for the Republican staff to continue to participate,” Blunt said.  
(Emphasis Mine.)
Any present day Republican decrying the "partisan nature" of this report should shut his/her collective mouth. Because they, the GOP, had motive and opportunity to fight inside the committee and control some of the report's outcomes. Not take their toys and go home. Anyone who is politically active or pays attention should have known how that these little Progressive knobs would structure this report in the manner they did, it was or should have been expected.

Where the Republican leadership is concerned, these Democrat actions aren't or weren't some kind of fucking recent revelation brought on by a momentary lapse in their judgment. The Republican leadership had five years to mull over this and if they would have stayed engaged they might have had an opportunity to do something about it instead of just crying foul. All of this was part and parcel of the larger problem that has plagued these tools (Democrats) since 2007 and earlier--their Leftist extremism and their sick-headed and morally bankrupt agenda.

If you are uninitiated in the Progressive mind-set towards war and foreign policy, please see this post for an eye opening crash-course on their ludicrous philosophies.

Structure of the Report

By any means necessary...

~Jean Paul Sartre, Dirty Hands (1948)

Piggybacking of the abovementioned content, you would be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise that the Democratic staffers or their leadership didn't start this investigation with the presupposition that the Agency was guilty of transgressions. These little nihilists so vehemently opposed the use of EIT's that they would burst into histrionics at the mere mention of the acronym. So with all the emotional vomiting they had subjected the nation to over the years, they HAD to prove themselves correct.  Regardless of the cost and who it might affect.

In a op-ed for USA Today, former Senator, member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and DemocratBob Kerrey, echoed this sentiment, among other criticisms.
The Republicans checked out early* when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.
*One point I would like to make is that the motivation that supposedly led the GOP to "check out" for me is still no excuse, they should have stuck it out.

Another problem that this "investigation" suffers from is what was investigated. From the Bob Kerrey op-ed.

I have participated in two extensive investigations into intelligence failures, once when Aldrich Ames was discovered to be spying for Russia after he had done substantial damage to our human intelligence collection capability and another following the 9/11 attacks. In both cases we were very critical of the practices of the intelligence agencies. In both cases we avoided partisan pressure to blame the opposing party. In both cases Congress made statutory changes and the agencies changed their policies. It didn't make things perfect, but it did make them better.
In both of these efforts the committee staff examined documents and interviewed all of the individuals involved. The Senate's Intelligence Committee staff chose to interview no one. Their rationale - that some officers were under investigation and could not be made available – is not persuasive. Most officers were never under investigation and for those who were, the process ended by 2012.
Fairness should dictate that the examination of documents alone do not eliminate the need for interviews conducted by the investigators. Isolated emails, memos and transcripts can look much different when there is no context or perspective provided by those who sent, received or recorded them.
(Emphasis Mine.)
Timing of the Report's Release

The essential ingredient of politics is timing.

~Pierre Trudeau, 15th Prime Minister of Canada

There are many reasons that could be offered for the timing and release of this report. But rest assured, all of the reasons offered are purely political in nature. 

One motivation for the Democrats which has gained traction in conservatives circles was that report was coincidentally released as Jonathan Gruber was given his testimony to the House Oversight Committee on the 10th. Mr. Gruber, in case you forgot, was the so-called architect of Obamacare who recently and on several occasions called the American people, "stupid." 

Another reason that could be considered is that in one month the Democrats are leaving their majority position in Congress. They know full well that propaganda piece would probably have not seen the light of day when the Republicans took over. So they do what Democrats do, they shit all over everything before turning over the keys.

Timing, for Feinstein was a big factor. "I realize the Senate changes leadership in January, and so the likelihood of the report coming out next year was slim and none, so we had a limited opportunity after five and a half years of work to get this out," she said. She conceded that the safety situation abroad was "difficult," but, she continued, "It's going to remain difficult."

Furthermore there is the aspect of hypocrisy and the depth to which Feinstein and her ilk actually oppose the use of EIT's.

From William McGurn in the New York Post

 If you really wanted to ensure the CIA never tortures again, why didn’t you just outlaw waterboarding and other methods you call torture altogether — instead of leaving it to an executive order another president might reverse?  
The honest answer to this question speaks to contemporary congressional morality, and underscores how the loudest notes of moral outrage in the Beltway are so often sounded by its least serious people.
After all, back in 2009 the stars were all in alignment for putting a ban into law. The war in Iraq had been turned around by the surge; the CIA in fact hadn’t waterboarded anyone since 2004; and the need for harsh tactics, if ever they were necessary, seemed far behind us.

Indeed...? Why not end it?

Back in 2009 the Democrats had the political capital, the moral authority, and above all else the control of the executive branch and the legislative numbers to make this happen. Beyond burning down the building on the way out, this lends itself to the upcoming general election in 2016. Since the Democrats took such a drubbing in the mid-terms--getting completely decimated in the South--there base is disillusioned, beaten down to the lowest level possible, and the country is souring on their brand. They need revival and they need it badly.

From Ferguson, to Eric Gardner, and now a play from the old playbook that was near and dear to the political hearts of the Progressive faithful...EIT's. Nothing gins up the base like a Bush administration/Iraq war related controversy.  The base gets motivated and therefore mobilized and the wheels will start to turn. But, how far the wheels will take them is another story altogether.

You see the attitude that American's possess towards EIT's has changed quite a bit since the mid-2000's.

From the  Pew Research Center,

Pew Research Center (Fact Tank, Dec 2014)
This may produce fire in the belly of the your local activist--or maybe just indigestion--but the average American is a little more pragmatic on the subject. So...parading the CIA report come election time and the Right will use it as a political wall that the Left's head will be smashed on.



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