Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is rapidly becoming my favorite retired politician, unleashes his inner Aunty Entity and tells President Obama, “Spin the wheel, Raggedy Man!”
But what bothers Cheney this week is not so much that President Obama released the Justice Dept’s memos on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques in recent years.
It’s that the new president simultaneously withheld other classified memos that show what those interrogation techniques produced, the information that, Cheney says, those interrogations successfully helped prevent another attack on the homeland since 9/11. The results too, should be part of the national security debate, Cheney adds.
“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure,” Cheney tells Hannity, “is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort. And there are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified.”
“I formally asked that they be declassified now. I haven’t announced this up until now, I haven’t talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.”
“And I’ve now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions.”
He is exactly right. The President’s release had no practical national security value. In fact, as the former Director of the CIA and the former Attorney General detailed, it will do us no little harm. His decision was purely political and Cheney is going to force him to prove it. If the President doesn’t release all the memos, he’s going to have to explain why it was vital that he reveal how we got our intelligence but not what that intelligence gained us. That’s a sticky position for the President, who is trapped between the need to serve the security interests of our country and the need to serve the political interests of his anti-war supporters whose money helped fuel his campaign.
Moe Lane says that President Obama has a bigger problem, than Darth Cheney. His decision to release only the “bad” memos burned the CIA badly and he needs to get them back on his side lest he suffer the same “death from a thousand leaks” that President Bush suffered for several years. Unfortunately for him, that puts him back on the same tightrope between national security and his campaign donors.
William Jacobson puts the choice even more starkly: “Which City Would You Sacrifice?”
In the end, it does come down to that. It’s a hard world and we have to make hard choices. There is no Tomorrow-morrow Land out there. The President is cheating us by withholding the rest of the memos.