Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Dianne Feinstein Frank Church CYA CIA Report

The Senate Democrats created The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Operations (The Church Committee), chaired by Senator Frank Church (D. Id). It issued 14 reports in 1975 and 1976. The Church Committee damned the CIA, portraying the CIA as a rogue elephant operating outside the government. Richard Welch, the CIA Station Chief in Athens was one of several “outed” in the report. He was assassinated shortly thereafter The CIA was shattered and demoralized. The damage continued in President Carter’s Administration. He severely cut the human intelligence (humint) efforts of the CIA, appointing Admiral Stansfield Turner as Director of the CIA with emphasis on technical intelligence (techint) and signals intelligence (sigint). No more eyes and ears on the ground. CIA Director Turner orchestrated the Halloween Massacre, laying off 820 operational positions. Even fewer eyes and ears on the ground. The CIA was demoralized and understaffed for decades. The Senate Intelligence Committee issued Tuesday its long delayed 525 page, redacted Executive Summary on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation practices after 9/11. It criticized the practices as more brutal and less effective than the CIA led the President and the public to believe. The Agency allegedly misinformed the President, Congress, the Justice Department and the public. The Feinstein Democrats in the Senate almost four decades after the Church Committee again characterized the CIA as a Rouge Agency. It castigated the CIA. It slammed the water boarding, ice baths, death threats, and sleep deprivation techniques. The prisoners were sometimes kept in closed boxes, chained to the walls. The word “torture” permeates the report. Senator Feinstein called the CIA’s enhanced intelligence program as “A stain on our values and in out history.” The report was issued under the imprimatur of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but it is more in the nature of an opening statement or brief by a prosecutor. Fatal flaws exist with the report. First, the Democratic staff committee acted without Republican input. The Republican Senators on the Committee recognized five years ago that the committee staff had no intention of preparing an objective study, but rather a hatchet piece. Second, the staff did not interview the CIA officials or personnel involved with the enhanced interrogation program. They could have shed a light on many aspects of the investigation, especially the success of the intensive interrogation. The staffers acted like armchair quarterbacks with no understanding f how intelligence gathering works. The Report purports to conclude that no effective evidence was obtained through enhanced interrogation. Instead, the meaningful information was obtained from detainees prior to their being subjected to enhanced intelligence. Vice President Chaney succinctly summed up the Report: “The Report’s full of crap.” The Report ignores the background of the CIA’s actions. About 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 when four commercial airliners were transformed into flying bombs. Several Americans jumped out of the burning Twin Towers to a certain death rather than be consumed by flames. Washington was fearful of a second wave of attacks. An anthrax attack occurred around the same time. Limited intelligence indicated the terrorists were attempting to acquire a nuclear bomb from Pakistan. President Bush led the way in directing the CIA to do whatever was necessary to safeguard America. Congress was kept fully informed, at least on 30 occasions, of the details of the CIA’s plans. Several Democrats apparently asked the CIA more than once if the CIA needed even greater authority. Several key Democrats are now claiming ignorance in an exercise of selective memory. The Report is an attempt to cover their gluteus maximi. A famous hypo over the past two decades is of terrorists secreting the “Bomb” in an American city, often New York City. One of the terrorists is captured. The simple question is if torture should be used to determine the location of the Bomb in time to defuse it before it explodes. A common answer in my class prior to 9/11 is that torture would be inappropriate. The overwhelming view after 9/11 is to do whatever is necessary.

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