MARC A. THIESSEN
Visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution; served in senior positions in the Pentagon and White House from 2001 to 2009, most recently as chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush
Since taking office, the Obama administration has prosecuted the CIA in the court of public opinion. Now it is taking its campaign into the court of law. The allegations in the CIA inspector general’s report were reviewed five years ago — not by Bush appointees, but by career prosecutors. Those career prosecutors decided not to pursue criminal charges (except in one case where a CIA contractor was convicted of assault). Now political appointees in the Obama administration are reversing those decisions, and Attorney General Eric Holder is appointing a special prosecutor who — he promises — will investigate only a small number of officials. But once a special prosecutor is appointed, there is no controlling where the investigation may lead. Such prosecutions will harm our national security — putting the agency on the defensive at a time when we need the CIA to be on the offensive against the terrorists.
There is, however, another indictment hidden in the IG report that has largely escaped notice. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has charged the CIA with lying to Congress, alleging the agency told her that enhanced interrogation techniques were not in use. But the IG report confirms that “in the fall of 2002, the agency briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EITs” and that the CIA “continued to brief the leadership of the Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of EITs and detentions in February and March 2003.” Perhaps it is time for Pelosi to finally apologize?