After belatedly and grudgingly agreeing to release the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Bush torture regime, President Obama has done everything possible to delay and obstruct that release. I think there’s a very good chance he’s doing this with the idea that once the GOP takes control of the Senate, it would rescind that release and bury it.
Before White House chief of staff Denis McDonough came to brief Senate Democrats on Thursday afternoon, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had a little pep talk with his flock. Every Tuesday, during the weekly caucus lunches, he said, you all gripe and moan about the White House. But then when the White House comes by, there’s never a peep.
The talk may not have been necessary. The White House’s briefing to Democrats on immigration Thursday erupted instead into a confrontation over the Senate’s classified torture report, Senate sources told The Huffington Post.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, waited for the immigration discussion to end and then pulled out a prepared speech that she read for five or six minutes, making the case for the release of the damning portrayal of America’s post-9/11 torture program.
“It was a vigorous, vigorous and open debate — one of the best and most thorough discussions I’ve been a part of while here,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who served as intelligence committee chair before Feinstein, was furious after the meeting, and accused the administration of deliberately stalling the report.
“It’s being slow-walked to death. They’re doing everything they can not to release it,” Rockefeller told HuffPost.
“It makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad, which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future,” he continued. “The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”…
Time is becoming a critical issue with regard to the report, as Republicans prepare to take control of the Senate in January. At that time, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) will replace Feinstein as head of the intelligence committee.
“I’m concerned that there’s not a whole lot of sand left in this hourglass,” said Heinrich. “Until this report is unclassified in a way that doesn’t expose people’s identity, but where you can understand the narrative, our work will not be done. And we’re not there yet.”
Sound farfetched that a Democratic president would cooperate with Republicans in Congress to bury a damning report about the actions of a Republican president? It shouldn’t. Obama has been absolutely opposed to any action that even suggests accountability for torture from the moment he took office. He has refused to even allow for the possibility of criminal charges being filed and now he’s trying to keep the details away from the public. Why is he so zealous to protect his predecessor? There are several possibility, but you know what? I don’t really give a shit what they are. None could possibly justify it.