CIA Director Leon Panetta, my former colleague in Congress, has issued a statement that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was advised as a member of Congress about the use of waterboarding, but did not protest.
I can appreciate her not protesting after 9/11 when the country and its congressional leaders felt extremely vulnerable. However, it is mystifying why she would deny having received the information that the CIA says it provided. Interest in hearings to determine what really happened, who knew what and when they knew it, is rising. Such hearings should be bi-partisan and comprised of distinguished universally respected citizens — no members of Congress — similar to the 9/11 Commission to get the truth out.
Obviously, an additional objective should be to ascertain whether torture in any situation at any time produced information that resulted in our security agencies being able to avoid any catastrophic situation, the so-called ticking-bomb scenario.
There are those, like Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Anthony Romero, who argue that it never has. In a debate on “Meet The Press” this Sunday, Congressman Peter King, R-N.Y. argued that FBI Director Robert Mueller, CIA Director George Tenet ,and Director Gen. Michael Hayden of the National Security Agency “said [torture] did work” in preventing other catastrophes. Put these men under oath, and find out what really happened.
How many Democratic members of Congress are willing to stand up and defend the president’s decision to prohibit the release of degrading photographs of military detainees? The President originally supported the photos’ release, but changed his mind on advice of secretary of defense, Robert Gates and Field Cmdr. Gen. Raymond Odierno who believe the safety of our troops is paramount.
ACLU Director Romero should be asked if he believes transparency — the release of the pictures to the public — is equal to or more important than the safety of our troops.
If he says release will not increase the danger, he should be asked if he believes his opinion is of equal credibility to the opinions of Secretary Gates and General Odierno.
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