Congress, both Senate and the House, tend to be a bunch of craven cowards prone to pandering rather than leading. That said, I am giving the benefit of the doubt to Senator Diane Feinstein and doubting the purity of the CIA in the battle over getting the “truth” about the CIA interrogation program.

Let’s be clear about some basic facts. Number one–there is no doubt that torture was excused and some CIA officers, along with contractors, engaged in criminal, reprehensible behavior. They justified it because of the “greater good,” but the men (and maybe some women) who participated in this activity committed crimes that we hung Japanese for in the aftermath of World War II.

Number two–we have testimony from CIA officer Glenn Carle in his book, The Interrogator, and from FBI Agent Ali Soufan about these abuses. Nothing hidden here. It is now out in the public. Unfortunately, we have many members of the Bush Administration excusing and justifying the conduct. It is worth noting that the CIA Officers (and the contractors) were carrying out orders of President George W. Bush.

The fundamental issue here is whether or not Congress has a right to know the truth.

The following passage from a report in Wednesday’s LA Times gets to the heart of the matter:

In January this year, concerned of a possible security breach, the CIA searched logs of the computers used by the Senate investigators and confirmed they had obtained the internal study.

Eatinger referred the case to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges. The CIA’s inspector general separately asked the Justice Department to review the CIA’s conduct in the case to see whether it warranted further investigation.

In a stinging critique Tuesday, Feinstein said the CIA search and Eatinger’s referral may have violated the Constitution, a federal computer fraud statute and a prohibition against CIA domestic surveillance.
Despite his newfound notoriety, Eatinger may be the CIA’s acting general counsel for some time. President Obama’s nominee for permanent CIA general counsel, Caroline Krass, has been held up in the Senate because of the dispute between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Here is the key issue–the CIA had an internal report that was unvarnished and harsh and had withheld it from Congress. Staff members of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee discovered this internal report and took a copy. I side with Feinstein in this. Congress has every right to that report.

If this was a case of protecting the identities of foreign intelligence assets then I could understand the CIA’s insistence on protecting such information. But I do not think that is what is going on here. This is cover your ass territory. The CIA behaved in a reprehensible manner and excused their behavior because they were carrying out the orders of a President. But, if you recall the Nuremberg Trials, we condemned Nazis for “just following orders” because they engaged in criminal, unspeakable behavior.

I do not doubt there is a gross dosage of hypocrisy on the part of the Senate. Diane Feinstein certainly knew of this activity when it was occurring and did nothing to stop it. That she now has religion is a little late. Nonetheless, the issue is whether or not the CIA is accountable to the laws of this land and, more importantly, to the laws of God.

As I noted in my previous piece on this subject, John Brennan has a vested interest in covering up the misdeeds of that period. While he was not a key decision make in those matters, he was a tacit participant. I do not believe the CIA has a right to withhold and/or hide this information from the Congress.

More importantly is the conduct of Barack Obama. As President, per Feinstein, he is refusing to turn over information to the Congress. Feinstein said the documents were withheld at the direction of the “White House.” Last time I checked, Obama is supposed to be in charge. What is he hiding?

What do you think?

Previous articleCIA Spying on Congress?
Next articleCrimea River
Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    Did anyone see Sen. Feinstein on 60 Minutes Sunday night? I’m concerned about someone that paranoid and out of touch that has a concealed carry firearm permit. Talk about “ready for the rubber gun squad!”


    I do not understand Russian. but this was posted today


    Ukrainian military says it has repelled a Russian military effort to land in south Ukraine.

    here it goes

  • Fred82

    Slightly OT but,

    What do you guys make of reports that Malaysian Flight 777 was hijacked?

    • KlugerRD

      It seemed evident not long after the incident that something nasty happened.

      The only questions remaining are who did it, what was their intent, and where is it exactly?

      With all the assets now I am certain they will find it shortly. Unless they landed on some remote airstrip (and there are a lot of them) I fear they are in the Indian Ocean.

      What we have learned is that the airport in Kuala Lumpur from a security position is the opposite of Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel and you would have to be crazy to fly in or out of there. The airport is the traffic hub of Al Qaeda and other terror groups. I would not be surprised to find Ayman al-Zawahiri in an airport lounge sipping on a Margarita.

    • beyond partisan

      The scariest scenario I’ve heard is that someone might have hijacked the plane so they could put a nuke or dirty bomb on it and fly it to a specific target. You could not shoot the plane out of the sky with the bomb on it or the bomb would go off. When I first heard this theory it seemed like wild speculation to me, but now it seems to me that someone took the plane with a purpose in mind. I do not think it was the pilot committing suicide.


    since it is the weekend of one of the high holy days, ST PATRICK’S DAY

  • samb1

    I like the piano in this one.
    It’s cabernet friday tonight.
    Al Stewart – Year Of The Cat

    • HELENK2

      at the crawdad hole it is car music night. hearing some songs I have not hear in years

      • samb1

        then it’s a goodnight.

  • S7teen70six

    Only because it’s sooo good. Enjoy!


    US government to relinquish remaining control over the internet.

    is this good, bad or indifferent??????
    since it is the backtrack bunch I have to wonder is it good for the country?


    sailor in iconic picture from WW2 has died. may he RIP

    • binky354

      Just last week another WWII vet from my area left this world; he had served as a sergeant in the US Army. He, at 95 years of age, and his wife celebrated 71 years of marriage on Valentine’s Day. It saddens me as each one of these American heroes pass away

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      I think that the Agency already knows what went on, they hardly need an investigation. On the other hand, the State Dept, who was wholly unprepared for Benghazi, could use a bit more investigating.


    Is this the freedom we spend blood and treasure to achieve????

    so where are all the so called feminists now??????

  • Dave L.


    I am so glad that we have John kerry to inform us that this election is illegal. The US will not stand by and allow the Crimean vote to take place Sunday

    “The U.S. and Europe will not stand by as passive observers should the current pro-Russian Crimean parliament proceed with a referendum vote on Sunday to break away from Ukraine and join Russia” Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers Thursday.

    “There will be a response of some kind to the referendum itself,” Kerry said during a hearing of the Senate Appropriation Committee’s State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee. “There will be a very serious series of steps on Monday in Europe and here with respect to the options that are available to us. Now, our choice is not to be put in the position of having to do that.”

    At a later hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry was asked what it would take forU.S. troops to get involved. “I draw that line [by asking] do we believe a nuclear war is worth fighting over Crimea. That’d be a very tough question to resolve. I think most Americans would resolve it fairly fast. But on the other hand, most Americans would also agree very quickly nations should not behave the way Russia has and they ought to pay a price if they choose to

  • KenoshaMarge

    If the fundamental issue is whether the Congress has a right to know the truth, then the answer has to be yes. My problem is that the Congress is so corrupt I find it hard to think they have a right to anything. I know that’s wrong and I am giving myself a good talking to.
    Maybe the hypocrisy of Feinstein is what sticks in my craw so much.

  • KlugerRD

    Malaysia Airline – – – the other day I wondered if it were possible that the plane did not crash, was hijacked, and landed somewhere. That appears to be the working hypothesis.

    They apparently turned off not only the transponders but also an information data system a few minutes before, before deliberately turning the plane and heading into the Indian Ocean.

    Apparently they are able to evade further radar because there is no radar over many parts of the world, particularly over water.

    The most disturbing theory is that this had nothing to do with the people on the plane but the plane itself. That the intent could be to land the plane, deboard the passengers, and then load up the plane to be used as a weapon.

    I wonder after visiting the homes of the pilots if they found evidence that may lead them to support that belief.

    • DianaLC

      Well, knowing nothing about planes and the equipment that runs them, I just took as truth that the transponders must have quit because of a catastrophic event.
      When they couldn’t find the debris and things kept getting more and more weird, my weird brain decided the people on the plan were enjoying a close encounter of the third kind. I was going to suggest that searches try to find the people here:
      (I know this is not a laughing matter, and I promise to quit watching all those shows about Ancient Aliens, as soon as our political situation gets less bizarre.)

      • KlugerRD

        On CNN which is covering this about 24/7 that came up jokingly and Don Lemon asked do we know that is not the case? I’m with you. Nothing is off the table now.

  • chrissy

    In this politically correct world of war I wonder why we bother. Some bad guy got tortured. You really want to know what happened in WW2. If my dad were alive he could tell you. Some bad guy got tortured. If my friend was alive she could tell you how she was raped and tortured by the bad guys. Reason she fought in the underground. She didn’t sob buckets of tears for the bad guys she shot.

    The trouble with being old is that you remember history.

    Sometimes…okay…many times…bad guys do bad things. And sometimes…okay…many times….good guys have to do bad things to the bad guys.

    Let’s just get it all out in the open and put those good guys pictures on milk cartons and arrest them for doing their job. Why just tell Congress???

    My suggestion is in the future we just let the CIA “twerk” em.

    • DianaLC

      I do understand your reasoning. And I am so very thankful that I’ve never been in a situation where I had to deal with a really nasty person trying to do something to me or to my kids, so it’s easier for me to say this. I still believe that the torture of prisoners is wrong. We should try to ruse above our fallen nature, especially when we have them locked up tight and ashamed of where they are. Then we don’t want to turn into them. That harms only us.
      I remember how terribly ashamed I was personally about the Abu Ghraib incident, and I guess some could say that the torture committed there was nothing compared to waterboarding.
      These questions come about because of the different between an actual certified was and the “war on terror.” But even in war, we expect that certain acts should not be committed, and we do try people for committing them.

  • S7teen70six

    Lurch and Pen-n-Phone have implied that Putin may punish Ukraine and Europe by cutting off their fuel supplies. And they use this excuse to expedite the urgency of this “national” emergency. All the while Ukraine is actually threatening to cut off the electricity and fresh water to Crimea should they vote to join Russia. And we get to watch it all unfold beginning Sunday.

    As Russia’s stranglehold on Crimea tightens, the Ukrainian province to the north is warning it could make life on the peninsula miserable if the coveted region chooses sides with Moscow in Sunday’s referendum.

    Feinstein will be old news soon enough.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Lurch has flip-flopped on an issue again. No surprise to anyone familiar with his career but this one isn’t getting much attention and it seems really important to me.
      John Kerry: It’s a Mistake for Israel to Demand Recognition by Palestinians

      In January U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has asked the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia to support Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

      But that was January’s policy.

      On Thursday, John Kerry repeated the this telling Congress it is a “mistake” for Israel to demand the Palestinians to recognize it as a Jewish State.

  • S7teen70six

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around why Obama is covering for Bush. And I keep drawing blanks.

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    Actually, no one commenting on this blog is likely to know the full story of what happened here. However, I do know Bob Eatinger. If he made a criminal referral, he honestly believed that someone did something criminal. And if anyone asked him to do something unethical, let alone criminal, he would refuse. If the person asking were the Director, he would resign. He may be one of the few men of true honor left at CIA.

  • ME

    “The fundamental issue here is whether or not Congress has a right to know the truth.”
    Larry, they do. Congress clearly has oversight rights. But congress always tries to weasel themselves out of taking responsibility for anything, and instead likes to deflect the problem off on somebody else, usually under the guise of ” investigating.”
    I get a bit tired of congresscritters always claiming they were deceived or they didn’t know what was going on. They passed the laws in the first place. When the SHTF, they basically turn on the people they sent out to do their dirty work. Then they make a big show of investigating and trying to get to the bottom of thing.

    • Larry Johnson

      You’re not wrong about the normal conduct of Congress. However, the CIA also has been guilty of giving the CIA the mushroom treatment–cover them in shit and keep them in the dark. I defer to my friend, Retired, on Eatinger. I don’t know him.

    • elizabethrc

      Maybe the rules that apply in private industry should apply to Congress when a CEO makes too many bad decisions. The stockholders can him.
      Since impeachment seems politically incorrect these days, perhaps their constituents will consider recall. I’m not sure how it works, but obviously Congress will not police themselves, so it’s time for the people to do it with one of the few tools they have at their disposal.
      As an aside, have any of you seen the embarrassingly immature and pleading Obamacare TV ads his folks have started airing? They truly think young people are dimwitted. I suspect there’s a lot of ridicule going on in college dorms across the country.
      And this is who we have leading our country! Lord help us!


    Just Because someday on my bucket list I want to see the aurora borellis


    off topic

    I guess I am racist, if I have a problem with the muslim brotherhood being involved in US elections.

    wonder if they will have photo IDs

    • DianaLC

      He can be funny! Thanks!

  • HARP2

    My suspicious mind thinks they continued the enhanced interrogation methods. That would destroy the democrat party.

    • S7teen70six

      Having to listen to Harry Reid insanely drone on is high on my list of cruel and unusual punishments.

    • elizabethrc

      They seem to be on the road to doing that themselves.

  • KenoshaMarge

    I do believe that Congress has the right of oversight over the CIA. I also believe that they should do that without playing politics and with the ability to keep their big mouths shut.

    Brennen is evidently a POS who will do, or say, anything to benefit Brennen. A useful tool for pols in both parties.

    I don’t understand why Obama would want to withhold documents that would apparently make the Bush Administration look bad. He’s never missed an opportunity to blame them for everything except acne. What has he to hide?

    • S7teen70six

      Got me scratching my noggin too.

  • KlugerRD

    “What is he hiding?”

    Between this, Benghazi, IRS, Fast & Furious, Obamacare . . . .it might be easier to ask what he is NOT hiding.

    • foxyladi14


  • elizabethrc

    Your comment about the Nuremberg ‘excuse’ should be remembered by every member of Congress, indeed by all in government. They work for the people and in a perfect world, it should not be ‘against’ the people.
    The folks guilty of these misuses of their power have little to fear because of course Obama will pardon them by EO. I doubt any will see jail time if convicted, but I also doubt it will ever reach the courts.

    • Justine00

      Just thought of a possible “up-side” to the slow/non prosecutions by DOJ: Anyone needing prosecution, from here on out, can still be prosecuted by the next DOJ — isn’t the statute or limitations on most things 2 years? .[Also, if prosecuted after Obummer’s out, he can’t pardon them.]

      In the long run, it’ll be real interesting to see who gets pardoned by Obummer.

      • FloridaFI

        The Statue of Limitations on most criminal acts is at the minimum – 7 years.

        • Justine00

          Very interesting, FloridaFl. Thank you.

  • S7teen70six

    I’ll say this much for Feinstein. She won’t hesitate for a second to allow these previously undisclosed “facts” to be used politically to tar her political foes. She’ll even behave very righteous in doing so.

    So while I may applaud Feinstein’s actions, let me state with absolute certainty that there are political motivations for all of this. Where there is smoke there are mirrors.

  • DianaLC

    LJ writes: Nonetheless, the issue is whether or not the CIA is accountable to the laws of this land and, more importantly, to the laws of God.”
    The CIA, Congress, the current and previous POTUS, and all of us are accountable to the laws of God.
    I fear for this country because so many are giving their allegiance to a political party or a government agency or any other man-made organization.
    I keep waiting for people to see themselves as part of the “body of Christ” or the “bride of Christ, His mystical church.”
    This rampant reliance on only human goals and human ideas is tearing us all apart.
    I can’t make jokes about it or be angry about all the mess of current politics. It’s too sad and too frightening, and so embarrassing.

    • ME

      Amen to that.

  • piattq

    “Obama is supposed to be in charge”….there’s the rub.

  • TeakWoodKite

    Mr Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain in the State Department Passport office with John Brennan holding the candle stick.
    Who’s Clue is it anyway?