As the murkiest details of the torture program created and run by the Bush administration continues to be shielded from public review, the growing controversy over the clandestine and illegal use of techniques by the CIA has now taken center stage in a bureaucratic fight between the agency and the Senate Intelligence Committee charged with its oversight.
Given the secretive nature of the issue and parties involved, what has leaked out in reporting and public statements over the last several weeks gives only a vague sense of the fight between members of the committee, the Obama administration, and the CIA but most of it revolves around an investigative panel set up by the Senators on the committee to explore the torture program.
New reporting by the New York Times‘ Mark Mazzetti on Saturday, however, offers the fullest picture so far about how the senate investigators stumbled upon a previously unknown internal CIA review of the torture program and how in the aftermath of that discovery—which the CIA considered ‘unauthorized’—it set up a way to place the investigators themselves under surveillance.
Explosive charges surfaced earlier this week that President Obama, in fact, knew that the CIA had put the Senate investigators under watch but did nothing to stop it.
According to Mazzetti:
On the specifics of the Senate investigation and the memos reviewed, he explains:
Somewhere along the line, the investigators found something, however, they did not know existed: an internal reivew, now being called the “Panetta Review” because it was ordered by then CIA Chief Leon Panetta, appointed by Obama.
With the DOJ now investigating claims of misbehavior or breach of boundaries on both sides, the possible outcomes remain unclear.
One thing, however, worth noting that both the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee members agree on when it comes to how the U.S. government used torture and prolonged detention without charge as formal policy: the public has no right to know.
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