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WaPo's Thiessen: Senate's Torture Report Is Partisan, 'Shameful'

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 06:05 PM

By Aaron Stern

A 6,300-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation tactics in the years after 9/11 was completely unnecessary.

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen vehemently disagrees, and thinks most people will agree with him when the classified report is eventually released.

"What we're going to find is a partisan hatchet job," Thiessen told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Thiessen, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, said Monday that the $40 million report was written solely by the committee's Democrats because the Republicans didn't like the partisan tone it was taking from the outset.

But the biggest problem with the report, he said, is that instead of asking a question and searching for answers, it started from a premise — that the clandestine torture program produced no results and wasn't needed  — and then found facts to support that premise.

Thiessen compared the report to solving a jigsaw puzzle by looking at the overall picture and then finding the appropriate pieces to complete the picture.

"But we didn't have the cover of the box at the time, so it's very easy to go back when  once you have the cover of the box and say, 'oh, it'll be so easy to put this thing together, this is a snap.'

"But when you don't have that picture, you can't, and [alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and the [other] detainees, they have the picture on the cover of the box, they gave us the picture on the cover of the box, and that's what was so important about this program."

Story continues below video.

Thiessen, in his column in Monday's Post, wrote about the tough position the report puts CIA Director John Brennan in: toeing the anti-torture party line with his boss, President Barack Obama, and backing the men and women he oversees, many of whom were a part of the Bush-era CIA practices condemned in the new report.

Brennan's response will be a test of character and a potentially significant blow to the credibility of the report, Thiessen said.

"John Brennan, who is the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, used to be the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, so he was one of the principal consumers of intelligence from this interrogation program. If [the Bush-era program] produced no useful intelligence, he would be the first person to tell you this.

"He's an Obama partisan, he's not a Bush partisan, he helped Obama in his campaign. If he's not coming out and saying that this committee report is on the money, then it's not on the money."

The bottom line, said Thiessen, is that the report is factually flawed and politically motivated, and antagonizes those who have warded off potential domestic terror attacks.

"I think it's shameful what they're doing," he said.

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