Friday, April 17, 2009

CQ: CIA Torture Memo Release Shows Congressional Oversight Failed

According to Congressional Quarterly:
Steven Aftergood, an expert in government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, says Obama's decision to release the information in response to the ACLU's [FOIA] suit points to a breakdown in relations between the branches.

"Congressional oversight did not get the job done," Aftergood said. "This reflects a significant and dangerous weakness on the part of Congress."

Aftergood noted former CIA Director Michael Hayden told MSNBC that the interrogation program "began life as a covert action." According to that reasoning, Aftergood says, Bush should have issued a presidential "finding" or some other official declaration authorizing the program. Instead, the interrogations were a covert action, increasing the potential for deception, Aftergood notes.

All of which means the release of the memos will probably provide fodder for future congressional hearings, as lawmakers try to play catch-up.
No "truth commission" would be required if Congress would do it its job here, IMHO...