Obama Protecting CIA in Senate Standoff


McClatchy newspapers is reporting that the Obama White House is withholding almost 10,000 documents in dispute in the battle between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA, but without actually asserting executive privilege over those documents.

The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program, even though President Barack Obama hasn’t exercised a claim of executive privilege.

In contrast to public assertions that it supports the committee’s work, the White House has ignored or rejected offers in multiple meetings and in letters to find ways for the committee to review the records, a McClatchy investigation has found.

The significance of the materials couldn’t be learned. But the administration’s refusal to turn them over or to agree to any compromise raises questions about what they would reveal about the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists in secret overseas prisons.

The dispute indicates that the White House is more involved than it has acknowledged in the unprecedented power struggle between the committee and the CIA, which has triggered charges that the agency searched the panel’s computers without authorization and has led to requests to the Justice Department for criminal investigations of CIA personnel and Senate aides.

“These documents certainly raise the specter that the White House has been involved in stonewalling the investigation,” said Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University Law School…

In question are some 9,400 documents that came to the committee’s attention in 2009, McClatchy has learned. It’s unclear whether the CIA first gave the committee staff access to the materials before the White House withheld them.

I guess that answers the question of whether Obama would act to rein in the intelligence agencies.

Comments

  1. sqlrob says

    I guess that answers the question of whether Obama would act to rein in the intelligence agencies.

    As if there was any doubt.

  2. says

    “These documents certainly raise the specter that the White House has been involved in stonewalling the investigation,

    Raise it? They hoist it to the top of the flagpole and fire of fireworks while a mariachi band plays “anarchy in the UK”

  3. marcus says

    He knows that whatever political fallout occurs from not releasing these documents it is nothing compared to the totally justified shitstorm that is going to come down if they are.

  4. wayneturner says

    Actually, Marcus, I’m not so sure that’s true. If there were a republican in the WH, the senate and house republicans would rally around the admin and attack Feinstein. But the committee has given them a perfect opportunity, and one with some legitimacy based on my understanding of the constitution, to launch a new attack on the admin prior to the elections. The question in my mind is whether the republicans will force the documents out regardless of the fact that it will almost certainly leave Bush and Cheney open to criminal charges.

  5. says

    wayneturner “The question in my mind is whether the republicans will force the documents out regardless of the fact that it will almost certainly leave Bush and Cheney open to criminal charges.”
    No. Everything before Jan 2009 will stay, or get, redacted. Darrell Issa will make sure of that.

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