Porter Goss: “Disturbing epidemic of amnesia” plaguing Democrats on memos/waterboarding

This one’s gonna leave a mark:

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation’s intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA’s “High Value Terrorist Program,” including the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

— The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

— We understood what the CIA was doing.

— We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

— We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

— On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed “memorandums for the record” suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately — to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president’s national security adviser — and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.


Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day “I have your back” only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.

We must not forget: Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist.

The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate. The terrorists captured by the CIA perfected the act of beheading innocents using dull knives. Khalid Sheik Mohammed boasted of the tactic of placing explosives high enough in a building to ensure that innocents trapped above would die if they tried to escape through windows. There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

Hate speech alive and well on the pages of the NYT

There’s been a lot of talk lately, mainly amongst left wing hypocrites and Beltway conservative uptight types about how the right has supposedly engaged in “rampant, uncontrolled hate speech” since Barack Obama has been elected. Will they start examining their own backyard now that one of their most prominent spokespeople, Frank Rich, has taken the ‘torture’ memos and used them as a springboard to compare Bush/Cheney to … Columbine killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris?

WE don’t like our evil to be banal. Ten years after Columbine, it only now may be sinking in that the psychopathic killers were not jock-hating dorks from a “Trench Coat Mafia,” or, as ABC News maintained at the time, “part of a dark, underground national phenomenon known as the Gothic movement.” In the new best seller “Columbine,” the journalist Dave Cullen reaffirms that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were instead ordinary American teenagers who worked at the local pizza joint, loved their parents and were popular among their classmates.

On Tuesday, it will be five years since Americans first confronted the photographs from Abu Ghraib on “60 Minutes II.” Here, too, we want to cling to myths that quarantine the evil. If our country committed torture, surely it did so to prevent Armageddon, in a patriotic ticking-time-bomb scenario out of “24.” If anyone deserves blame, it was only those identified by President Bush as “a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values”: promiscuous, sinister-looking lowlifes like Lynddie England, Charles Graner and the other grunts who were held accountable while the top command got a pass.

This is the second left wing knucklehead I’ve seen in the last two weeks refer to the “evil” allegedly engaged in by the US as “banal” (Andrew Sullivan was the first – are we detecting a talking points pattern, here?). Regardless of the facts – like the fact that the Obama administration deliberately redacted out of the release of the memos the notes about the results from the EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques), the fact that other former adminstration officials, like Clinton-era appointee George Tenet, has said that the use of EITs helped us more in our battle against AQ than any other interrogation technique – something echoed in a recent WSJ piece by Mukasey and Hayden, the fact that in his piece, Rich ignored that info and only quoted Bush’s FBI director Robert Mueller as saying the EITs haven’t helped in order to imply that most in the Bush admin agreed with him, and completely ignored his own paper’s reporting of how Obama’s own DNI said that they did aid in the fight against AQ, the fact that the record clearly states that the use of EITs against KSM stopped the second plot on the LA Library tower – these clueless idiots persist in the myth that not only did the administration authorize “torture” but that furthermore the enhanced interrogation techniques they did use did not produce any results whatsoever, when the evidence indicates otherwise.

Sullivan, Rich, nor other left wing blowhards are able to get beyond their ridiculous, still-burning hatred for President Bush and it’s obviously impacted their judgment here. Not that they had much good judgment begin with.

Write the NYT and let them know what you think of Rich comparing Bush and Cheney to thug killers like Klebold and Harris. Whatever people think of Bush and Cheney, to view them as deliberate and calculating murderers on the same level as Klebold and Harris is both despicable and contemptible, and shows a complete lack of common sense, perspective, and decency. Not only that, but the omission of several key facts counter to his “argument” suggests Rich deliberately lied to advance an agenda.

Gosh. This happened on the pages of the NYT? Imagine that.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.