Remind Me Who It Is the CIA Works For?

So the redacted summary of the “torture report” is out, which means Senate Democrats brushed aside GOP complaints and that the administration overruled both State Department and CIA objections to the timing or to the release itself. But it seems the CIA has decided it doesn’t have to take it (per a report from The Telegraph‘s Raf Sanchez):

In the moments before the Senate’s report into torture by the CIA was released, the agency’s director, John Brennan, released a statement of his own.

In it, he acknowledges that “the detention and interrogation programme had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes” and that “we did not always live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves and that the American people expect of us”.

But on the fundamental point – was America right to brutalise these terror suspects in an effort to extract information that could prevent the next September 11? – Brennan refuses to give ground.

“Interrogations of detainees on whom [enhanced interrogation techniques] were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.”
He also disputes the Senate’s claim that America’s spies misled the public about the torture program. He says:

“While we made mistakes, the record does not support the Study’s inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program.”

The bottom line: the battle over what really happened during one of the darkest periods in recent American history is far from over.

If so, does the current leadership of the CIA get to have its own position on the basics that contradicts the president’s?

If Brennan issues another such statement, it really ought to be quickly followed by a letter of resignation.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.