Former Democratic Senator rails against 'partisan' torture report

Former Nebraska Senator and member of the Intelligence Committee Bob Kerrey wrote an op ed in USA Today, bemoaning the partisan nature of the torture report, and calling on the intel committee to offer recommendations for reform.

I also do not have to wait to know we are fighting a war that is different than any in our country's past. The enemy does not have an easy to identify and analyze military. In the war against global jihadism, human intelligence and interrogation have become more important, and I worry that the partisan nature of this report could make this kind of collection more difficult.

I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

It is important for all of us to not let Congress dodge responsibility. Congressional oversight of intelligence is notoriously weak. The 9/11 Commission recommended a number of changes in the authorities of Congressional committees but the proposal – advanced by Senator McCain – did not come close to gathering a majority of votes in either the Senate or the House.

The worse consequence of a partisan report can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations. This is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity, because no one would claim the program was perfect or without its problems. But equally, no one with real experience would claim it was the completely ineffective and superfluous effort this report alleges.

Early on, it became apparent that the Democrats on the committee were more interested in blaming the Bush administration than in actually finding out what went on. Neither did the Democrats realistically assess the results of the enhanced interrogation techniques. The broad, sweeping generalizations in their conclusions along with the lack of recommendations is what Senator Kerrey is complaining about.

A political report was inevitable, given the state of politics today. But it is significant that Republicans on the committee didn't even write a dissent. They wanted no part in a partisan effort to heap blame on the Bush administration for their policies.

Former Nebraska Senator and member of the Intelligence Committee Bob Kerrey wrote an op ed in USA Today, bemoaning the partisan nature of the torture report, and calling on the intel committee to offer recommendations for reform.

I also do not have to wait to know we are fighting a war that is different than any in our country's past. The enemy does not have an easy to identify and analyze military. In the war against global jihadism, human intelligence and interrogation have become more important, and I worry that the partisan nature of this report could make this kind of collection more difficult.

I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

It is important for all of us to not let Congress dodge responsibility. Congressional oversight of intelligence is notoriously weak. The 9/11 Commission recommended a number of changes in the authorities of Congressional committees but the proposal – advanced by Senator McCain – did not come close to gathering a majority of votes in either the Senate or the House.

The worse consequence of a partisan report can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations. This is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity, because no one would claim the program was perfect or without its problems. But equally, no one with real experience would claim it was the completely ineffective and superfluous effort this report alleges.

Early on, it became apparent that the Democrats on the committee were more interested in blaming the Bush administration than in actually finding out what went on. Neither did the Democrats realistically assess the results of the enhanced interrogation techniques. The broad, sweeping generalizations in their conclusions along with the lack of recommendations is what Senator Kerrey is complaining about.

A political report was inevitable, given the state of politics today. But it is significant that Republicans on the committee didn't even write a dissent. They wanted no part in a partisan effort to heap blame on the Bush administration for their policies.