Tuesday, December 9, 2014 11:48 pm
Former CIA agents and their supporters came out swinging against Tuesday’s scathing US Senate report on interrogation, accusing its authors of falsehoods and of politicizing the highly-charged issue.
One group, describing itself as ex-CIA officials with “hundreds of years of combined service,” bluntly asserted that the 6,700-page report by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats was “marred by errors of facts and interpretation and is completely at odds with the reality” experienced by the Central Intelligence Agency.
“In fact, the program led to the capture of senior Al-Qaeda leaders, including helping to find Osama bin Laden,” the group wrote on a website set up to rebut criticism — ciasavedlives.com.
Feinstein’s report insists the Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which in some cases amounted to torture, yielded no particularly useful intelligence.
The extensive website, which went live shortly after intelligence panel chair Senator Dianne Feinstein released the explosive report, offered a comprehensive rebuttal, with hundreds of memoranda the group said were official documents showing the White House and congressional leaders were kept well aware of the scope of the secret program.
“The Justice Department and White House were involved from the very beginning of the interrogation program,” the group said, countering claims in Feinstein’s report that the CIA misled administration officials and lawmakers about the extent of the interrogations’ brutality.
It did not say precisely when president George W. Bush was made aware of the details of the program.
But George Tenet, who headed the CIA under president Bill Clinton and then Bush, insisted the program was greenlighted by Bush himself.
“The documents will demonstrate that, at a time of grave threat to the United States, the program was effective in saving American and allied lives and in preventing another mass casualty attack on American soil,” he said on the website.
The group also noted tha “Congress was in the loop,” noting that the eight top congressional leaders were extensively briefed.
“The briefings were detailed and drew reactions that ranged from approval to no objection to encouragement to be even more aggressive.”
Over the span of five years and to the cost of $40 million to taxpayers, the panel’s Democratic members and staffers “cherry-picked through six million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the majority wanted,” the group said.
“In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization.”