White House Can’t Contain Feinstein-led Revolt Against CIA Torture Coverup

The White House and members of NerObama’s inner circle are frantically trying to squelch the revolt led by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has publicly clashed with CIA Director John Brennan over the Committee’s classified report on the CIA/Dick Cheney-run post-9/11 detention and torture program, the 480-page Executive Summary of which the Committee has just submitted to the White House for rapid declassification.

An article in Friday’s Politico documents the CIA’s—actually the White House’s—panicked efforts to “reset” relations with the Senate, to “de-escalate” the tensions caused by Brennan’s blatant interference with the committee’s investigation. Brennan has written to key Senate leaders and met privately with them, saying he seeks a “sensible” way to resolve the conflict, while the White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler is reportedly playing a “behind-the-scenes” role, and VP Joe Biden may be deployed to hold high-level talks between senior CIA officials and Intelligence Committee leaders. Since Brennan is impossible to get along with, the “more personable” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is being brought in to mediate a solution. The lie is that Obama, who is protecting Cheney and the CIA, “hasn’t stepped into the dispute.”

Politico indicates that the CIA/White House is in trouble, however, and recent leaks on the report’s twenty conclusions, which document the scope of the CIA’s lies about the program, have upped the ante tremendously. Among other things, the conclusions describe the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques, and conditions of detainee confinement, as “brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.” Another of the conclusions states that the CIA’s lies to the Department of Justice about the nature of the program, became the basis for the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel opinions stating that the torture program was legal, or that “it wasn’t torture.” Everything the CIA did was aimed at impeding proper oversight, whether by the White House, the Congress, or the CIA’s own Inspector General, the Senate report charges.
McClatchy: 20 Findings of SI Committee Report on CIA Torture Program

The Committee’s complete list of findings follows.

The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques did not effectively assist the agency in acquiring intelligence or in gaining cooperation from detainees.

The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

The CIA subjected detainees to interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.

The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.

The CIA inaccurately characterized the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques to justify their use.

The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques was brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.

The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.

The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision making.

The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.

Numerous internal critiques and objections concerning the CIA’s management and use of the Detention and Interrogation were ignored.

The CIA manipulated the media by coordinating the release of classified information, which inaccurately portrayed the effectiveness of the agencys enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.

The way in which the CIA operated and managed the program complicated, and in some cases hindered the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.

Management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout its duration, particularly so in 2002 and 2003.

Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and were central figures in the program’s operation. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.

The effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques was not sufficiently evaluated by the CIA.

CIA personnel who were responsible for serious violations, inappropriate behavior, or management failures in the program’s operation were seldom reprimanded or held accountable by the agency.

The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program ended by 2006 due to legal and oversight concerns, unauthorized press disclosures and reduced cooperation from other nations.

The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States global reputation, and came with heavy costs, both monetary and non-monetary.

While Feinstein has requested that the White House declassify the Senate committee’s Executive Summary, some Democrats on the panel are already warning they may push to declassify the full 6,300-page report. Reflecting the pressure, on April 10, 40 House Democrats, organized by Rep. Adam Schiff, wrote to Obama urging him to declassify the committee’s Executive Summary and major findings, “expeditiously and in their entirety…The American people need and deserve a full account of the actions that were taken in their name through the use of torture and enhanced interrogations on detainees.”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Utah), who sits on the Intelligence Committee, also wrote to Obama on Friday, pointing out the absurdity of the White House decision that CIA would conduct the declassification review. Udall notes that, as Senator Feinstein has stated, it is the President of the United States who should take the lead on this “to ensure that as much of this important document as possible will see the light of day.” To have the CIA oversee this is a gross conflict of interest, Udall said, amplified by the CIA’s intimidation tactics, seen in its unauthorized search of the Intelligence Committee’s computers, and its criminal referral of Committee staff to the DOJ.

Echoing the sentiments of Senator Feinstein and former Intelligence Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller, expressed in a Washington Post opinion piece yesterday, Udall noted that the fact that the report drew on 6 million of the CIA’s own records, it is a “factual representation of the program and how it was run.”

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