In one of its last and most partisan acts as a Senate Majority, on Tuesday Democrats released a partisan political report on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program. It is nothing more than a blatant, shameful attack on the men and women who helped protect America in the harrowing days after 9/11.
Purporting to be a comprehensive study of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, which ran from 2002 to 2009, the report, which cost over $40 million to prepare, calls into question the lawfulness and effectiveness of the CIA program that led to the disruption of active terror plots and the May 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden.
To broadly summarize, Democrats claim that the CIA misled the White House and Congress about its activities, lied about the intelligence that resulted from enhanced interrogation, treated prisoners worse than they admitted, and purportedly damaged our standing in the world. None of this is news; the Left has been making these claims for over a decade.
Contrary to the Democrats’ claims about the report’s thoroughness, however, the report is woefully, and intentionally, incomplete. For example, Senate Democrats failed to interview any of the CIA directors or assistant directors who managed the program. This would be like reviewing the failed rollout of Obamacare and not interviewing former Health and Human Services director Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the debacle.
The reasoning behind this is clear: Democrats did not want to hear any evidence that conflicted with their preordained conclusions -- that the CIA illegally tortured terrorists, lied about the extent of the program, and gained nothing useful from it.
Also, the report fails to provide any context for the creation and administration of the program. It flatly ignores the post-9/11 environment, when there were daily concerns about the next terror attack, which prompted Congress to order the CIA to do whatever necessary to stop it. Its conclusions are also completely divorced from the fact that before and after 9/11, the United States had virtually zero human intelligence on al Qaeda, so the interrogation program was set up to remedy that problem. Context always matters, except when your conclusions are immune from the facts.
Last, and perhaps most glaring, the report fails to note that on many occasions, senior members of both political parties, including Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein, were briefed by the CIA on the specifics of the program. No Democrats raised objections to the program then. In fact, some pressed the CIA to do more. Former CIA Clandestine Service chief Jose Rodriguez noted that after 9/11, Congress actually deemed the CIA “risk averse,” and ordered the agency to change its ways to address the threat. Only years later, after Bush was out of office and the country secured, did Democrats feign false outrage at what they knew all along was occurring.
Such selective outrage is cowardly and politically opportunistic, like this report. But it is not surprising, because this report was not issued in a vacuum, but follows in a long series of pro-terrorist actions by the legal left and the Democratic politicians who support them.
During the Bush administration, the highest profile Democratic lawyers in the nation supported America’s enemies by directly representing them, or by filing lawsuits against the Bush administration’s detention, treatment, and prosecution of them.
After President Obama’s election, former terrorist attorneys began working in the Pentagon, State Department and Department of Justice and the lawsuits against the government mysteriously ceased. Next, the enhanced interrogation program was shut down, the black sites that hosted the interrogations were closed, and dangerous detainees from Guantanamo were released to countries that did nothing to prevent them returning to the battlefield.
But shutting down the program, which had proven vital to our security, was not enough. Obama then directed attorney general Eric Holder to appoint a prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the men and women involved in the enhanced interrogation program. The investigation into the CIA interrogators went nowhere; no evidence of wrongdoing was found. But Democrats and their outside legal supporters were not satisfied. They demanded more.
This week they received their pay off. The report released on Tuesday is the culmination of over a decade of legal warfare by leftists who are more concerned with destroying every remnant of the Bush era War on Terror than defeating the terrorists against whom we have waged war.
That this report was nothing more than a political exercise is clear in view of these two facts. First, the statute of limitations has run on any claims against the interrogators, and they cannot be prosecuted for any actions chronicled in the report. Second, the report offers no recommendations: it is entirely backward looking. It is an exercise in post hoc, hypocritical, self-righteous partisan outrage.
With the publishing of this political report, the legal left’s quest is almost complete. Having done everything they can to dismantle the War on Terror apparatus that kept us safe and killed Bin Laden, Democrats have now given our enemies a powerful recruitment tool at a time when their victories in Iraq and Syria have confirmed the weaknesses of the present administration.
The pen has always been mightier than the sword. Thanks to the Democrats’ sham report, America’s friends will question our resolve and her enemies – such as ISIS – will be only more encouraged to pick up their swords, knowing that some in Washington will eventually turn their backs on the brave souls who keep us safe. America’s armed forces leave no man behind. Our intelligence operatives deserve the same treatment from our political leaders.