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Korobov: On interrogations, Congress could be culpable

BY MICHAEL KOROBOV | DECEMBER 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a controversial report on Dec. 9 on the CIA’s interrogation program between 2001 and 2006. Since its inception in 2009, the report took five years and $40 million to put together. While the national debate on what constitutes torture has been raging in the country for quite some time, this report provides startling new information.

According to the new report, the CIA misled government officials, used harsher techniques, and targeted more detainees than previously believed. On top of this, the report challenges the effectiveness of these methods in obtaining credible information.

The report’s claims are controversial; some have expressed outrage over the findings, while CIA officials have insisted that the report contains inaccuracies or cherry-picks facts. If the intelligent report is indeed accurate, it would certainly paint a disturbing picture of the techniques used to interrogate terrorist suspects during that time.

Some of the most disturbing information revealed involves a terrorist’s eye being injured so badly that it had to be surgically removed. There were also detainees who died because of hypothermia. One official was accused of playing Russian roulette with a detainee. The report alleges that no CIA agents were disciplined because of these abuses.

Understandably, many legislators, especially Democratic ones, expressed concern about the report’s findings. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been an outspoken critic of the CIA’s techniques. Many times she has referred to them as “torture.” Pelosi has contended that in the past, she was “never” informed of the enhanced-interrogation techniques.

However, what would it signify if government lawmakers were indeed aware of the details of these programs the entire time? Should they be held equally responsible?

Former CIA National Clandestine Service head Jose Rodriguez was in charge during the program that the report covers. This week, on Chris Wallace’s show on Fox, Rodriguez alleged that both Senate and House Intelligence Committees “knew every one of our enhanced interrogations.” He also claims that they did not find any faults with them during this time. Speaking specifically about congressional leaders, he elaborated that “all of these people knew exactly what we were doing.”

Whether Rodriguez’s remarks are credible is another concern. He clearly has quite a bit to gain as this news would serve to protect his name. He was also found to have eliminated approximately 100 videos of the interrogations in 2005. At this point, there are many conflicting reports, and it is difficult to determine who is being truthful.

That being said, if Rodriguez’s comments along with the report are accurate, it would mean that the American people’s frustrations are misdirected. They should instead demand an explanation from the congressional leaders that were supposed to be the watchdogs of the CIA during this time.


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