I confess that I do not understand the rationale supporting the publication of the Democrats’ Senate Select Committee study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. On its face, it seems like ancient history (of a highly tendentious kind) in the service of a personal grudge. It is not clear to me what is new and it is not clear that what is new is reliable, given the absurd limitations of the committee’s investigation.
Even though the practices criticized in the report are ancient history, we are still fighting the war that gave rise to them. We are still at risk. Yet the report sells out allies. It benefits enemies. It seems like a partisan hatchet job. It seems like a disgrace.
Senator Dianne Feinstein is the person without whom the report would not have been published. Its publication has triggered heightened security for American installations around the world. It could get Americans killed.
That’s not a reason for withholding publication. We don’t give terrorists a veto over our public discourse. But given the source of the report in a congressional committee, the report’s publication calls for the statement of a rationale. What purpose is being served here? I’m not clear on that. As Paul Mirengoff demonstrated with great acuity, I’m not the only one.
Wolf Blitzer addressed the security concerns triggered by the report’s publication to Senator Feinstein herself yesterday. “[I]f Americans are killed as a result of this report and they tell you that, I assume you would feel guilty about that,” Blitzer observed.
Senator Feinstein was not amused. She was defensive. Sounding like an annoyed schoolmarm, she responded: “I would feel very badly, of course. I mean what do you think, Wolf Blitzer?” I would have thought she could do better than that.
And then Feinstein addressed the timing of the publication of the report: “But we lose control. At the end of this year, the Republicans take control. And there’s some evidence that this report would never see the light of day,” she continued. “We believe it should see the light of day. And let me say this. This is a 400-plus-page summary. It is not the 4,600 page documentary of all of the detail of what happened. That can be declassified and released one day at an appropriate time.”