Water Ride

Let's review. Democrats are horrified over the enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the Bush Administration on terror suspects. The truth is shocking. After years of moaning from Democrats about the constitution having been abandoned, we learned in classified documents inappropriately released by the Obama Administration a couple of weeks ago that the evil Bushies actually authorized, and used, waterboarding on THREE WHOLE TERRORISTS! Nancy Pelosi and her fellow truth seekers on Capital Hill want an investigation. This is curious, considering they knew full well, in advance, that these techniques would be employed - a fact which Pelosi denies.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she was never told during a congressional briefing in 2002 that waterboarding or other "enhanced" interrogation techniques were being used on terrorism suspects.
Former Congressman Porter Goss, who was head of CIA for two and a half years, was so disturbed by the lies he was hearing from Pelosi and others that he emerged from a quiet retirement.
In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA's "High Value Terrorist Program," including the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and what those techniques were.
Maybe Pelosi was having bladder control issues and missed the key moments of the briefing?
This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.
Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned.
So, what is Goss' recollection?
-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists. -- We understood what the CIA was doing. -- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support. -- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities. -- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.
Makes Pelosi's slithering seem rather incredible, doesn't he?
Pelosi indicated the briefings could have been incomplete, saying: "We only know what they choose to tell us, and the manner and timing which they tell us."
Goss is concerned with the security of the country.
Circuses are not new in Washington, and I can see preparations being made for tents from the Capitol straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities."
In other words, the attempts to go after members of the Bush Administration will, once again, cripple the ability of the intelligence community to do it's job.
Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day "I have your back" only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.
Considering all this, it's appropriate to question what Pelosi et al are up to. On the one hand, they've pressured Obama into a flip flop on 'moving forward,' while on the other hand they are calling for congressional investigations that would lead to their own embarrassment. At the same time, there's the risk that once Americans see the truth about what the Bush Administration did, they'll be reassured rather than shocked. It's safe assume that Democrats are simply throwing a bone to the wacko wing of their party, which surely would agree with British law professor and torture investigator Phillipe Sands:
...serious crimes have been committed and, as a nation of laws, the US is bound to investigate criminal wrongdoing. This is a difficult balance to strike. The way forward may be to begin with the fullest possible investigation by a blue chip independent commission, with the power to compel the production of documents and witness testimony.
It is politically important for Democrats to maximize the demonization of the Bush Administration in order to enhance the image of Obama as the Savior, but a search for truth would expose the complicity of Pelosi and the Gang. In the Sunday New York Times, Frank Rich argues that politics must be put aside, and the Bush "torture" crew must face trial.
President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It won’t vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai. The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way.
And leftist Senator Pat Leahy called Sunday for an independent commission to investigate the Bush Administration.
"I know some people say, 'Let's turn the page,'" Leahy said. "Frankly, I'd like to read the page before we turn it."
The trouble for Democrats is, if you read the page, you've got to study the entire chapter. Ask John McCain:
"Are you going to prosecute people for giving bad legal advice? Are you going to keep on down this road in order, frankly, to — maybe there's an element of settling old political scores here," McCain said. "We need to put this behind us. We need to move forward."
Don't expect Democrats to put politics second. Expect lots of song and dance, but ultimately, a refusal to dig too deeply. With good reason, of course - so we can "put this dark chapter behind us." The Good Government people are a pathetic lot.