In the 1970s, after Vietnam and some unsavory assassination plots, the CIA was practically gutted by the Democrats in Congress launching an investigation on the CIA. This practice, along with the Democrats’ call for “openness over secrecy” in the distinctly clandestine agency, is widely regarded to have resulted in the collapse of efficacy later in the decade. For example, the CIA was later widely chastised for failing to foresee the Iranian Revolution that completed the moral bankruptcy of the Carter Administration.
Now, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party seems hell-bent on declaring war once more on the CIA. Despite the warnings of the Republicans, Steny Hoyer, James Carville and other Democratic strategists, and even the president himself, Nancy Pelosi and the left of her caucus seem to give no signal of letting up on the notion that Members were lied to or mislead by the CIA during briefings surrounding torture.
Larry Johnson of NoQuarterUSA.net has some experience in these matters, and he explains that the CIA likely did not volunteer any more information than was necessary to Congress, but probably did detail enough to get the point across that torture was being used without making the Members complicit.
Of course, the only way to know for sure is to ask someone who would know. Leon Panetta, Obama’s appointed director of the CIA, is also a Democrat, also from California, and worked as Pelosi’s colleague in the House. He claims that Pelosi is wrong.
In a letter, Panetta vehemently denies that the agency mislead Congress, while he urges agency employees to steer clear of the fight and remain focused on their jobs.
Obviously, he’s right to steer his people clear, but the issue remains that Pelosi and the most surly elements of the Democratic Party would be wise to steer clear themselves of declaring war on the CIA. It is, after all, an agency known to destroy people.