A Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) report on the CIA and the “enhanced interrogation” methods used in the Iraq War fails to place any blame on George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, or the administration’s top lawyers, reported McClatchy.
The report, which will be released soon, “doesn’t assess the responsibility of [Bush] or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.”
A source who spoke to McClatchy on the condition of anonymity said:
“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions … It doesn’t not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law.”
The inquiry, which cost $40 million and took five years, might have been the last chance to really examine the “culpability of [the Bush administration] and other senior officials for the program, in which suspected terrorists were abducted, sent to secret overseas prisons, and subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques,” like waterboarding.
“If it’s the case that the report doesn’t really delve into the White House role, then that’s a pretty serious indictment of the report,” Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University Law School, told McClatchy. “Ideally, it should come to some sort of conclusions on whether there were legal violations, and if so, who was responsible.”
Goitein also said the report was important because it will give “the public facts even if it doesn’t come to these conclusions. The reason we have this factual accounting is not for prurient interest. It’s so we can avoid something like this ever happening again.”
Members of the SIC have called the report one of the “most important oversight efforts in the history of the United States Senate,” but the committee dropped a five-year demand that the White House turn over more than 9,000 documents related to the enhanced interrogation program. Its requests were continually denied over “executive branch confidentiality interests.”
Without these documents, calling the inquiry complete, or even entirely thorough is a stretch. And to leave the roles that members of the Bush administration played out of the report is ridiculous.
It was Bush and Cheney and their cronies that pushed the US into a war for which the country wasn’t prepared. It was the Bush administration that approved the interrogation techniques that the CIA implemented. They have escaped any penance for their actions, and with this report ignoring their actions, it’s unlikely they will ever have to pay any price for them.