The continuing shame of the CIA's torture program

For a clue into how out-of-control, un-American, and just plain wrong our CIA's torture program was, note the frantic and furious reactions by the CIA establishment to reports about its torturous cruelty.

For a clue into how out-of-control, un-American, and just plain wrong our CIA’s torture program was, note the frantic and furious reactions by the CIA establishment to reports about its torturous cruelty.

First were flat-out denials. George Tenet, CIA director during the most vigorous period of torturing al Qaeda suspects, almost blew a gasket in 2007, when a “60 Minutes” interviewer pressed him about the agency’s waterboarding of prisoners. “We don’t torture people.” Tenet practically hollered at the reporter – “Let me say that again to you, we don’t torture people. OK?”

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Well, okay… if true. But it wasn’t. Nonetheless, Tenet and other top officials resorted to Orwellian newspeak, asserting that their torture wasn’t torture, but simply Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. But this year, Senate Intelligence Committee investigators uncovered the truth, so the spy establishment switched to a cynical scare strategy: They claimed that public release of the committee’s findings would endanger “national security.”

This pathetic ploy to avoid accountability was widely ridiculed and rejected. So the CIA’s old boy club is now attacking the credibility and patriotism of the committee chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein. They started planning this disgraceful, cowardly assault last spring, when word first spread that the committee was finding a little shop of horrors inside the agency. Their PR campaign is led by three past CIA directors, using current staff in their shameful effort to bamboozle you and me.

By working so frenetically to cover their own hind ends, the CIA’s so-called leaders are bringing even greater shame to themselves, further gutting America’s moral standing in the world and diverting us from reforming the system so we can truthfully say: “We don’t torture people.”

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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