WH CIA Interrogations Document 'Accidentally Emailed' to AP Potentially Exonerates Powell

July 30th, 2014 11:59 PM

Gosh, how could this have happened?

Tonight at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, a dispatch by Ken Dilanian and Eileen Sullivan reports that "a document circulating among White House staff" about post-9/11 allegedly harsh and inhumane CIA interrogation techniques — a document which was "accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter" — claims that Former Secretary of State Colin Powell "may not have been informed when the techniques were first used in 2002." Given the wire service's unrequited lapdog love for all things Obama, it seems more likely, as posited by Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, that the "AP reporter" in question is on the regular circulation list and was told to call this particular leak an accident. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks concludes that the agency initially kept the secretary of state and some U.S. ambassadors in the dark about harsh techniques and secret prisons, according to a document circulating among White House staff.

The still-classified report also says some ambassadors who were informed about interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at so-called black sites in their countries were instructed not to tell their superiors at the State Department, says the document, which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter.

The 6,300-page Senate report on the CIA's interrogation program has been years in the making. The findings are expected to reveal additional details about the CIA's program and renew criticisms that the U.S. engaged in torture as it questioned terrorism suspects after the 2001 attacks.

A congressional official who has read the Senate report confirmed that it makes the findings outlined in the document. A former senior CIA official said the secretary of state at the time, Colin Powell, eventually was informed about the program and sat in meetings in which harsh interrogation techniques were discussed. But Powell may not have been informed when the techniques were first used in 2002, the official said.

... The former CIA official said it would be standard practice for ambassadors informed about a covert operation to be instructed not to share it with others who did not have a "need to know," as determined by the National Security Council.

... This document is significant because it also reveals some of the report's conclusions as well as the State Department's concerns about how the program will be portrayed around the world.

The Senate report, a summary of which is expected to be made public in the coming weeks, concludes that the CIA used brutal techniques on detainees that failed to produce life-saving intelligence, and then misled Congress and the Justice Department about the interrogation program.

Current and former CIA officials hotly dispute the conclusion that the techniques — which included waterboarding — failed to produce crucial information, as do some Senate Republicans.

I'll leave it to commenters to hash out the pros and cons of the CIA's and opponents' positions.

Extending Reynolds's concerns, the Powell leak seems to be quite convenient, and to be coming at a quite convenient time.

It's not exactly a secret that President Obama's party is facing a difficult time holding onto control of the U.S. Senate in this fall's elections. One possible way to improve the outcome might be to have Powell issue yet another tired statement in support of Obama, as he did in both 2008 and 2012, which of course will include subtle but unmistakable implications that anyone who opposes any of Dear Leader's blessed programs and policies simply must be a closet racist.

The upcoming report appears designed in part to do Powell a favor by giving him plausible deniability. What better way to emphasize how significant that favor is than to leak it to a reporter at a wire service which long ago irrevocably sold its soul? Additionally, note that the report is tentative ("maybe not told early"), so it could change and tarnish Powell's legacy if he doesn't play along.

Don't be surprised if Powell comes out with some kind of supportive statement at an opportune time this fall. If he does, don't forget the likely reason why.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.