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Tags: Pete Hoekstra | torture report | CIA | Congress

Hoekstra: Torture Report a 'Total Coverup' of Role of Congress

By    |   Wednesday, 10 December 2014 10:41 AM EST

Tuesday’s so called "torture report" released by the Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee "is a total coverup of the role of Congress," former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra said Wednesday on "America’s Forum" and "Midpoint" on Newsmax TV.

"I assumed the chairmanship of the House Intel Committee in 2004," he said on "America's Forum." "Me and my Democratic counterparts were fully briefed on what enhanced interrogation techniques might be used on people that we capture and the whole role of Congress in this is totally whitewashed.

"And that's why [former CIA Director] Mike Hayden believes accurately that this will create a timid CIA — because in 2002-2005 when these activities were going on, they were rightfully told this is approved by the executive branch, it's been reviewed by the judicial branch, and Congress is fully aware of and supports what you are doing."

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Because the report is not bipartisan, it will not move the discussion on interrogation techniques or foreign policy, Hoekstra said.

"It's a Democratic report," he noted. "It should've been a bipartisan report if we actually wanted to have a genuine discussion and resolution as to what would be OK in terms of interrogating prisoners that we catch."

While it’s established that traditional laws of warfare do not apply to terrorist enemy combatants such as al-Qaida, Hoekstra said he agrees with Sen. John McCain that the issue is not what treaties the U.S. has signed to regulate U.S. behavior.

"This is about who we are and what we value and the code of conduct that we will carry forward regardless of what treaties we have put together," he said. "That's why a discussion on enhanced interrogations versus torture and those types of things would've been a very, very valuable discussion to have so that people like Sen. McCain and others could weigh in and chart a path forward — not publicly, but chart a path forward.

"That's not what this report is. It is a hack job by the Senate Democrats on their views on something that happened 13 years ago. It should've been focused on a bipartisan review."

The end result will be a "bureaucratized" CIA that "will not be able to give us the information that they need to provide us that will keep America safe," Hoekstra said.

When briefing Congress, CIA officials will take "very copious notes of who was actually in the meeting and what Congress was told so that they will have a better record of what Congress knew and when they knew it."

"The other thing that will happen is people in the field from the CIA are going to want to have written notification and authority to carry out certain very risky behaviors and risky tasks when they are asked to do those to make sure they have the clarity and the bureaucratic paperwork behind them authorizing whatever they are being asked to do," Hoekstra said.

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Hoekstra also appeared Wednesday on Newsmax TV's "MidPoint" with host Ed Berliner.

He said he and his fellow "Gang of Eight" House and Senate lawmakers — the top intelligence overseers from both parties in Congress — sat alongside Bush officials in the White House as CIA briefers told them how they operated.

"I remember sitting in the White House and having my Democrat colleagues sitting next to me being briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques and being shown how they might be applied … and how they would be used," said Hoekstra.

He said everybody in the room received "a verbal description of exactly what happened" with each enhanced interrogation technique, including waterboarding.

Nobody raised objections, said Hoekstra.

"Every single person around that table agreed that these programs and these techniques were essential and were appropriately used by the CIA," he said. "So if we're talking about prosecuting folks — and I'm one of them — let's not forget those folks in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate who were aware of these programs."

Hoekstra also told Berliner that Feinstein's release of the report is a morale-killer for intelligence operatives and others on the front lines of the fight to prevent future attacks.

"They're doing these actions believing that the president and Congress has their back," he said, "and what they're finding now is that that backstop doesn't last very long. It may only last from one administration to the next," he said.

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Headline
Tuesday's so-called "torture report" released by the Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee "is a total coverup of the role of Congress," former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra said Wednesday on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.
Pete Hoekstra, torture report, CIA, Congress
759
2014-41-10
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 10:41 AM
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