Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed a prosecutor to re-investigate nearly a dozen CIA interrogators and contractors alleged to have abused detainees in 2002 and 2003. This is outlandish. It is no accident that the United States has been free of al Qaeda attack since 9/11. The CIA played a vital role in that accomplishment. President Obama has repeatedly assured the American people he wants to look forward, not back on CIA interrogations. It is time he lived up to this promise, and to stop this political witch hunt.
No New Information: There are no new details about the CIA interrogation program. While the release of the 2004 CIA inspector general report has exposed some new information to the public, Holder read the report months ago. Both the Department of Justice and the leadership of the Congressional intelligence committees have had the full report since 2004, and the full committees have had it since 2006. The only thing that has changed since both the DOJ and Congress received the full report is the 2008 presidential election.
An Unnecessary Investigation: The DOJs career prosecutors have already examined the CIA document and other incidents from Iraq and Afghanistan for legal accountability. CIA Director, and former Chief of Staff to President Clinton, Leon Panetta stated that the DOJs career prosecutors worked carefully and thoroughly, sometimes taking years to decide if prosecution was warranted or not. In one case, the Department obtained a criminal conviction of a CIA contractor. In other instances, after Justice chose not to pursue action in court, the Agency took disciplinary steps of its own.
The Program Worked: Terrorist plots in Los Angeles and London were thwarted due to information obtained through CIA interrogations. The 2004 CIA IG report states: The detention of terrorists has prevented them from engaging in further terrorist activity, and their interrogation has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists, warned of terrorists plots planned for the United States and around the world, and supported articles frequently used in the finished intelligence publications for senior policymakers and war fighters. In this regard, there is no doubt that the Program has been effective.
A Politically Motivated Re-Investigation Can Only Harm National Security: This re-investigation will have a chilling effect on the morale of our intelligence agents, and will likely leave officers in the field wondering whether they should be more concerned about getting terrorists or getting lawyers. Additionally, the public release of such information will allow al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorists to use it for propaganda purposes, allowing them to recruit new members and raise funds for training and operations. And lastly, the discretionary publication of national security information, though redacted, will also give intelligence allies pause. Why share secrets with the Americans if it’s going to end up on the front page and the Internet?
New Interrogation Guidelines Inadequate To Protect Nation: The Obama administration announced that their new program for future interrogations would be controlled by the Army Field Manual, a public document that al Qaeda has been training with since 2006. Furthermore, law enforcement officials across the country are allowed to lie to suspects in order to get key information or confessions. Yet under the Obama administrations new policy, agents are constrained by 19 restrictive techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual, which exclude common sense techniques like lying. Restricting our agents to those interrogation techniques is potentially dangerous and inadequate to protect this country.
Double Standard of Needed Investigations: Four years ago, the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame was leaked to the press. The left and media went wild, and demanded an investigation into the leak. A few weeks ago, the New York Times outed another agent, yet there has been no call for an investigation into this leak. There has also been no call by the media or the left to investigate the detainee defense attorneys who outed CIA agents. Indeed, these attorneys showed pictures of undercover agents to detainees in blatant violation of the law.
Check our Heritage analyst Peter Brookes’ article to learn more.