Dorothy Rabinowitz at the WSJ Online has a must-read. She starts off:
The president of the United States has completed another outing abroad in his now standard form: as the un-Bush. At one stop after another -- the latest in Latin America, where Hugo Chávez expressed wishes to be his friend -- Barack Obama fulfilled his campaign vows to show the nations of the world that a new American leadership stood ready to atone for the transgressions of the old.
All went as expected in these travels, not counting certain unforeseen results of that triumphal European tour. The images of that trip, in which Mr. Obama dazzled ecstatic Europeans with citations of the offenses against international goodwill and humanity committed by the nation he leads, are now firmly imprinted on the minds of Americans. That this is so, and that it is not good news for him, is truth of a kind not quite fathomable to this president and his men.
Now, on the heels of those travels, comes his release of the guidelines known as "torture memos" -- a decision designed to emphasize, again, the superior ethical and moral leadership the world can expect from this administration as compared with that of presidencies past. This exercise in comparisons is one of which Mr. Obama may well never tire….
The editors of the WSJ Online (another good read):
There’s a cost to this preening. Foreign intelligence services will rethink cooperating with us, knowing how bad we are at keeping secrets. Obama’s relationship with the intelligence community will be strained. And al-Qaeda now knows important details of the CIA’s controversial enhanced-interrogation program and will doubtless move to prepare future operatives to resist these techniques, should we ever feel the need to resort to them again….
And a John in Carolina reader:
…I have a great deal of experience in the intelligence field: twelve years in clandestine collection activities in Asia, nine of those years in an undercover capacity; twenty years as a counterintelligence officer; and 13 years as a senior counterintelligence and anti-terrorist analyst.
I join with all the former directors of the CIA in condemning Obama's release of the documents pertaining to interrogation of terrorists.
He has not only unnecessarily revealed sensitive classified information, but has also made perfectly clear to our enemies just how far we can go in dealing with captured terrorists.
This colossal blunder has another result: it will make our field operatives gun-shy and could well result in the deaths of our troops.
In short, there was absolutely nothing to be gained by this foolish act except to make a few leftist political hacks feel good about themselves.
Back to the WSJ Online:
President Obama on Monday paid his first formal visit to CIA headquarters, in order, as he put it, to "underscore the importance" of the agency and let its staff "know that you've got my full support." Assuming he means it, the President should immediately declassify all memos concerning what intelligence was gleaned, and what plots foiled, by the interrogations of high-level al Qaeda detainees in the wake of September 11.
This suggestion was first made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who said he found it "a little bit disturbing" that the Obama Administration had decided to release four Justice Department memos detailing the CIA's interrogation practices while not giving the full picture of what the interrogations yielded in actionable intelligence. Yes, it really is disturbing, especially given the bogus media narrative that has now developed around those memos [my links]….
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
In other words, the Obama administration covered up the fact that even their own DNI acknowledges that the interrogations produced actionable and critical information. When Dick Cheney demanded the release of the rest of the memos relating that information, he wasn’t just going on a fishing expedition. Cheney filed a request to declassify those memos in March, and the CIA has yet to decide on his request, but we can no longer doubt that records exist showing the success of those interrogations.
Obama has occasionally suggested a truth-and-reconciliation approach to probing the use of torture by the Bush administration, but this establishes that Obama isn’t terribly interested in “truth”. Withholding the truth that waterboarding produced information that saved hundreds of American lives, perhaps thousands, shows that Obama values public relations more than he does the truth. He wants to argue that none of this was necessary to secure the nation against terrorist attacks. In order to make that argument, he redacted Blair’s memo, including his defense of his predecessors, whom Blair acknowledges had to face some tough decisions to uncover plots against America….
Here’s the bottom line for today: Obama’s blame America shtick is now firmly imprinted on the minds of Americans and will blow up in his face if al Qaeda manages a 9/11 repeat.
P.S. This certainly won’t help:
A retired Army General's startling new accusation about torture passed without follow-up from the host of MSNBC News Live, apparently accepted as fact.
At approximately 3:51 pm (Eastern), Monday, April 20, 2009, during the broadcast of MSNBC News Alive television program, as a panel discussed President Obama's speech before Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees at CIA headquarters, retired U.S. Army General Barry Richard McCaffrey, in the context of discussing the Agency's used of "torture" on detainees, said this at the 6:23 mark of the 6:37 video clip.
"We should never, as a policy, maltreat people under our control, detainees. We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."
Was McCaffrey just running off at the mouth, or can he back these allegations up with facts? Unlike the manufactured flap over the torture memos, this needs to be looked into.
"We" clearly referred to the C.I.A. and the U.S. military, and "them" to terrorist detainees in U.S. custody.
This is an astonishing allegation, only slightly mitigated by use of the word "probably."