Rogers is regularly briefed on intelligence assessments. He told CNN’s “State of the Union” that U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign governments have said privately that the release of the report on CIA interrogations a decade ago will be used by extremists to incite violence that is likely to cost lives.“I think this is a terrible idea,” Rogers said. “Our foreign partners are telling us this will cause violence and deaths. . . . Foreign leaders have approached the government and said, ‘You do this, this will cause violence and deaths.’ Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”Rogers questioned why the report needed to become public, given that the Justice Department investigated and filed no criminal charges.
Then there was former CIA director Michael V. Hayden:
As the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to issue a lengthy report on the CIA’s interrogation practices in the wake of 9/11, former CIA director Michael Hayden suggested that some of the report’s conclusions are not only untrue, but they could be used by America’s enemies to attack U.S. personnel and facilities abroad if released.“First of all, the CIA workforce will feel as if it has been tried and convicted in absentia since the Senate Democrats and their staff didn’t talk to anyone actively involved in the program. Second, this will be used by our enemies to motivate people to attack Americans and American facilities overseas,” he said. (Emphasis added.)
I’m sure that Rogers and Hayden are smart men, and I’m also sure that current intelligence officials have been making the same claims anonymously to reporters. But to suggest that this Senate report will really tip the scales when it comes to the United States’ enemies rallying support, you have to believe that the following exchange is happening somewhere in the Middle East:
ABDUL: Ahmed, why won’t you come with me to attack the infidels? You are not outraged that the United States has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and caused so much suffering in two Muslim countries?AHMED: It’s not enough for me to take up arms.ABDUL: You are not outraged that in the past three years the great Zionist oppressor has waged air campaigns against two Arab countries — Syria and Libya — and accomplished little but to extend the suffering of our Muslim brothers and sisters?AHMED: It’s not enough for me to take up arms.ABDUL: You are not outraged that the great Western imperialist power has launched drone strikes with impunity in two other countries — Yemen and Pakistan — killing scores of innocent Muslim families in the process?AHMED: It’s not enough for me to take up arms.ABDUL: You are not outraged that the infidel superpower has defended Israel as that Zionist pig-state has done nothing but displace, bomb and humiliate our Palestinian brothers and sisters?AHMED: It’s not enough for me to take up arms.ABDUL: You are not outraged that two successive U.S. presidents, in two flowery speeches, have claimed that the United States wants to bring human rights and democracy to the Middle East, only to tolerate authoritarian crackdowns in Egypt and the Gulf states?AHMED: It’s not enough for me to take up arms.ABDUL: You are not outraged about all the stories of infidels torturing our Muslim brothers in Abu Ghraib, in Bagram, in Guantanamo Bay? The stories about infidel soldiers desecrating the Koran?AHMED: It’s not enough for me to take up arms.ABDUL: You are not outraged by the just-released Senate report about CIA torture?AHMED: Wait, did you say ‘Senate report’? Okay, I will take up arms now.
I’m sorry, but this is just nuts. There is no shortage of US foreign policy actions and inactions in the region to inflame enemies. The Senate report is small potatoes compared to that.
The report should be released as soon as possible for a very simple, bipartisan reason:
[Sen. Lindsey O.] Graham added that the extensive documentation could prevent a future administration from resorting to similar methods.“At the end of the day, it is important not to repeat these things,” Graham said.“We have to get this report out,” Feinstein said, even if she had to give in on some of her demands for transparency. “We will find another way to make known some of the problems.”The interrogations undermined “societal and constitutional values that we are very proud of,” Feinstein said. “Anybody who reads this is going to never let this happen again.” (Emphasis added.)
Strangely enough, this is also the position of Human Rights Watch:
“Delaying release of the Senate report because of possible negative repercussions for national security is a red herring,” said Sarah Margon, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. “Maintaining secrecy around a defunct torture program is the real liability as doing so denies us the right to debate what happened and make sure it is never repeated.” (Emphasis added.)
I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, and the director of Human Rights Watch all think the report is necessary to prevent the United States from committing the same egregious mistakes in the future, then that countermands the magical thinking needed to accept the worst-case scenarios regarding its publication.
Am I missing anything?