Tags: obama | cheney | cia | terror

Administration's Investigation of CIA Misguided

Tuesday, 25 Aug 2009 02:45 PM

By Phil Brennan

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It seems obvious that the decision of Attorney General Eric Holder is based less on a search for justice and more of a witless attempt to divert the public's attention away from Barack Obama and his party's current troubles.

The Obama administration is in deep trouble. The president's approval ratings are dropping day by day, his health reform plan is massively distrusted by a majority of Americans, and the nation is staggered by nine trillion dollars in new red ink it increasingly blames on the president and his party.

The decision to launch an investigation of some members of the intelligence community is about the dumbest thing the president and his party could have done. It will enrage much of the nation, and could endanger national security and the safety of all Americans.

In the mid 1970s two congressional committees, one chaired by Sen. Frank Church and another by Rep. Otis Pike, rampaged through our intelligence community and created an atmosphere of fear within the CIA and FBI that crippled national security for years and vastly contributed to the failures that led to the horrors of 9/11.

What Holder is planning is nothing less than a repeat of the wreckage wrought by the Church and Pike committees: the destruction of the effectiveness and morale of the unheralded men and women in the clandestine services that serve as the eyes and ears of the United States government and act as a shield between those who would harm us at home and the American people, their ultimate target.

It is alleged that in the interrogation of known terrorists in our custody, inhumane methods were employed to obtain information about terrorist plans and activities that threatened national security.

The alleged mistreatment of captured terrorists pales in comparison with the years of real torture endured by John McCain and his fellow prisoners of war in North Vietnam. One POW, Admiral Jeremiah Denton, was repeatedly tortured during his seven years of imprisonment. He said that for 2 1/2 years he spent 17 to 18 hours a day in irons and was confined in a coffin-sized 47 inch by 47 inch cell, sleeping on a stone slab.

In comparison today's allegedly mistreated detainees are well fed and live comfortably in quarters in Guantanamo, their every need provided by U.S. taxpayers.

According to the report, the allegedly inhumane methods employed by CIA interrogators amounted to play acting such as showing the mock execution of another detainee to frighten the prisoner into revealing terrorist plans for future attacks and making other unfulfilled threats such as showing one prisoner a gun and an electric drill and warning yet another detainee that he would be forced to watch his mother being raped. None of these threats were real.

According to former Vice President Dick Cheney the interrogations helped prevent more 9/11s. In his words they "saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks." He added that the CIA interrogators "deserve our gratitude" and should not "be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions."

Said Cheney in a statement given to The Weekly Standard: "The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al-Qaida.

"President [Barack]Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security."

Cheney added that ". . . These detainees also, according to the documents, played a role in nearly every capture of al-Qaida members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by al-Qaida to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States."

The report itself acknowledges the debt the nation owes to the CIA, citing the agency's successes.

Unspoken was the fact that the widely expected future attacks on the homeland never took place and the U.S. has been spared new 9/11s.

The American people know this and appreciate the successful efforts made to protect them by CIA interrogators now being threatened with criminal prosecution. They will bitterly resent the administration's actions to punish those heroes who protected them from harm.

Moreover they know that the threatened legal actions against their CIA protectors are harming their morale and effectiveness, and threaten to diminish our readiness for future attacks, as the Church and Pike investigations did.

This boneheaded action, obviously taken to combat the damage being done to the administration by its recent failures, is going to haunt it. It will be shown as an exercise in sheer stupidity by an increasingly inept conglomeration of far-left loonies and dedicated socialists in the Obama administration.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Phil Brennan writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at pvb@pvbr.com.

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