Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan says it’s high time to have the CIA declassify and release its memos on the successes of enhanced CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees.
The ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair had touted the “[h]igh value information” that came from interrogations enhanced with water-boarding techniques. Blair concluded that when those methods were used they provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaida enemy, Hoekstra noted.
“Members of Congress calling for an investigation of the enhanced interrogation program should remember that such an investigation can’t be a selective review of information, or solely focus on the lawyers who wrote the memos, or the low-level employees who carried out this program,” Hoekstra wrote.
“I have asked Mr. Blair to provide me with a list of the dates, locations and names of all members of Congress who attended briefings on enhanced interrogation techniques,” Hoekstra added.
He argued that in addition to exposing the names of the initiated on Capitol Hill, any fair investigation would also require that the Obama administration release the memos on the successes of the controversial program requested by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cheney told Fox News this week that in his opinion the American people should be made aware how successful enhanced interrogation methods had been in preventing terrorist attacks and saving lives.
He added that once this was understood by the public, they would comprehend why such techniques had been given the go-ahead.
“I haven’t talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country,” Cheney said, according to a report by Fox News.
Cheney further noted that he has asked the CIA to declassify those memos. He has reportedly also written to the White House asking for documents showing the effectiveness of water-boarding to be made public.
For those that would argue against releasing the success memos or even the names of the members of Congress who knew all about the enhanced interrogations, Hoekstra pointed out that
President Obama went against the advice of CIA director Leon Panetta and four prior CIA directors to reveal the memos.
“It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002,” Hoekstra wrote.
Hoekstra also chided the president for his backtracking this week, pointing to how the chief executive had now “opened the door to possible prosecution of Justice Department attorneys who provided legal advice with respect to the enhanced interrogations program.”
“The president also signaled that he may support some kind of independent inquiry into the program. It seems that he has capitulated to left-wing groups and some in Congress who are demanding show trials over this program,” he wrote.
Any investigation, Hoekstra wrote, must include an expert assessment of “the likely damage done to U.S. national security by Mr. Obama’s decision to release the memos over the objections of Mr. Panetta and four of his predecessors.”
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