No one should be surprised by the content of a report written by Senate Democrats on the “torture” of terrorist detainees. It reflects the assumptions Democrats have made (or at least given voice to) for years, namely that by torturning detainees, we squandered our international esteem and got no useful information as a result. Or at least nothing we couldn’t have gotten in other ways.
The execrable Carl Levin, a man for whose Senate career I wish to apologize on behalf of my state, has been spewing this line since early in the last decade. He has no way of knowing any of it. He just makes it up because it’s what he wants people to think. And that’s what the committee did in its report, too, but in this case CIA director John Brennan didn’t take it lying down, as ABC reports:
He cited what he called the committee’s “unqualified assertions that the overall detention and interrogation program did not produce unique intelligence that led terrorist plots to be disrupted, terrorists to be captured, or lives to be saved.”
Brennan said it will “forever remain unknowable” whether the intelligence obtained from detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques could have been obtained through other means or from other individuals.
But he also said that the committee report only “tells part of the story,” though with its 6,000 pages and 35,000 footnotes, it “has all the appearances of an authoritative history” of CIA’s detention program. He said the report had two main flaws: “A methodology that relied exclusively on a review of documents with no opportunity to interview participants” and “an apparent lack of familiarity with some of the ways the Agency analyzes and uses intelligence.”
The CIA response also challenged the committee’s description of an organization that at an institutional level “intentionally misled and routinely resisted oversight from the White House, the Congress, the Department of Justice.”
It noted that doing so would have required “a years-long conspiracy among CIA leaders at all levels, supported by a large number of analysts and other line officers. This conspiracy would have had to include three former CIA Directors, including one who led the Agency after the program had largely wound down.”
The response also presented direct rebuttals to 20 cases presented by the committee as examples where the agency claimed success from the enhanced interrogations.
It criticized what it called “a number of errors of fact, interpretation, and contextualization that appear to have led the authors to conclude that the information CIA derived in each instance had little-to-no unique value.”
So the Democrats constructed their report without really knowing how the CIA works, without interviewing those who could have told them, and without information about specific case that could have told them definitively whether, in fact, useful intelligence was really gleaned from the techniques that took place.
And without having done any of this, the committee issued a report that presented itself as authoritative, and the media dutifully reported it in the same way.
Of course all this happened. The contents of this report were essentially determined before any work whatsoever was done. The report reflects the narrative the Democrats wanted to put forward from the beginning, and they were not going to do anything that would debunk their narrative. There could have been 500 cases that clearly showed torture led to actionable intelligence that prevented terror attacks, and Carl Levin would still insist it didn’t. That’s just the way he is. That’s the way all Democrats are on this issue.
By the way, for those of you questioning why I believe the CIA: You are believing people who elected Harry Reid to be their leader. What’s the matter with you?