S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Catching up with Congress vs. the CIA

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency of the...Image via Wikipedia

Congress, the CIA and Torture -- A Reprise: Congress has the responsibility to provide formal oversight to the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is all about the business of national intelligence, which means that much is secret. But it is not supposed to be kept secret from the Congress. Over the month of May Congress and the CIA have been in a bit of a battle. Here are the main milestones.

"After reviewing CIA records, lawmakers still divided on interrogation briefings," is from the Washington Post (5/23/09). To quote: ". . . rather than emerging with clear agreement on what the memos reveal about the CIA briefing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received in 2002, and whether she was aware that aggressive interrogation methods were being used on terrorism suspects, lawmakers remain as divided as ever about the story they tell."

"Under pressure, Pelosi stands by comments on CIA," comes from CQ Politics (5/22/09). To quote:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to elaborate Friday on the controversy over her allegations that the CIA misled her about the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration.

“I have made the statement that I’m going to make on this,” she added. “I’m not going to have anything more to say about it. I stand by my comments.”

Asked about Republican attacks on her statements, Pelosi said she would not be distracted from the priorities of the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

"House rejects call for investigation of Pelosi's CIA comments," is from CQ Politics (5/21/09). Quoting the piece:

The House on Thursday rejected a Republican resolution to investigate Speaker Nancy Pelosi's assertions that the CIA misled her during a 2002 classified briefing on interrogation techniques. . . The debate over the resolution followed weeks of partisan antagonism over Pelosi’s statements about the briefings. Republicans have seized on the issue to try to undercut Democrats’ claim that the George W. Bush administration’s interrogation practices, which some have labeled torture, violated international treaties."

"Obama defends his decision to close Guantanamo," is from CQ Politics (5/21/09). To quote: "President Obama on Thursday delivered a blistering critique of both his predecessor’s counterterrorism policies and Republican attacks on his own national security decisions, in a wide-ranging speech at the National Archives in Washington?"

"Obama should rethink Gitmo closing, GOP leaders say," comes out of the CQ Politics news of 5/17/09. To quote: "President Obama may have to readjust his deadline to close the Guantánamo military prison since both Democratic and Republican lawmakers oppose bringing any detainees to the United States. . . Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell . . . Rep. Peter King of New York"

"Graham: They claimed to have briefed before torture, did not," is by emptywheel (5/15/09). To quote: ". . . about Bob Graham . . . CIA . . . gave erroneous dates for three briefings. . . the CIA tried to claim it had briefed Graham on torture in April 2002, which would have put it in compliance with the National Security Act. But Graham, by consulting his trusty notebooks, proved that claim to be false."

"Pelosi: CIA told us waterboarding 'was not being employed'," is by emptywheel (5/14/09). Marcy opens, "Pelosi has confirmed something I've been pointing out for weeks. When the CIA briefed Pelosi and Goss on September 4, 2002, it told them that waterboarding was not being employed."

"Senator Bob Graham: The CIA made up two briefing sessions," is by emptywheel (5/14/09). To quote Marcy's intro: "Bob Graham just appeared on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show. In addition to repeating earlier reports that he was never briefed on waterboarding, Graham revealed that the first time he asked the CIA when he was briefed on torture, it claimed it had briefed him on two dates when no briefing took place."

"Torture Takes Over the Hill," is from the ACLU Blog of Rights (5/14/09). To quote:

Here in D.C. we’ve had back-to-back hearings touching on the use of torture. Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on torture that featured testimony from former FBI agent Ali Soufan, former State Department advisor and executive director of the 9/11 Commission Philip Zelikow, and several legal experts. . . . Next up was Attorney General Eric Holder who faced off with the House Judiciary Committee today in a general Department of Justice (DOJ) oversight hearing.

"Leahy to Bybee: Why won't a federal judge testify before Senate Judiciary Committee?," is by emptywheel (5/14/09). To quote: "Whitehouse and Leahy have both promised follow-up hearings after the report comes out; it's likely that Bybee will get himself another invitation after the report--one with some legal force behind it."

"Senator calls for 'truth commission' to probe Bush-era interrogations," was from The LA Times (5/14/09). Sub-Head: "Sheldon Whitehouse says officials apparently used twisted interpretations of the law to justify harsh tactics such as waterboarding. A GOP colleague suggests that Democrats are just playing politics."

"Hill Panel Reviewing CIA Tactics," comes from The Washington Post (5/10/09). To quote:

To assess whether interrogators complied with the department's guidance, Senate intelligence committee investigators are interviewing those involved, examining hundreds of CIA e-mails and reviewing a classified 2005 study by the agency's lawyers of dozens of interrogation videotapes, according to government officials who said they were not authorized to be quoted by name. Officials familiar with the Justice Department's inquiries into policymaking on detainees during the Bush administration said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has not ruled out conducting a similar investigation."

"Democrats Seek More Interrogation Documents," comes from The Washington Post (5/4/09). To quote: "Fallout from the Bush administration's detainee interrogation practices persisted yesterday, with House Democrats requesting documents that reportedly challenged the decision to use methods critics have likened to torture."

"Reyes backs Pelosi on intel briefings," is the post from The Hill (5/1/09). To quote: "House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes said he agrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that members of Congress have been too limited in how they can respond to briefings about intelligence policies they oppose."

"Durbin and Whitehouse: Why did Mukasey give OLC a peek at the Yoo/Bradbury results?" The post is by emptywheel (3/31/09). Why did subjects of an investigation get a chance to review the report results before it is published? Was that appropriate?

Today's post summarizes the key milestones in the battle between the CIA and Congressional overseers. It will be useful as a reminder and a reference regarding just how hard fought it has been for both the protagonists.

See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.

Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative website is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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