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VIPS Memo reprinted from Consortium News
VIPS describes how a constitutional crisis emerged when President Barack Obama tried to help CIA Director John Brennan scuttle a comprehensive Senate Intelligence Committee report, based on original CIA banality-of-evil cables, revealing the grotesque, heinous torture techniques used by the CIA after 9/11. For the first time in recent memory, Congress faced the President down. Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein rose to the occasion and refused to throw her intrepid investigators under the bus.
It is a truly gripping story, about which few details have been available -- UNTIL NOW. The Guardian's Spencer Ackerman has interviewed the Senate Intelligence Committee's top investigator, Daniel Jones, who took major risks to put an unvarnished report together and get it published. Sen. Feinstein had to face both the CIA AND its powerful apologist, President Obama, to get the report published before Republicans took over the Senate.
The VIPS Memorandum thanking Sen. Feinstein, and asking her to see that the Guardian interviews of Daniel Jones get some play in U.S. media (there has been some kind of embargo so far), gives just a small taste for this fascinating inside story. But it is not just "inside baseball," so to speak. Rather it has much wider relevance. Perhaps most interesting are two things they reveal in gory detail: (1) Obama's strong support of Brennan's attempts to deep-six the report; and (2) Sen. Feinstein's determination to prevent that from happening. See below...
MEMORANDUM FOR: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: U.S. Media Mum On How Your Committee Faced Down Both CIA and Obama
We write to thank you for your unwavering support for your extraordinarily courageous and tenacious staff in (1) investigating CIA torture under the Bush/Cheney administration and (2) resisting CIA/White House attempts under the Obama administration to cover up heinous torture crimes like waterboarding.
We confess to having been shocked at the torture detailed in the version of the executive summary your Committee released on December 9, 2014. We found ourselves wondering what additional behavior could have been deemed so repugnant that the White House and CIA insisted it be redacted; and if the entire 6,700-page investigation -- with whatever redaction might be truly necessary -- would ever see the light of day. We think you could take steps now to make it less likely that the full report be deep-sixed, and we will make some suggestions below toward that end.
With well over 400 years of intelligence experience under our collective belt, we wondered how you managed to get the investigation finished and the executive summary up and out (though redacted). We now know the backstory -- thanks to the unstinting courage of the committee's principal investigator Daniel Jones, who has been interviewed by Spencer Ackerman, an investigative reporter for The (UK) Guardian newspaper. The titanic struggle depicted by Ackerman reads like a crime novel; sadly, the four-part series is nonfiction:
Ackerman's reporting on Jones's tenacity in facing down the gorilla CIA makes abundantly clear how richly deserved was the encomium you gave Jones when he left the committee staff in December 2015.