The Daily Beast reports: There may have been bourbon punch and festive lights at the CIA’s holiday party Friday night, but a frosty gloom hung in the air.
As everyone in the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters knew, the long-awaited “torture report” from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Democrats was set to drop early the next week, perhaps as soon as Monday morning. It seemed a rather awkward time for a party.
The CIA’s response to the report will be muted. The agency will neither defend the so-called rendition, detention, and interrogation programs. Nor will the CIA disavow those controversial efforts entirely. According to current and former officials familiar with the higher-ups’ thinking, CIA Director John Brennan is likely to keep his powder dry and essentially agree to disagree with the agency’s critics. Even though some CIA employees remain convinced that brutal interrogations of suspected terrorists, including waterboarding, produced useful information that helped prevent terrorist attacks, the agency’s leaders will take no position on whether that information could have been obtained through less coercive means.
Such a Jesuitical response will do absolutely nothing to satisfy critics of the program or its supporters — some of whom still go work at Langley every day. But it’s the result of the precarious political position that Brennan finds himself in now. [Continue reading…]