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Krass Bureaucratic Doublespeak

Krass Bureaucratic Doublespeak

By Dennis Loo (12/18/13)

Caroline Diane Krass is now before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee seeking approval to become General Counsel for the CIA. The most contentious part of these CIA activities is its use of torture, both now under Obama and previously under Bush. In the course of her testimony, as The NYT reported today:

Under polite but persistent questioning by members of both parties, Ms. Krass repeatedly said that while the two congressional intelligence committees need to “fully understand” the legal basis for C.I.A. activities, they were not entitled to see the Justice Department memos that provide the legal blueprint for secret programs.

Ms. Krass tells the committees that they need to "fully understand" the legality of the CIA's activities, but they may not see the memos that set forth the legal justifications for said activities. This is the equivalent of saying: You must oversee what we're doing to make sure that they're legal, because it's your responsibility under the Constitution that you supervise these matters, but you may not see the rationales we are using in the CIA to carry out these activities.

In other words, "you have to trust us. It's legal, we assure you. Would we lie? Now, please be good Congresspeople and rubberstamp my nomination."

Sen. Mark Udall publicly revealed the existence of a 6,000 page internal CIA report on Tuesday that "lawmakers believe is broadly critical of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program but was withheld from congressional oversight committees." The Times reports:

According to people who have read the study, it is unsparing in its criticism of the now-defunct [sic] interrogation program and presents a chronicle of C.I.A. officials’ repeatedly misleading the White House, Congress and the public about the value of brutal methods that, in the end, produced little valuable intelligence.

Rather than share this internal report with the oversight committee, the CIA vigorously contested the Senate Intelligence Committee's evaluation via John Brennan's February 2013 testimony during his confirmation hearings as CIA Director.

Those of you who have seen the film classic Animal House will recall the famous college administrator's line delivered regarding the rambuctious Delta fraternity: "Then as of this moment, they're under double-secret probation. There is a little known codicil in the Faber College constitution which gives the Dean unlimited power to preserve order in time of campus emergency." 

The American people and the world, in this case, are Delta fraternity. We are all under double-secret probation. This is a time of emergency, haven't you heard?

 

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