Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 5:21 AM

Change … of mind: Obama investigates the CIA

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

It’s bullshit. It’s disgraceful. You wonder which side they’re on. It’s a total breach of faith, and either the president is intentionally caving to the left wing of his party or he’s lost control of his administration.  It’s a declaration of war against the CIA, and against common sense.

You will have thousands of lives that will be lost, and the blood will be on Eric Holder’s hands.

This was how Congressman Peter King of New York reacted to President Obama’s announcement on Monday that he’s allowing Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate CIA interrogators after all.   

And King’s profane reaction will resonate; not least because he’s the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Homeland Security and a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

Not to mention that it echoes the anti-terror gospel former Vice President Dick Cheney has been proselytizing ever since Obama was inaugurated. 

In fact, Cheney is now claiming that recently declassified CIA documents vindicate the Bush administration’s authorization of the enhanced interrogation techniques (aka torture) that the Obama administration now seems intent on criminalizing:

The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks…

The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by al Qaeda to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. President Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.

Frankly, no matter what moral or legal justification Obama proffers for ordering this investigation, it reeks of political pandering to the left-wing nuts in his party. After all, no less a person than Obama himself insisted just months ago (after being fully briefed as president) that such an investigation would serve no purpose, but would have a chilling effect on CIA operatives.

The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world… We must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs. This is a time for reflection, not retribution.

In fact, this was the assurance Obama gave CIA operatives in April after releasing Bush administration memos graphically detailing all of the controversial, if not illegal, techniques they used to extract information from terror suspects. 

And he clearly knew then that he was according them the notorious defense Nazi soldiers invoked; namely, that they should not face criminal prosecutions because they were simply obeying orders.

Incidentally, this political exercise would have some merit if Obama had the balls to go after Bush and Cheney – the men who ordered the interrogation techniques now under investigation.

But fallout from betraying his word to CIA operatives should be the least of his concerns – as I warned in an earlier commentary:

Obama’s presidency is now doomed if terrorists pull off another 9/11-style attack. Especially since this would stand in damning contrast to one of the only redeeming features of Bush’s purportedly failed presidency, namely, that he protected the American people from such an attack. 

Until Obama leads the country through seven years without another terrorist attack, I am going to accept President Bush’s word that the enhanced interrogation techniques he approved were absolutely indispensable in foiling numerous attacks and saving thousands of American lives.  The proof is in the pudding….

And frankly, I don’t give a damn if, by some subjective application of international law, those techniques amount to torture. It certainly beats the alternative!

[CIA Memogate: protecting the American people or betraying American values, TIJ, April 23, 2009]

I remain an ardent Obama supporter. But there’s no denying that his flip flop on this issue reeks of the politicization of national security he always condemned Bush for engaging in.

Related commentaries:
CIA Memogate
…Cheney wishing for US to be attacked
Speaker Pelosi accuses CIA of lying to Congress

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