Hit & Run

After Years of Wrangling, Senate Torture Report Drops Tomorrow

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Liberty for some. Sinuses full of water for others.
Credit: Shrieking Tree / photo on flickr

American embassies are apparently on "high alert" overseas in foreign countries in preparation for the release tomorrow of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture. The report descrbes interrogations that took place in during the Iraq War under the George W. Bush administration. The White House has "alerted" relevant parties in other countries to the "No Shit, Sherlock" news that America's terrible behavior during the war is going to inflame radicals and terrorists.

ABC News says not only does the report go into detail about waterboarding but also describes how "prisoners were sexually demeaned, and CIA interrogators were urged to continue, even after concluding that no more information could be gleaned."

Predictably, people who never want this information to get out don't want this information to get out. Soon to be ex-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) literally argues it shouldn't be released because it makes us look bad and will be used against us. Yes, indeed, our involvement in torture makes us look terrible in the eyes of the world and our enemies. That's one of the reasons why we aren't supposed to do it, not why we're supposed to hide it after the fact:

"They don't have to be accurate or right. They just have to believe it's true and they will take advantage of that," Rogers said. "We know that ISIL propaganda operations will -- this is the motherlode for them."

Rogers said that there is credible warning that release of the report will endanger Americans around the world.

"You have foreign leaders saying this report in its current form will incite violence," he said. "You have liaison partners in the intelligence community saying this will incite violence. This will in fact incite violence and it's likely to cost someone their life."

I should point out, since Rogers is acting like this report was tossed together by some interns as a summer project, that the torture report is years in the making, originates from CIA's own documentation, and is thousands of pages long. The part of the torture report that will be released is just the executive summary, which will still be clocking in at about 500 pages (with currently unknown levels of redaction).

It's an awful, unserious response, which shouldn't really be a surprise at this point. The torture itself has damaged our reputation, not its revelation. The blame for any violence that comes from the release of the report falls squarely on those who chose to pursue torture as a form of interrogation, not for the release of the report itself.

Foreign Policy reports that former intelligence officials plan to launch a website tomorrow to counter the Senate report called "CIASavedLives.com."

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