Sen. Feinstein has opened Pandora's Box for the Democrats
The Democratic Party is well on the way to restoring its reputation as weak on national security, not to be trusted with the nation’s safety. Senator Dianne Feinstein and the Democrat majority on the Senate Intelligence Committee who insisted on releasing their partisan report on CIA enhanced interrogation techniques (sometimes known as “torture”) have opened a Pandora’s Box.
Writing at Ricochet, Herbert Meyer, recipient of the nation’s highest intelligence medal for civilians, outlines in stark terms the sort of dilemma Feinstein’s report sets up for Democrats:
Let’s use what’s called the Ticking-Time-Bomb scenario to illustrate this point:
A terrorist group announces that it’s placed a nuclear device somewhere in San Francisco. They say it will detonate in 72 hours. The senior senator from California — that would be Dianne Feinstein, outgoing chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the former mayor of San Francisco — urges residents of her home town to remain calm and not panic. The senator adds that while her thoughts and prayers are with the people of San Francisco, she will remain at her post in Washington DC, about 2,000 miles away from the likely blast radius.
The next day CIA undercover agents in Yemen capture one of the terrorists. They ask him, politely, to tell them where the bomb is located. The terrorist remains silent. “Please tell us,” one of the CIA agents begs. “Surely you don’t want to turn one of the world’s most beautiful cities into a pile of radioactive rubble.” The terrorist replies, “Allahu Akbar, God is Great, Americans must die.”
Okay, Senator, at this point what do you want the CIA to do with this terrorist? Please don’t tell us — yet again — what you don’t want our agents to do. Tell us what you want them to do. And if your answer is, in effect, to give this poor misguided wretch a hot meal and put him in a cell with an iPhone 6 and a 54-inch flat-screen TV with 200 cable channels including Al Jazeera, then let’s make sure the doomed people of San Francisco understand precisely what you’re saying, and what their likely fate will be.
He goes on to suggest that petitions be organized in as many locales as possible to put on the ballot a question like this:
How far should the CIA go to stop a terrorist attack on (Insert name of City, Town or State):
Option One: The CIA should not use any of these so-called enhanced interrogation techniques to stop an attack. I’d rather die.
Option Two: The CIA should do whatever it takes to keep my family safe, and if that means beating the crap out of a captured terrorist so be it.
That’s certainly a valid question to pose to any presidential candidate, or, for that matter, any candidate for federal office. And by the way, notice that Hillary Clinton has not uttered a peep about the Feinstein Report.
Writing at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin posits the ways in which the report has already backfired:
We have seen a parade of former CIA directors, deputy directors and even former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) blast release of the report and the shoddy attempt to pronounce upon the agency without interviewing those who knew the most. That story — condemn first and don’t ask questions because you might get an answer you don’t like — has resonated. All of this has cast the Democratic Party once again as the party that’s weak on (and unserious about) defense.
Even worse, the president won’t say (!) whether he agrees with his own handpicked CIA director, John Brennan, that the information gained through enhanced interrogation techniques was useful, and he won’t criticize or endorse the Senate Democrats. Now, there’s a resounding vote of no support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
The White House spokesman has turned himself in knots as to whether the findings are correct; they, of course, conflict with a prior inspector general report.
And to top it off, Brennan went to the press to hold forth on the report.
Barack Obama rode dissatisfaction with the Iraq War and the Bush administration to office in the 2008 election. The GOP had temporarily forfeited is national security advantage. Obama administration dithering and incompetence had seriously weakened the Democrats’ hold on national security, with Putin invading and ISIS beheading people and taking over what amounts to a new terror state (with designs on the entire Middle East). But now with the Feinstein Report, the Democrats’ Senate majority swan song is a full-throated declaration that we would rather have a nuclear device explode in San Francisco than subject a prisoner to discomfort.
Maybe ISIS will lose the momentum it currently has; maybe jihadists worldwide will suddenly decide that religious tolerance is better than Mohammed’s instructions on the treatment of infidels. But I doubt it. Instead, I suspect that the next two years will see more video beheadings, more ISIS conquests, and maybe an Iranian nuclear weapon exploded. I hope not, but I don’t see the momentum changing. If these awful events transpire, it is hard to see how American voters will want to trust the party of Feinstein with our national security.