Jonathan Adler called it two days ago:
Let’s see now. Deficit projections are once again on the rise as Obama’s approval rating falls. Health-care reform is faltering, climate-change legislation is stalled, and David Axlerod is under fire for his conflicts of interest. Seems like a good time to change the subject. Contents of the CIA inspector general’s report on harsh interrogation methods have already leaked, so it won’t do the trick. If I were a betting man, I’d expect something else to drop Monday or Tuesday.
Turns out to be Monday:
The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter.
The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general but have never been released.
When the C.I.A. first referred its inspector general’s findings to prosecutors, they decided that none of the cases merited prosecution. But Mr. Holder’s associates say that when he took office and saw the allegations, which included the deaths of people in custody and other cases of physical or mental torment, he began to reconsider.
Over this reversal of course the Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, had a bit of a well deserved tirade at the White House:
A “profanity-laced screaming match” at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC News.com.
Amid reports that Panetta had threatened to quit just seven months after taking over at the spy agency, other insiders tell ABCNews.com that senior White House staff members are already discussing a possible shake-up of top national security officials.
“You can expect a larger than normal turnover in the next year,” a senior adviser to Obama on intelligence matters told ABCNews.com.~~~
According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed “torture.”
Many of those quoted in the article say they have no doubt that Panetta is gone. A Obama lackey will be put into place to run the CIA over the coals and ensure the organization is emasculated.
Former General Counsel to the CIA during Clinton’s term, Mr. Jeffrey H. Smith, has some points to make:
— First, these techniques were authorized by the president and approved by the Justice Department. The relevant committees of Congress were briefed. Although the Justice Department’s initial legal opinions were badly flawed, the fact remains that the agency responsible for interpreting and enforcing the law said the techniques were “legal.” That alone will make prosecutions very difficult.
— Second, the CIA provided the inspector general’s report to the Justice Department in 2004. Justice has not prosecuted any CIA officers but did successfully prosecute a contractor who beat a detainee to death, an incident that was initially reported to the department by the CIA. What has changed that makes prosecution advisable now? No administration is above the law. But the decision of one administration to prosecute career officers for acts committed under a policy of a previous administration must be taken with the greatest care. Prosecutions would set the dangerous precedent that criminal law can be used to settle policy differences at the expense of career officers.~~~
— Fourth, prosecuting CIA officers risks chilling current intelligence operations. This country faces an array of serious threats. A prosecution or extensive investigation will be an unmanageable expense for most CIA officers. More significant, their colleagues will become reluctant to take risks. What confidence will they have when their senior officers say not to worry, “this has been authorized by the president and approved by Justice”? And such reactions would be magnified if prosecutions focus only on the lower-ranking officers, not those in the chain of command. Such prosecutions are likely to create cynicism in the clandestine service, which is deeply corrosive to any professional service.
— Fifth, prosecutions could deter cooperation with other nations. It is critical that we have the close cooperation of intelligence services around the world. Nations often work together through their intelligence services on matters of mutual interest, such as combating terrorism, even if political relations are strained or nonexistent. The key to this cooperation is the ability of the United States to be a reliable partner and keep secrets. Prosecuting CIA officers undermines that essential element of successful intelligence liaison.
It’s a bad decision. Bad bad bad…..the harm this will do to our country and our intelligence ability is hard to comprehend. And now on top of all this comes news that Obama has set up a new interrogation unit, and is telling the world and our enemies exactly what they can or cannot do:
President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, part of a broader effort to revamp U.S. policy on detention and interrogation, senior administration officials said Sunday.
Obama signed off late last week on the unit, named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG. Made up of experts from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the interrogation unit will be housed at the FBI but will be overseen by the National Security Council—shifting the center of gravity away from the CIA and giving the White House direct oversight.~~~
Under the new guidelines, interrogators must stay within the parameters of the Army Field Manual when questioning suspects. The task force concluded—unanimously, officials said—that “the Army Field Manual provides appropriate guidance on interrogation for military interrogators and that no additional or different guidance was necessary for other agencies,” according to a three-page summary of the findings. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters freely.
Using the Army Field Manual means certain techniques in the gray zone between torture and legal questioning—such as playing loud music or depriving prisoners of sleep—will not be allowed. Which tactics are acceptable was an issue “looked at thoroughly,” one senior official said. Obama had already banned certain severe measures that the Bush administration had permitted, such as waterboarding.
Unbelievable. Do these nimrods really believe KSM would of cracked if he knew exactly what would happen to him? That no harm, absolutely no harm will come his way?
As Scott said earlier, we are officially now in pre-9/11 mode. I would go one further….this is worse then pre-9/11 mode. Obama is dismantling the security of this nation to such an extent we are now in grave grave danger.
He should be ashamed.
But he isn’t, and neither is the left as they work to undermine this country.