The Republicrat Party of Torture


With Democrats having won the White House and retained their majority hold on Congress, they now have nowhere left to hide. They can no longer pretend to be outraged and appalled at the Bush administration’s use of arbitrary detention and torture. Their bluff has been called, and the results have not been pretty. Yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Sylvestre Reyes, gave us yet one more proof that the Democratic leadership is just as prepared — even eager — to support Pres. Bush’s brutal and illegal detention and interrogation policies as any Republican (h/t Glenn Greenwald):

The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat said Tuesday he has recommended that President-elect Barack Obama keep the country’s current national intelligence director and CIA chief in place for some time to ensure continuity in U.S. intelligence programs during the transition to a new administration.

Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he also recommended to Obama’s transition team that some parts of the CIA’s controversial alternative interrogation program should be allowed to continue. He declined to say what he specifically recommended, however.

The alternative interrogation program has been a lightning rod during the Bush administration’s war on terrorism, drawing fierce denunciations from liberal Democrats and other critics who say it allows prisoners to be tortured. These opponents have urged Obama to shut it down.

In an interview, Reyes said he believes that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael Hayden should be kept in their posts. Reyes believes they should stay for at least six months, but said the time frame is ultimately a decision Obama must make.

“There’s got to be some continuity, and the leadership of both the CIA and the DNI is going to be pivotal to keeping us safe and secure,” Reyes said. “I made a recommendation that they stay on during the transition so that there would be a period of time that there would be overlap.”

“It gets back to a world that is very dangerous,” Reyes added. “There are many different aspects that deal with our national security and it’s critical that we have that overlap. … I know that they’re considering, they’re weighing the options,” he said of Obama’s transition team.

And specifically on torture [my emphasis]:

Regarding the CIA’s alternative interrogation program, Reyes indicated that his recommendations concerned finding a balance so the agency does not use torture but can get valuable information from suspected terrorists or other detainees.

There are those that believe that this particular issue has to be dealt with very carefully because there are beliefs that there are some options that need to be available,” Reyes said.

We don’t want to be known for torturing people. At the same time we don’t want to limit our ability to get information that’s vital and critical to our national security,” he added. “That’s where the new administration is going to have to decide what those parameters are, what those limitations are.”

So now, in order to keep his campaign promise to close Guantanamo and end abusive and unlawful interrogation practices, President-elect Obama is going to have to fight his own party as well as the other one.

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One Comment on “The Republicrat Party of Torture”

  1. Chief Says:

    Speaker Pelosi and most if not all other Dems that have been in the House for more than two terms are just as complicit as the Bush administration when it comes to Gitmo,torture and shredding the Constitution.

    Everyone of them is afraid of being blamed for being soft on terrorism when the next attack occurs.

    President Obama is going to have to be his own “man” on this one and appoint as heads of ONI, CIA and NSA folks that believe the Constitution is of paramount importance.


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