My friend Eli Lake reports for The Washington Times that Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence intend to question CIA director-designate
My friend Eli Lake reports for The Washington Times that Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence intend to question CIA director-designate Leon Panetta about whether he played any role in ordering terrorism suspects to be kidnapped extrajudicially and sent to other countries for questioning and probable torture while he was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. The 9/11 Commission established that about 100 cases of so-called rendition occurred before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Lake reports that the practice, formally established under President George H.W. Bush, might have occurred even before the Reagan administration. Panetta’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27.
Panetta, of course, largely got the nod to head CIA because of his opposition to torture. What the Senate GOP would explore is whether that opposition is either rhetorical or newly acquired. Clinton administration counterterrorism officials have stated that they received assurances from foreign governments receiving rendered suspects forswearing torture, but no human-rights organization takes those assurances seriously.
Richard Clarke, who was White House counterterrorism czar from Bush 41 to early in Bush 43′s term, exonerates Panetta, however:
“Panetta would not have been involved in extraordinary rendition cases, which were handled by [a lower-level interagency panel called the Counterterrorism Security Group], which I chaired,” he said.
We’ll see. It’ll be interesting to see the committee Republicans attempt to portray themselves as anti-rendition, when there’s no record of them objecting to the practice for the last eight years. More likely the goal here is to put Obama’s CIA director-designate in a politically embarrassing position, as most people don’t realize that the Clinton administration got its hands dirty on counterterrorism before the Bush administration did. The idea of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) expressing a heartfelt appreciation for human rights will be quite a treat.
But cynically or not, Panetta should face questions like these, and he shouldn’t do what CIA director-designates often do when receiving them, which is offering answers in closed sessions. The public is owed a reckoning about the torture that was done in its name, no matter who was president when it occurred. Just because committee Republicans are being selective and obnoxious about this doesn’t invalidate the principle.
Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole
John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’
Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?