Is Obama Stalling Until Republicans Can Bury the CIA Torture Report?
By Dan Froomkin, The Intercept
Continued White House foot-dragging on the declassification of a much-anticipated Senate torture report is raising concerns that the administration is holding out until Republicans take over the chamber and kill the report themselves.
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s intelligence committee sent a 480-page executive summary of its extensive report on the CIA’s abuse of detainees to the White House for declassification more than six months ago.
In August, the White House, working closely with the CIA, sent back redactions that Feinstein and other Senate Democrats said rendered the summary unintelligible and unsupported.
Since then, the wrangling has continued behind closed doors, with projected release dates repeatedly falling by the wayside. The Huffington Post reported this week that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, a close ally of CIA Director John Brennan, is personally leading the negotiations, suggesting keen interest in their progress – or lack thereof – on the part of Brennan and President Obama.
Human-rights lawyer Scott Horton, who interviewed a wide range of intelligence and administration officials for his upcoming book, “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy,” told The Intercept that the White House and the CIA are hoping a Republican Senate will, in their words, “put an end to this nonsense.”
Stalling for time until after the midterm elections and the start of a Republican-majority session is the “battle plan,” Horton said. “I can tell you that Brennan has told people in the CIA that that’s his prescription for doing it.”
Victoria Bassetti, a former Senate Judiciary Committee staffer, wrote this week that the administration is playing “stall ball” and that Senate staffers expect Republicans would “spike release of the report” should they take over the chamber.
White House Getting Cold Feet Over Exposing CIA’s Torture Secrets
By Dan Froomkin, The Intercept
After seven months of promising to release a report exposing CIA torture of terror suspects, the Obama administration Friday reportedly sent Secretary of State John Kerry to ask Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein to consider holding off “because a lot is going on in the world.”
Adhering to the time-honored Washington tradition of releasing news with unpleasant PR repercussions on a Friday afternoon, “an administration official” leaked word of the call to Josh Rogin of Bloomberg View.
Friday’s news was reminiscent of a previous Obama reversal, in the early days of his presidency. Back in April 2009, Obama had said he would not block the court-ordered release of photographs depicting the abuse of detainees held by U.S. authorities abroad. Then he changed his mind.
“[T]he most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger,” Obama announced a few weeks later.
I wrote at the time that Obama had at that point officially joined the Bush-Cheney cover-up of torture.
By blocking the release of those photos, Obama managed to keep the public from the visceral realization that the kind of vile, sadistic treatment of detainees illustrated in the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib in Iraq was not limited to one prison or one country.
Ah, my first banning.
Now of course I’m banned for calling out Denise Oliver Velez as a “rapist apologist” for supporting ZhenRen in his drunken attacks against triv33.
Who are the “Good Germans” now?