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Bob Kerrey: 'Partisan' Interrogation Report Failed America

By    |   Wednesday, 10 December 2014 09:06 PM

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey slammed Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday for issuing a "partisan" report that will make it more difficult for U.S. intelligence to defeat terrorists.

Kerrey, a Nebraska Democrat who served on the intelligence panel for eight years, wrote in USA Today that "in the war against global jihadism, human intelligence and interrogation have become more important and I worry that the partisan nature of this report could make this kind of collection more difficult."

When Congress created the intelligence committees in the 1970s, the purpose was to enable lawmakers "to stand above the fray and render balanced judgments about this most sensitive aspect of national security," he wrote.

But the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, "departed from that high road and slipped into the same partisan mode that marks most of what happens on Capitol Hill these days."

Republicans on the committee "checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it," Kerrey emphasized.

Kerrey, who retired in 2001 after 12 years in the Senate, contrasted the Feinstein panel’s handling of the interrogation issue with the Intelligence Committee's investigation of earlier intelligence failures, including the case of Aldrich Ames, a CIA agent who was unmasked as a Russian spy in the 1990s.

In those cases, "we were very critical of the practices of the intelligence agencies," Kerrey wrote. But "we avoided partisan pressure to blame the opposing party."

In these efforts, committee staffers "examined documents and interviewed all of the individuals involved," he added. But in putting together the interrogation report issued this week, "the Senate’s Intelligence Committee staff chose to interview no one."

Kerrey found the stated reason for the panel’s failure to conduct interviews — that some officers could not be interviewed because they were under investigation — unpersuasive, noting that the investigations of intelligence officers in connection with the "torture" allegations ended by 2012.

Fairness should dictate that examining documents alone does not "eliminate the need for interviews conducted by the investigators. Isolated emails, memos and transcripts can look much different when there is no context or perspective provided by those who sent, received or recorded them," Kerrey wrote.

The "worst consequence" of such a partisan report "can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations" of how to do things better," the former senator added.

This is perhaps "the most significant missed opportunity, because no one would claim the [enhanced interrogation] program was perfect or without its problems," Kerrey concluded.

But at the same time, "no one with real experience would claim it was the completely ineffective and superfluous effort this report alleges."

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Former Sen. Bob Kerrey slammed Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday for issuing a "partisan" report that will make it more difficult for U.S. intelligence to defeat terrorists.
CIA, torture, report, Bob Kerrey, blasts, Feinstein, Democrats, panel, report, CIA
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2014-06-10
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 09:06 PM
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