News Roundup for 5/19/09

CIA Seal
Not the most trustworthy agency

-Headline of the day-
"Another Dem lawmaker points out CIA boo-boo."

Oopsie! Joining Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham in backing up Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA hasn't been extremely accurate in its intelligence briefings to Congress is Rep. Dave Obey. Turns out that what notes the CIA provided for the briefings are wrong.

"In light of current controversy about CIA briefing practices, I was surprised to learn that the agency erroneously listed an appropriations staffer as being in a key briefing on September 19, 2006, when in fact he was not," Obey wrote CIA Director Leon Panetta. "The list the agency released entitled 'Member Briefings on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs),' shows that House Appropriations Committee defense appropriations staffer Paul Juola was in that briefing on that date. In fact, Mr. Juola recollects that he walked members to the briefing room, met General Hayden and Mr. Walker, who were the briefers, and was told that he could not attend the briefing."

According to the report, Obey's recollections back up the senators who have "have raised instances in which the CIA provided false information."

In fact, even Rudy "9/11" Giuliani admits that the CIA sometimes gets it wrong. In an argument with dem strategist Bob Shrum on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Rudy rose to the defense of the agency, only to admit that infallibility isn't a character trait people usually apply to the CIA. "It's absolutely outrageous that you accused them in general terms of being liars or systemically lying," he told Shrum. "Of course they've made mistakes... Of course they've given incorrect information. Intelligence is a very difficult..."

As is defending the CIA's track record, I guess. American Prospect has a few examples of the CIA's fallibility. It's not pretty.

So we can we learn from all this? Give the right enough rope and they'll hang themselves. Give them enough paint and they'll paint themselves into a corner. Give them both and you'll find them hanging in the corner. In trying to short-circuit a torture investigation, they're practically guaranteeing it -- after all, now we've got to get all this stuff straightened out and find out what's what, because everything's all confuslepated and kerplooey. I mean, does the Central Intelligence Agency actually work or did Bush break it like he broke FEMA?

Maybe we should have some sort of investigation or probe into the CIA and torture and briefings and Bush and Cheney and Pelosi and Obey and Graham and Rockefeller... oh what the hell, throw Giuliani in there for shits and giggles. How's he know the CIA screws things up?

It's really the only way. (Raw Story)

-No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!-
Being pro-torture seems to force people into the position of being pro-stupid-statement, as Sen. Lindsey Graham showed recently when he came out in favor of the Spanish Inquisition.

"One of the reasons these techniques have been used for about 500 years is that they work," he said. And if you want someone to stop being a problem, murder works too. Not the best reasoning going on here.

But the Spanish Inquisition -- like most torture regimes -- used torture to force a certain action. The Inquisition wasn't interested in finding anything out, they were pretty sure they knew their victims were heretics. They just tortured them to get them to repent.

And, oddly, it didn't actually work. The Jews they tortured, the Muslims they tortured -- they just left Spain. Assuming they survived it. They didn't actually quit being Jews or Muslims. When they said they were repenting and accepting Jesus as their savior, they were lying. People do that. No matter what you do to someone, you can't make them incapable of fibbing.

If Lindsey Graham doubts that, I say we waterboard him. He'll admit he was wrong about everything pretty damned quick.

Of course, he'll probably be lying. So there's that. (Consortiumnews.com)

-Bonus HotD-
"Steele invokes Ronald Reagan to argue that the GOP should never look 'backward.'"

Think about it a second, it'll come to you. (Think Progress)

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