The CIA, Interrogation, and Feinstein’s Parting Shot

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tags: torture, CIA, interrogation, Feinstein



Max Boot is a leading military historian and foreign-policy analyst. The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, he is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller "Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present." His earlier books include "War Made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History, 1500 to Today" and "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power."

Readers of news coverage of the CIA “torture” report, with details about all the unpleasant techniques employed by interrogators to elicit information from suspected terrorists, might be wondering why an agency of the U.S. government did such heinous things. The answer comes from a veteran Washington politician: 

It is worth remembering the pervasive fear in late 2001 and how immediate the threat felt. Just a week after the September 11 attacks, powdered anthrax was sent to various news organizations and to two U.S. Senators. The American public was shocked by news of new terrorist plots and elevations of the color-coded threat level of the Homeland Security Advisory System. We expected further attacks against the nation…. 


I can understand the CIA’s impulse to consider the use of every possible tool to gather intelligence and remove terrorists from the battlefield, and CIA was encouraged by political leaders and the public to do whatever it could to prevent another attack. 


The Intelligence Committee as well often pushes intelligence agencies to act quickly in response to threats and world events. 


The author of those sentences is none other than Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (though for not much longer) who ordered the report in question compiled and released. Given the undoubted truth of these comments, offered by way of a preamble, it is hard to know why the senator nevertheless felt compelled to release for public consumption this report that will undoubtedly damage American credibility and standing in the world and could well diminish the effectiveness of the very agencies that we count on to protect us from today’s most pressing dangers...






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