Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.And I'm whomper jawed to hear that Congress is collectively refusing to take responsibility for something it didn't do. It is clear to me that if Congress knew CIA agents were engaging in torture, then 18 U.S. C 2340 can't possibly apply! It must have all been legal! Everybody knows Congressional silence is consent! If you tell Congress you're going to torture, and Congress doesn't say "Oh, no you're not!", then it's double super-secret King's X, and it makes torture legal!
Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:
-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate
intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA
was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.
-- We understood what the CIA was doing.
-- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.
-- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
-- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from
Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.
I'm pretty sure that's in the U.S. Code somewhere....
And I'm guessing this:
We must not forget: Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist.means the "black prisons" should have stayed "black!" It was really embarrassing when European nations found out we'd violated their laws by transporting"detainees" via their airports to secret prisons! It was even more embarrassing when they found out we consider all non-U.S. citizens (and certain U.S citizens, like anyone in the continental U.S. immediately after 9/11 who "looked Muslim") as persons not protected by habeas corpus or due process of law or any of the other standards we claimed to represent and model to a lawless world. I mean, how can they trust us as partners if we idly toss aside our most cherished ideals, and then lie about it? Oh, wait, I mean: how can they trust us if we reveal our lies?
Above all, Mr. Goss is right about this:
Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us.If we learned nothing from the past 8 years, at least we learned that.