The Wall Street Journal Contributes to a Possible Torture "Truth Commission"
The Wall Street Journal points out that some Congress members are also complicit in pre-knowledge of possibly criminal torture policies of the Bush administration:
Beginning in 2002, Nancy Pelosi and other key Democrats (as well as Republicans) on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were thoroughly, and repeatedly, briefed on the CIA's covert antiterror interrogation programs. They did nothing to stop such activities, when they weren't fully sanctioning them. If they now decide the tactics they heard about then amount to abuse, then by their own logic they themselves are complicit. Let's review the history the political class would prefer to forget.
According to our sources and media reports we've corroborated, the classified briefings began in the spring of 2002 and dealt with the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, a high-value al Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan. In succeeding months and years, more than 30 Congressional sessions were specifically devoted to the interrogation program and its methods, including waterboarding and other aggressive techniques designed to squeeze intelligence out of hardened detainees like Zubaydah.
The briefings were first available to the Chairmen and ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees. From 2003 through 2006, that gang of four included Democrats Bob Graham and John D. Rockefeller in the Senate and Jane Harman in the House, as well as Republicans Porter Goss, Peter Hoekstra, Richard Shelby and Pat Roberts. Senior staffers were sometimes present. After September 2006, when President Bush publicly acknowledged the program, the interrogation briefings were opened to the full committees.
If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding. And if Democrats thought it was illegal or really found the CIA's activities so heinous, one of them could have made a whistle-blowing floor statement under the protection of the Constitution's speech and debate clause. They'd have broken their secrecy oaths and jeopardized national security, sure. But if they believed that Bush policies were truly criminal, didn't they have a moral obligation to do so?
Lest you think the Journal has gone "soft of terror," they are of course running this article with the intention of pulling a reductio ad absurdum on any attempts to bring government officials complicit in such policies to justice, or at least to some political damage, through a thorough investigation into Bush administration interrogation policies.
However, intentionally or not, the Journal has done a service in bringing this to, or back to, our attention. No politicians of whatever party or whatever branch should pass through their roles in these crimes unscathed, either by possible legal action or the public obloquy they deserve.