Senate Democrats urge probe of Bush Years CIA Interrogations

BY JIM KOURI

A waterboarding demonstration held by some of its opponents.
Credits: Police Times

Senate Democrats on Wednesday indicated their desire to investigate CIA agents who used aggressive techniques to question captured terrorists during the Bush years following the limited release of a 6,000-page investigative report.

At the same time that Democratic Party lawmakers are defending the Obama administration’s alleged cover-up of the shocking Benghazi consulate terrorist attack and downplaying the corruption in the Fast & Furious debacle, Senate Democrats are itching to again investigate interrogators from the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to vote before the Christmas recess on whether to approve the findings contained in a report of the Senate’s years-long investigation into the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism practices, including “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Unfortunately for the subjects of the investigation, the report is being kept classified and no one seems to know if Republican Senators, who boycotted the probe from the start, will endorse it. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the intelligence committee, confirmed that the panel would vote on the report next week, but it would still remain classified and unavailable to the news media and the public.

An important section of the committee’s report was the evaluation of enhanced interrogation techniques and whether they were effective in producing useful intelligence. Counterterrorism officials continue to claim that the interrogations, so demonized by the Democrats and left-wing organizations such as the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, actually led U.S. intelligence and military officers to the hideout of terrorist icon Osama bin Laden.

Committee members and staffers examined millions of pages of records charting the treatment of detainees handled by a CIA program that also included alleged secret prisons and the “rendition” (extradition) of suspects to countries where they were more likely subjected to brutal treatment by authorities.

Sources familiar with the committee’s report said it analyzes whether the enhanced interrogation practices used by the CIA were more or less effective than so-called non-coercive interrogation tactics in obtaining valuable intelligence from suspected terrorists.

Republicans had begun boycotting the investigation when President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder gave a Connecticut-based federal prosecutor, John Durham, the assignment of investigating whether or not U.S. laws were broken by CIA personnel. But the Durham probe was canceled in early 2012 without criminal charges being filed.

One of his first acts by Holder as the nation’s Attorney General was to appoint a federal prosecutor to probe the interrogation practices utilized during the presidency of George W. Bush. Ironically, it is believed that such interrogation methods — including the controversial waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique — helped the Navy SEALs, during the Obama administration, locate al-Qaeda’s supreme leader Osama bin Laden.

Even after boasting about his “getting” bin Laden, President Barack Obama refused admit that it was the use of the Bush Administration interrogation policy that helped in locating and killing bin Laden.

For more than 44 months, the Obama Justice Department investigated the treatment of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody going all the way back to Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda terrorists launched the most deadly attacks on American soil in U.S. history.

In August 2009, Attorney General Holder expanded his CIA investigation to include a complete probe of the CIA’s interrogation of detainees overseas. Holder’s expansion followed the public release of an inspector general’s report that claimed CIA interrogators threatened to kill a suspected terrorist’s family and told another detainee he’d be forced to watch his mother raped.

But in September 2012, Holder stated, “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the department has declined prosecution [of CIA officers] because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union called the outcome of the investigation a scandal and that the CIA undermined the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment.


The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.