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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-09-09 05:56 PM
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What Did The CIA Hide From Congress?

Jul 9 2009, 5:49 pm by Marc Ambinder
What Did The CIA Hide From Congress?

Because the executive branch retains a stranglehold on regulations about the disclosure of classified information, there are very few ways for member of Congress who learn about objectionable, classified programs to reveal their discomfort. They can write a classified letter. They can risk prosecution by revealing the information publicly. Or they can do what a gaggle of House Democrats did yesterday: band together, suggest that the CIA misled them about a specific program, and wait for journalists to uncover the details.

In some ways, this last route is a reasonable accommodation of competing interests. If Congress believes the CIA's program is or was illegal and unethical, the single way to ensure that the program -- or the values that informed the program -- never surfaces again is to utilize public pressure, or the threat of public pressure. Transparency often conflicts with efficiency.

It's inevitable, now, that we'll soon be provided with a fairly full accounting of the covert program that director Leon Panetta discovered, stopped, and brought to Congress's attention. All the major intellireporters are on the trail. There are plenty of former IC folks who are willing to hint about the details, provided they're asked the right questions.

I don't know what the program is. No one I asked would shed any light on it. From the reports of others, though, and from guesswork derived from a knowledge of what the CIA is chartered to do (provide exclusive political intelligence (that can only be clandestinely obtained) to our political leaders about major developments), I can come up with a few possibilities.


What's clear is that Democrats on the committee were sufficiently outraged by the disclosure to make public the fact that something was disclosed. This may be the only way to hold the CIA accountable in an era where the executive branch refuses to relax briefing procedures. It may be irresponsible and jeopardize ongoing operations. It may be related to the CIA v. Pelosi grudge match. Soon enough, we'll have our answers.
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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-09-09 06:02 PM
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1. The only reports I have heard--Secret CIA program and even Panetta
did not know about it until the day before he briefed Cong.Committee

It has been disbanded and according to Lawrence O'Donnell,
Paneta has initiated and investigation.

It appears classified so we do not know what the purpose of the

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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 11:17 AM
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Tace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 01:50 PM
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3. Torture Of Innocents As Part Of Intelligence-Gathering Initiative
I don't have a link, but I'm guessing this is the practice that was revealed that the Bush administration used of arresting innocent civilians in war zones and torturing them to gather intelligence. It's my understanding that the Bush administration believed that it provided very valuable intelligence, since the innocents arrested knew all kinds of useful things about where they lived, even though they were not involved in terrorist or enemy activity.

One of the problems is, of course, that many of those those tortured were completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

Plus, there's the issue of torture, aside from whether they were innocent or guilty of any wrongdoing.
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