The other day, the Washington Post had a piece about how awesome torture was and how it worked, that read as though it were written by Dick Cheney or Stephen Hayes. I’m used to seeing those by now, but it wasn’t in the Op-Ed section. Instead, it was a news story from the front-page section. I could go on and on about it, but Glenzilla really says everything important about it, so check it out.
Instead, I’d like to call your attention to a new piece in the Post today titled “Ex-Intelligence Officials Cite Low Spirits at CIA.” (And just fyi, I think I’ve decided to adopt the policy of never linking to the Post again, unless it’s Ezra Klein, since it’s probably the most pernicious major national newspaper). The article says basically what you’d expect, that because of Eric Holder’s decision to launch an investigation, CIA operatives are really upset, because they will feel handcuffed and prevented from performing certain operations, techniques, etc.
But here’s the key paragraph:
“A much-discussed question is whether the legal reassurances of one administration carry over to its successor. “When a previous administration says something was legal, and the next says it doesn’t matter, the result is hesitancy to take on cutting-edge missions,” the former senior official warned.”
Two things: first of all, that should not be a much-discussed question, since the entire basis for Holder’s investigation (and indeed, the reason why many people including me are furious about the scope of the investigation) is that the legal reassurances of Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Bybee et al are completely valid, and the only people who will be targeted are those who went beyond what the administration allowed. Waterboarding someone so often is legal – those who did it more frequently are the lawbreakers, etc.
Second, I’m getting tired of stories about the CIA’s morale, and CIA director Leon Panetta’s being pissed, and such. Why does the CIA think it is entitled to no oversight? Why is it that if some people at the IRS were found to be guilty of embezzling money or something, and we prosecuted the people who did it, we would never hear the IRS bitch and moan about how they were now unable to do their work because of hand-cuffing laws and political decisions. But the delicate flowers who work at the CIA apparently cannot handle the slightest bit of sunlight on them whenever they blatantly break even the most fraudulent laws.
Regarding point #1 above, check out this clip of interview with Cheney today (via):
WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re OK with it?
CHENEY: I am.
There is no form of torture the torture apologists aren’t willing to excuse. I guess if I understood that level of depravity, then maybe the CIA’s emo angst would make more sense.
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