When Even Sen. Feinstein is Ready to Call You Out for Pro-Torture Falsehood

Joint statement from: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee, April 27, 2012:

It begins:

We are deeply troubled by the claims of the CIA’s former Deputy Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez regarding the effectiveness of the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will soon complete a comprehensive review of the CIA’s former Detention and Interrogation Program. Committee staff has reviewed more than 6 million pages of records and the Committee’s final report, which we expect to exceed 5000 pages, will provide a detailed, factual description of how interrogation techniques were used, the conditions under which detainees were held, and the intelligence that was – or wasn’t – gained from the program.

Statements made by Mr. Rodriguez and other former senior government officials about the role of the CIA interrogation program in locating Usama bin Laden (UBL) are inconsistent with CIA records.

And there’s lots more…

This is an excellent and forceful reaction to ex-CIA chief Jose Rodriguez’s recent book and 60 Minutes appearance in which he defended waterboarding “to protect Americans” and claimed that “torture works.”

In addition to his fantasy-based defense of torture, Rodriguez defended his destruction of 92 videotapes of interrogations involving waterboarding, despite a law requiring the tapes’ recording and a judge’s order not to destroy the tapes.  In his book, Hard Decisions, Rodriguez justifies the tapes’ destruction because of their “bad visuals” — worse than Abu Ghraib. Those illegal actions did not lead to prosecution, see No Criminal Charges Sought Over C.I.A. Tapes, as Rodriguez claimed advice of CIA counsel. Not entirely unreasonably, the Justice Department wants US officials to feel they can rely on their government lawyers’ advice; less reasonably it was unwilling to make an exception for indubitable torture or war crimes. Not that the lawyers were prosecuted either.

Sen. Feinstein has not exactly been a progressive champion on most issues, but she seems energized over this issue — not that there should be anything partisan or progressive about condemning torture or lying, but there we are — and deserves credit for it.

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