Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently suggested that she couldn’t interview a single CIA operative before the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings were released vis-à-vis Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIts) because...the agency wouldn’t let her.
“The Department of Justice refused to coordinate its investigation with the Intelligence Committee's review,” she said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, referring to the already-completed DOJ investigation which partially overlapped with her own. “As a result, possible interviewees could be subject to additional liability if they were interviewed. And the CIA, citing the attorney general's investigation, would not instruct its employees to participate in our interviews.”
This excuse, Dr. Charles Krauthammer said last night on Special Report, is “total rubbish.”
“The [DOJ] investigation ended in 2012. It’s now the end of 2014. They [the Senate Intelligence Committee] had over two years to interview and talk to anybody involved, including the highest officials…”
“They [ended] up releasing a report without any of that,” he added. “No rebuttal, no context, no statements -- which tells me they had a single intent hanging the CIA out to dry, and they went looking for the evidence that fit.”
Columnist Rich Lowry made a similar point in his Politico Magazine column earlier this week.
“The committee’s chair, Dianne Feinstein, says such interviews were made impossible by Justice Department investigations into the people responsible for the interrogation program, but those investigations ended years ago,” he wrote. “The reality is that the committee didn’t want to include anything that might significantly complicate its cartoonish depiction of a CIA that misled everyone so it could maintain a secret prison system for the hell of it."
Nonetheless, this doesn't mean that the CIA is totally blameless or without fault. On the contrary, the CIA’s own director admitted during a rare press conference yesterday that “in a limited number of cases,” CIA officers committed barbarous, unauthorized, and unlawful acts:
“In a limited number of cases, agency officers [used] interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent, and rightly should be repudiated by all,” he declared. “And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes.”
Still, Dr. K did raise one uncomfortable question during the segment.
“How could the committee have released a report without ever having interviewed a single person involved?” he asked. “When we have a criminal trial, we actually interview the witnesses…we don’t rely entirely on documents.”
Not always true, apparently. Sometimes, politics trumps fairness.