I somehow missed this in the McClatchy report about the Senate torture report and the fact that it didn’t look at all at the culpability of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and other administration officials. Leon Panetta’s new memoir says that Obama was furious that the CIA had cooperated at all with the investigation.
Obama has clearly and repeatedly worked to prevent any serious investigation into the Bush torture regime, much less any actual consequences for those who engaged in it, but this is different and worse than what we previously knew. The Senate has oversight over the CIA and other intelligence services and to try to prevent the agency from cooperating with the committee that has that oversight is worse, in my view, than stonewalling a DOJ investigation (though that’s plenty bad). As Andrew Sullivan put it:
Along with being handicapped by the political considerations, the panel confronted two prior Justice Department investigations that declined to assign criminal liability to any officials involved in the program. One probe was conducted under the Bush administration and the second under President Barack Obama.
Moreover, Obama opposed any further inquiry. Although he signed an executive order banning waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques soon after taking office, he also ruled out future prosecutions of those who participated in the program.
The extent of the Obama’s fury over the panel’s study was revealed in a memoir by former CIA Director Leon Panetta that was released this month. The president, he wrote, was livid that the CIA agreed in 2009 to give the committee access to millions of the agency’s highly classified documents.
“The president wants to know who the f— authorized this release to the committees,” Panetta recalled then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel shouting at him. “I have a president with his hair on fire and I want to know what the f— you did to f— this up so bad!”
We don’t have merely passive indifference to the CIA’s record on torture, we have active opposition to the entire inquiry from the very beginning of Obama’s term in office. If you want to know why we are still waiting for the report almost two years since it was finished, and if you want to know why the White House refused to provide mountains of internal documents that would have added to the report’s factual inquiries, just absorb the anecdote above. And if you want to know why the White House did nothing to discipline the CIA after it hacked into the Senate Committee’s own computers, ditto. It’s impossible not to conclude that Obama wants as little of this material made public as possible. His pledge for the most transparent administration in history ends, it seems, at Langley.