A Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s past use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” is finally set to be released on Tuesday. The report has garnered controversy, with leaders on both sides of the aisle asking for delay.
“I think this is a terrible idea,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee. “Foreign partners are telling us this will cause violence and deaths. Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”
Secretary of State John Kerry echoed those concerns, asking Senator Dianne Feinstein to consider the timing of the release as it pertains to the safety of our interests around the world. Still, Feinstein – the Senate Intelligence Committee chair – remains committed to the release. The White House has backed the release as well, stating Monday that the government had taken all of the precautionary measures necessary.
An Official Condemnation of Torture
The summary – needed because the full report runs more than 6,000 pages – is expected to throw a harsh spotlight on the techniques used by the CIA under the Bush administration. In the global fight against terror, intelligence agents used such techniques as water boarding, sleep deprivation, “black site” prison incarceration, and other tactics to get to the truth. Officials are concerned that these descriptions could incite violence against our soldiers and embassies around the world.
According to defense officials, thousands of Marines have been put on high alert in anticipation of the report’s release. These Marines are positioned in Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian Sea, Spain, Bahrain, Japan, and elsewhere where attacks could be imminent.
Bush Stands Beside His Agents
For his part, former President George W. Bush was reportedly advised to let the CIA take the fall on this one. According to insiders, the Senate report is going to level accusations against the CIA that they misled the administration when it came to the extent of their torture activities. Showing a backbone that the current president could learn from, though, Bush stood up for the CIA in an interview this weekend.
Speaking with CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday, Bush said, “We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”
An Important Debate
Even if concerns about worldwide violence are unfounded, the report will renew debates regarding the use of torture. Some insist that such techniques put us in the same boat as our enemies, while others claim their effectiveness justifies their use. It’s doubtful that we’ll reach any consensus this time around, but these are important conversations for the country to have. Our war on terror may not be called that anymore, but it is still as active as ever. Americans deserve the chance to discuss how that war should be carried out.