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U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA, greets reporters as he departs a closed-door session with the House Select Committee on Intelligence at the Capitol in Washington, December 12, 2007.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STATES) - RTX4
Former CIA chief Michael Hayden thinks Dianne Feinstein is "too emotional" to be investigating the agency's torture and rendition program.
Back in March, in what for her were incendiary remarks, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the Central Intelligence Agency of stonewalling the release of a report on the agency's use of torture and rendition and of spying on committee investigators looking into the matter. In return, the CIA said some documents that the agency had placed in an off-site secure facility so that Senate investigators could study them had been taken by those investigators.

Among the plethora of documents was an internal CIA memo that far more strongly criticized the committee's still-unreleased 6,300-page report on the agency's interrogation program than did the CIA's official rebuttal. The memo was not supposed to have been part of the release of documents the agency had provided the committee. But CIA bosses were more interested in discovering how the investigators had got hold of the memo than explaining why they thought it shouldn't have been part of the collection the committee had access to.

Uncovering the facts that led to the unusual public feud—which included the spectacle of former CIA chief Michael Hayden saying Feinstein was "too emotional" to be tasked with overseeing the torture report—wound up in the hands of U.S. Department of Justice at the CIA Inspector General's request.

Ali Watkins at McClatchy reported Thursday that the department has washed its hands of the matter.

Read the details below the fold.

"The department carefully reviewed the matters referred to us and did not find sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation," said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr. [...]

But, it seems that the details of both sides’ accusations will never be publicly aired, leaving simmering tensions and a battered relationship.

Although fury flooded Capitol Hill in the immediate aftermath of the dispute, the incident seemed to have largely faded from memory, despite its enormous potential implications on the constitutional balance of powers.

Fading from memory is precisely what a whole range of top government and ex-government officials want to see happen in regards to the CIA's torture program.

For a time, Feinstein and others on the committee seemed to be seeking to have the entire report, completed 19 months ago, declassified. But then, no doubt under heavy pressure from the agency and other forces in Washington, including perhaps the White House, Feinstein made clear that the “findings, conclusions and the 500-page executive summary of the report” were the committee's targets for declassification.

That declassification is in the hands of the White House and the CIA, and the timing of the release is up to their discretion. It's supposed to happen in the next few months. It seems obvious, however, that even the condensed version will be highly edited.

Much has already been publicly exposed or admitted about the program, including that the CIA exceeded the Justice Department's already lax guidelines for "harsh" interrogation. The agency misled Justice, Congress, the media and the American people to protect itself from the law. But since we already know all that as well as other grim details, just how dark and brutal are the secrets the agency—and the committee—want to keep hidden?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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