While the media coverage of the Feinstein report is talking about what the “evil CIA” may have done to some prisoners and whether or not the information extracted from those prisoners was actionable, missing is a discussion of when the Congress was briefed about the techniques used. To paraphrase a line from Howard Baker during the Watergate hearings, America wants to know, “What did Congress know and when did they know it?”
Understand the purpose of this post is not to argue which interrogation was or wasn’t torture; that will be handled in a later post. The purpose, rather, is to point out the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party congressional members who sat in meetings with the CIA, being briefed on enhanced interrogation, and now 9 to 12 years after are mendaciously claiming surprise and horror.
That information has been available for almost five years. In Feb. 2010 via a FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch received a report created by the CIA during the Bush presidency (in 2007) detailing which members of congress were briefed and what were they briefed on.
The report shows that the CIA briefed at least 68 members of Congress on the CIA interrogation program, including “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs). It details the dates of all congressional briefings and in most cases, the members of Congress in attendance and the specific subjects discussed. Keep in mind though, that the topic for each one of these meetings was interrogation of prisoners.
For example in April 2002 both the House (HPSCI) and Senate (SSCI) committees on intelligence were briefed on the ongoing interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, who was mentioned in the Feinstein report. According to the report, at this time EITs were referenced but there is no evidence they were discussed in detail. However, later meetings not only discussed the EITs being used but gave examples. Finally, near the end of 2002 we see that the most senior members of the House and Senate committees had meetings totally devoted to EITs.
During the Summer of 2003 additional members of Congress had meetings on the same topic, among them Senator Jay Rockefeller who yesterday proclaimed on the Senate floor:
To be perfectly clear, these harsh techniques were not approved by anyone – ever – for the low-bar standard of learning ‘useful information’ from detainees.
At least through 2005, the meetings included the full committee on the House side and the senior person from each party on the Senate committee.
In 2006 on the Ides of March is the first mention of Feinstein, who eventually became chair of the Senate committee.
For America to believe that these congressional members sat through meetings that were entirely devoted to EITs but knew none of the details mentioned in the Feinstein report, we would have to be as stupid and gullible as Obamacare architect consultant Jonathan Gruber claims we are.
Whether you believe that techniques such as waterboarding is torture or not does not change the duplicitous of the Feinstein’s Democratic Party action.
The full document is embedded below.
Cross-posted at The Lid