CIA, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, House Intelligence Subcommittee, House of Representatives, Torture
And, my, oh my, the democrats did not like that, and they don’t want you to hear about it.
The Hill reports on democrat efforts to stonewall and obfuscate.
In the bowels of the Capitol Visitor Center, members of the (House Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations) gathered behind locked doors on Thursday morning to begin a series of hearings on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.
What began as a remarkably quiet and secretive hearing had, within a matter of hours, exploded into a political brawl over intelligence matters and national security.
Despite the weeks-long furor over how the Central Intelligence Agency came to use enhanced interrogation techniques, and what members of Congress were told about their development and implementation, the committeeâ€™s first hearing on the issue during the 111th Congress almost came and went without notice. The hearing was announced publicly but was not open to the public.
According to Republicans, that was by design.
â€œDemocrats werenâ€™t sure what they were going to get,â€ said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), ranking Republican on the Intelligence panel, referring to information on the merits of enhanced interrogation techniques. â€œNow that they know what theyâ€™ve got, they donâ€™t want to talk about it.â€
The hearing was publicly described only as a subcommittee hearing on â€œInterrogations.â€ A committee spokeswoman would not comment on whether the development and use of controversial interrogation tactics were discussed.
But Republicans on the panel said that not only did the use of interrogation techniques come up Thursday, but that the data shared about those techniques proved they had led to valuable information that in some instances prevented terrorist attacks.
Hoekstra did not attend the hearing, but said he later spoke with Republicans on the subcommittee who did. He said he came away with even more proof that the enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the CIA proved effective.
â€œI think the people who were at the hearing, in my opinion, clearly indicated that the enhanced interrogation techniques worked,â€ Hoekstra said.
Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), a member of the subcommittee who attended the hearing, concurred with Hoekstra.
â€œThe hearing did address the enhanced interrogation techniques that have been much in the news lately,â€ Kline said, noting that he was intentionally choosing his words carefully in observance of the committee rules and the nature of the information presented.
â€œBased on what I heard and the documents I have seen, I came away with a very clear impression that we did gather information that did disrupt terrorist plots,â€ Kline said.
Neither Hoekstra nor Kline revealed details about the specifics of what they were told Thursday or the identity of the briefers.
Democrats lambasted their Republican counterparts for discussing the information that was provided behind locked doors.
â€œI am absolutely shocked that members of the Intelligence committee who attended a closed-door hearingâ€¦ then walked out that hearing â€“ early, by the way â€“ and characterized anything that happened in that hearing,â€ said Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). â€œMy understanding is thatâ€™s a violation of the rules. It may be more than that.â€
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) said, â€œMembers on both sides need to watch what they say.â€
Both Schakowsky and Reyes accused GOP members of playing politics with national security.
â€œI think they are playing a very dangerous game when it comes to the discussion of matters that were sensitive enough to be part of a closed hearing,â€ Schakowsky said.
Asked about the validity of Republican contentions that information shared in Thursdayâ€™s hearing showed the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques, Schakowsky said she could not comment on what was discussed at a closed hearing.
Reyes responded by saying he did not attend the entire hearing.
â€œI wasnâ€™t at the whole hearing,â€ Reyes said. â€œAs the chairman my view is we need to get the facts about how the enhanced interrogation techniques came about, not just the results.â€