Nerves fray over CIA report’s release


Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee have been planning for months to release the findings of their investigation on the CIA’s Bush-era interrogation program this fall.

But with little more than 60 days until the midterm elections, a release of the report could leave Democrats vulnerable to attack from Republicans and other critics who say its details about U.S. intelligence gathering might jeopardize national security.

The anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 is less than two weeks away, offering another echo of the grave threats that face the United States and thereby presenting one more obstacle to an imminent release of the report.

Earlier this month, an internal U.S. intelligence memo warned that publication of the report could potentially result in violent street protests and threats to U.S. embassies and personnel overseas, according to Yahoo! News.

“We got a big fight going on in Iraq and Syria right now,” Daniel Gallington, senior policy and program adviser at the George C. Marshall Institute told The Hill. Gallington previously served as bipartisan general counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“The timing of this thing will already serve to inflame all kinds of ignorant audiences throughout the world. Is the timing responsible? I think, no, it’s not,” he said.

Americans may also have even less appetite than usual right now for criticism of intelligence agencies that see themselves as fighting on the frontline against terrorists.

The gruesome beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is fresh in the public’s mind. 

new survey by Rasmussen Reports said three out of four voters felt the killer of Foley should be sentenced to death if tried and convicted in an American court.

The group has already threatened to behead another journalist, Steven Sotloff, if the Unied States does not stop airstrikes in Iraq. ABC News has reported that ISIS is also holding a 26-year-old American woman.

“These are people who kill children and women for going to school,” said Gallington. “They adhere to no rules whatsoever, no international laws, they’ve broken every human rights rule in every country, and yet they expect to be treated like ladies and gentlemen.”

The report has long been a partisan issue. Republicans on the committee refused to take part in the investigation, which was launched by Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in 2009.

Feinstein’s staff has reviewed more than 6 million documents, and produced a 6,300 page-report with a 500-page summary. The report’s summary, findings and conclusions were slated to be released in August, after the administration’s review, but that was delayed after Feinstein said she wanted to roll back some of the CIA’s heavy redactions.

Those who have seen the report say it will contain shocking new details about the CIA’s program, showing that no useful intelligence was gleaned from enhanced interrogation techniques and that those techniques amounted to torture.

Republicans disagree, saying that the report is an attempt to embarrass the Bush administration and CIA officials who conducted the program. Republican committee members have written a dissent to the report’s finding.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who sits on the Intelligence committee and is facing a tough Senate reelection bid against GOP challenger Cory Gardner, supports releasing the findings on the program because it could “shed light on this dark chapter of American history,” according to a spokesman.

“He believes the swift declassification — with as few redactions as possible — will not only..
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