Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CIA's Weak Arguments Against Interrogation Memo Disclosure

Curious Wall Street Journal article on the CIA interrogation memo release debate.

Among the CIA's arguments to withhold the memos:

Intelligence officials also believe that making the techniques public would give al Qaeda a propaganda tool just as the administration is stepping up its fight against the terrorist group in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If they tortured, then it's not a *propaganda* tool for al Qaeda, it's actually based in fact. Propaganda implies they're making up falsehoods about us. And since everyone believes that torture took place - otherwise why not release the memos - then the CIA is essentially admitting it was abetting al Qaeda recruiters through its misguided policy.

That's why they also argue:

But top CIA officials and some in the White House argue that disclosing such secrets will undermine the agency's credibility with foreign intelligence services.

Yes, it already has. But you can't embarrass and harm the interests of your country, then argue when called to account that doing so would embarrass and harm the country's interests.

You shouldn't be able to use a crisis of your own creation to excuse yourself from justice.

It is strikingly similar to what the banks did, though isn't it - they lobbied for changes in the law to make bad practices legal, damaged our economic security and claimed we had to spare them their natural reckoning because of the crisis they created.

The difference is that we know what banking laws and regulations were stripped. What agreed-upon protections and international safeguards were stripped by the CIA?