Recently, I raised some questions about the reports that Democratic members of Congress had been aware of CIA interrogation methods.
Now, members of Congress themselves are suggesting that the CIA put out the information about the briefings in order to pass the buck. There are crucial questions we should be asking about the CIA, about the efficacy of the so-called “oversight” process, and about whether anyone in our democracy is able to truly question or tame this oft-controversial agency.
Here’s a Politico piece quoting Hill Democrats:
Democrats charged Tuesday that the CIA has released documents about congressional briefings on harsh interrogation techniques in order to deflect attention and blame away from itself.
“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the CIA] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.
Meanwhile, in a New York Times op-ed, a former CIA lawyer warns about the inadequacies of the oversight process, and the notion that a handful in Congress receiving briefings is somehow sufficient:
The framers of the Constitution never intended for small numbers of legislators to be culled from Congress and expected to act as a check on the excesses of the executive.