Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Classified Torture Info… “Revealed”!

According to the Hill, the hill is in a titter because apparently some GOP intelligence committee members “revealed” some sensitive, classified information… breaching, ethical codes surrounding these meetings, and igniting “a firestorm.”

The article opens as follows:

Republicans ignited a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by revealing some of what they had been told at a closed-door Intelligence Committee hearing on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.

From the article, it seems that this is the quote in question:

“The hearing did address the enhanced interrogation techniques that have been much in the news lately,” Kline said, noting that he was intentionally choosing his words carefully in observance of the committee rules and the nature of the information presented.

“Based 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,” Kline said.

Doesn’t seem to be revelatory of anything… it’s just a statement of a GOP / Cheney talking point draped in the dubious legitimacy of Kline’s word that that was his “impression” from the hearing he had just attended. The Democrat response, characterized by TheHill as outrage at revealed secrets, was this (quoted in the same article):

“I am absolutely shocked that members of the Intelligence committee who attended a closed-door hearing… then walked out that hearing – early, by the way – and characterized anything that happened in that hearing,” said Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “My understanding is that’s a violation of the rules. It may be more than that.”

From this it seems clear that the issue, for Schakowski, was not that the GOP “revealed” anything, but that, having left the hearing early, they ventured to “characterize” what had been said in accordance with Cheney/GOP talking points.

Pace TheHill’s analysis, but it’s not that the Dems are pissed off that the Republicans “revealed” anything.  It looks like the Dems are pissed off because the GOP is making a claim that can’t be rebutted except by revealing classified and sensitive information… that the GOP is playing political brinksmanship.

The GOP recognizes that to say that “we did gather information that did disrupt terrorist plots ” is incredibly general, unspecific, and difficult to tangibly link to the safety “of the troops,” as they say. Further, it indicates nothing about whether or not the illegal techniques were necessary to gather whatever information he might be referring to. If we’re going to use efficacy as the measure (which we shouldn’t), that is what is relevant.

Conversely, saying that the GOP member was lying is revealing something very specific about the content of the hearing, and something that would, as such, be a far more serious breach of the ethics surrounding classified national security hearings.


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