The Senate Intelligence Committee’s infamous torture report is apparently going to be released “in a matter of days.” Well, not really. A heavily redacted version of the executive summary of the report, a report that ignored several major issues in its investigation, is going to be released. Dan Froomkin reminds us of some of what the report won’t include or even consider.
2) The CIA got to cut out parts. The summary has been redacted — ostensibly by the White House, but in practice by officials of the CIA, which, lest we forget, is the agency that is being investigated, that spied on and tried to intimidate the people conducting the investigation, and whose director has engaged in serial deception about the investigation. The original redactions proposed by the White House included eliminating even the use of pseudonyms to let readers keep track of major recurring characters, and appeared intended to make the summary unintelligible.
3) Senate Democrats had their backs to the wall. Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein faced enormous pressure to get the summary out in some form, before the incoming Republican Senate majority could do the White House a solid and squelch it completely.
4) The investigation was extremely narrow in its focus. Committee staffers only looked at what the CIA did in its black sites; whether it misled other officials; and whether it complied with orders. That is somewhat like investigating whether a hit man did the job efficiently and cleaned up nicely…6) Torture was hardly limited to the CIA. In fact, the worst of it was done by the military. Want to read a quality investigation of the U.S. torture of detainees? Go readthis 2008 report from the Senate Armed Services Committee. That committee’s inquiry didn’t just expose the horrific, routinized abuse of detainees at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, it also laid out a clear line of responsibility starting with Bush and exposed his administration’s repeated explanation for what happened as apack of lies. For some reason, it never got anywhere near the attention it deserved.
And here’s the most important part:
12) No one has been held accountable. Aside from a handful of low-level soldiers at Abu Ghraib, no one has been held accountable for the U.S.’s embrace and widespread use of torture after the terror attacks of 9/11. And there are no signs that anyone will be. As a result, torture critics conclude that despite President Obama’s decision not to torture, there is no reason to assume that we won’t do it again in the future.
And let’s not forget that the CIA illegally spied on Senate staffers during the investigation and John Brennan, Obama’s inexplicably hand-picked CIA Director, then lied about it (just as DNA James Clapper lied directly to Congress under oath about NSA collection of cell phone data). And not one person has been held accountable for any of this.