The truth is slowing oozing out in the brewing battle between the CIA, Senate Democrats, and potentially, the military. It has nothing to do with treason, at least not by the CIA as an institution. Or keeping the agency in “check“.
The latest volley comes from the liberal Democratic Senator from Illinois, Sen. Dick Durbin. The Senate Majority Whip lashed out at the CIA with a somewhat shrill letter to CIA Director Brennan. Sandwiched between perfunctory indignation at alleged monitoring of secure computer systems, and praises to Republican Sen. John McCain and the Constitution, there is this:
It is important not to lose sight of the underlying issue – the un-American and illegal torture of detainees held by our government.It was 10 years ago that I authored the first legislation to make it clear that the cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees is illegal under U.S. law in all circumstances. My legislation was a response to the previous Administration’s position that it was legal to use abusive interrogation techniques on detainees.
The underlying issue has absolutely nothing to do with alleged torture. Some of it is turf as well as a normal part of the federal budget process. Agencies and Congress spare continually over authorities and appropriations. A good thing by the way. It is how our government was designed. However, what the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party is seeking to do is weaken the CIA, and destroy the good work done by the Bush Administration to keep America safe, by whatever means necessary.
What Feinstein, Durbin, other Members of Congress (mostly on the Left) as well as a few rogue Congressional staffers aim to do is destroy the CIA’s ability to carry out its mission over the long-term. Why? Mostly because they represent, or claim to represent, people in this country, and around the world, who find intelligence work distasteful. I’ve even had people in this camp tell me its un-American and should be banned outright.
This back and forth between the Senate and the CIA, possibly even in the House, has been going on for some time. I think what may have set off Feinsten, Durbin, and Reid, was CIA General Counsel Robert Eatinger’s criminal referral to the Justice Department. The target? Senate staff. The alleged crime? Removing classified documents from a secure location. Feinstein, Durbin, and Reid did not see this coming and they had to take action to distract attention from the possibility that Senate staffers broke the law.
Two wrongs do not make a right, however, when I hear Members of Congress wrapping themselves in the Constitution and separation of powers rhetoric, I’ve learned through the years to be very skeptical. And, maybe, the CIA does not come to this debate with clean hands. All sides are spinning wildly, but one of the few facts worth noting is the criminal referral to the Justice Department. Any lawyer worth their mettle understands that this step is never taken lightly.
Of course everything I’ve said here, as well as in earlier posts, is mere conjecture; exactly what most of the reporting, at least up until now, has been. This is not the first and will not be the last intra-agency/Congressional squabble over who gets what and when. Yet make no mistake about it, Liberal Democrats in the Senate, fearing a loss in November, will stop at nothing to extract their political pound of red meat, no matter the consequences to the current and future security of the nation.
P.S., about the report the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party wants declassified … it’s political voyeurism. Now they all — Republicans and Democrats — clamor for oversight. If they’ve be doing real oversight the past few years, scapegoating would not be the outcome.