I guess I'm just too simple-minded to keep up with the news. Maybe it's a reading comprehension thing. But my understanding was that the CIA was an intelligence agency. That means that they are supposed to have a clue or two as to what goes on abroad — even to look past official statements sometimes and perceive a hint of reality.
What then to make of the CIA's claims that it is shocked and surprised when the brutal foreign intelligence agencies to whom it hands over prisoners (via 'renditions') break their verbal commitments not to torture the prisoners, and instead proceed in their customary fashion?
At this point I'm left wondering whether the CIA wants us to think of them as really, really stupid or really, really guilty.
Today's Washington Post reports that once the CIA has handed over the victim to foreign torturers, the CIA's delicate sensibilities prevent it from asking too many questions in order that the sensitive foreigners not feel obliged to sully themselves with lies:
CIA's Assurances On Transferred Suspects Doubted: [An] Arab diplomat, whose country is actively engaged in counterterrorism operations and shares intelligence with the CIA, said it is unrealistic to believe the CIA really wants to follow up on the assurances. “It would be stupid to keep track of them because then you would know what's going on,” he said. “It's really more like 'Don't ask, don't tell.' “
At least the House is is beginning to worry about our outsourcing torture:
The House voted 420 to 2 yesterday to prohibit the use of supplemental appropriations to support actions that contravene anti-torture statutes. The measure's co-author, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), singled out renditions, saying “diplomatic assurances not to torture are not credible, and the administration knows it.”
Over in the Senate, however, it's CYA time:
Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee failed to agree Tuesday on whether to open a formal investigation into U.S. interrogation and detention practices.
“It was probably the least constructive meeting of the Intelligence Committee that I have ever been to,” West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, the panel's top Democrat, said after a closed committee session.
Rockefeller said the committee was “not facing its oversight responsibilities with sufficient seriousness” on subjects that would affect the country for the next 30 to 40 years.
All seven of the committee's Democratic members have requested a formal review of interrogation and detention practices by the U.S. intelligence apparatus. The Democrats also want to look into “renditions” — a practice of transferring foreigners to other countries for detention and questioning.
“I believe the system is working,” [Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat] Roberts said.
Stupid or guilty? Definitely guilty.
We’re talkin’ about the CIA here. ‘Really, really stupid’ and ‘really, really guilty’ are not mutually exclusive. They are complementary attributes of the thing itself.