It must be a horrible revelation, and monumental disappointment, for any person to learn a close family member is a serial criminal, and worse, to struggle with whether or not to alert law enforcement and expose their family member’s crimes. Fortunately for most Americans, they will never have to decide to be complicit in a crime by not reporting their family member’s actions, or be a good citizen and possibly send them to jail. However, that is not the case with America that is well-aware that some its former leaders committed war crimes and ordered the nation’s law enforcement to violate both American and international laws.
Last August prior to an impending declassification of a damning Senate report detailing the Central Intelligent Agency’s involvement in executing the Bush-Cheney torture program, President Obama had the unenviable task of admitting something the entire world already knew; “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values. A lot of those folks are real patriots. But having said all that, we did some things that were wrong.” A close family member desperate to protect one of the architects of the American torture program, Liz Cheney, claimed that President Obama “is an utter disgrace. He’s targeting and going after patriots, and CIA heroes and he’s lying about what they did. It’s a disgrace. It’s despicable.” According to the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and report, the President was not lying and the only despicable disgrace was Bush and Cheney illegal authorization and encouragement for so-called patriots to engage in torture.
Ms. Cheney did not read the torture report from the Senate Intelligence Committee that detailed shocking abuse of prisoners at the hands of the CIA during the Bush administration, and she did not read that the CIA lied to Congress to cover it up. In fact, even now, the CIA is doing everything in its power to prevent the report from seeing light of day to conceal its American and international war crimes resulting from following convicted war criminals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s orders to torture prisoners of war. Now, there is a major battle underway between members of the Senate, the CIA, and the White House over why the report has not been released to the public seven months after the Senate Intelligence Committee “voted overwhelmingly” to release the report.
The report exposes the CIA’s water-boarding and other torture techniques Bush-Cheney labeled “enhanced interrogation,” but it also reveals that the “CIA engaged in even more grotesque, unreported acts as well” that former vice president Cheney thought was a good idea. Senate Democrats and some Republicans claim the White House is stonewalling Congress by acquiescing to CIA demands for monumental “redactions” before it is released to the public.
Last week prior to the President’s address on immigration, according to Senator Chris Coons (D-Del), there was a “vigorous, vigorous and open debate, and one of the best and most thorough discussions” over telling Americans their former leaders instructed a major law enforcement agency to violate international law. The former Senate intelligence committee chair before Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), was “furious” and claimed the Administrations was “doing everything they can not to release it. Because it makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad, which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future. The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”
The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee responsible for the report, Senator Dianne Feinstein, is incensed over the CIA’s fight to release the report which included revelations the CIA spied on and infiltrated the Senate committee investigating the Bush-Cheney torture program. Feinstein has strong support from Democrats and some Republicans on the committee including torture victim Senator John McCain. According to Rockefeller, failing to release the report in its entirety eliminates any “incentive for them (CIA) to change their behavior,” or for the next Republican “administration to change unless the Senate seizes the reins and forces it.”
The CIA’s torture program has been a black mark on this nation for a decade that started with the Bush administration and implemented by the Central Intelligence Agency; which is why they tried to subvert the Senate Intelligence Committee and having failed, are refusing to release this report. They want to redact information because many of the war criminals are still currently serving with CIA which in and of itself is an abomination. Just three days ago President Obama went on about America being a nation of laws, and if that is the case, and it certainly is not, then the CIA personnel responsible for violating American and international laws, need to be exposed and brought to justice. Releasing the Senate’s report in its entirety, will not only expose the Bush-Cheney culture of torture, it will fulfill the Senate’s constitutional responsibility for oversight.
Bush and Cheney have openly admitted, and boasted, that they directed, embraced, and encouraged the CIA to torture prisoners in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. It is time for America to at least admit to itself that, as President Obama said, “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values, and we did some things that were wrong.” This lawless nation will never hand over war criminals, convicted or not, to be held accountable for their crimes; which is criminal. But the least they can do is release the Senate torture report and let the American public know exactly just how “exceptionally criminal” this so-called “nation of laws” really is.