Sigh. I was not going to comment on David Patraeus gross dereliction of duty but several colleagues are totally pissed off and they are correct to be angry. Here are a mix of supposition and fact along with my conclusions on this sorry disgrace to the Republic. HOWEVER, I conclude this is not about Patraeus — many others should be indicted along with him and many others have committed high crimes and misdemeanors that exhonerate him in relative terms.
UPDATED to integrate specific observations from IDENS A-C.
UPDATED to add key paragraphs from Marcy Wheeler at SALON and Ray McGovern.
The flaws in this intelligence-reform mentality are four-fold—and each plays a role in how proposals like Brennan’s reported reforms are generated and discussed, as well as past reforms such as creating the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. First, many intelligence-reform proponents conflate the very different disciplines of what we normally think of as intelligence and security intelligence, which includes activities like counterterrorism. Second, the problems with the CIA and the U.S. Intelligence Community are organizational. Third, security stovepipes no longer reflect modern intelligence concerns. Finally, they assume U.S. intelligence agencies are basically the same, making centralization and reducing duplication effective means of improving intelligence performance.
CIA director John Brennan, having failed to block the release of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on torture and abuse, is now abetting the efforts of former CIA directors and deputy directors to rebut the report’s conclusions that the interrogation techniques amounted to sadism and that senior CIA officials lied to the White House, the Congress, and the Department of Justice about the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation program. Former CIA directors George Tenet and Michael Hayden and deputy directors John McLaughlin and Steve Kappes, who were guilty of past deceit on sensitive issues, have threatened to make documents available to undermine the findings of the Senate committee. The senior operations officer who ran the CIA’s torture and abuse program, Jose Rodriquez, has been permitted to write a book and a long essay in the Washington Post that argue the interrogation techniques were legal and effective. Their charges are completely spurious and their credibility is non-existent. Read more.
The release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program is, among other things, an epic act of record preservation. Numerous CIA records that might not have been disclosed for decades, or ever, were rescued from oblivion by the Senate report and are now indelibly cited and quoted, even if many of them are not yet released in full. That’s not a small thing, since the history of the CIA interrogation program was not a story that the Agency was motivated or equipped to tell. Read more.