“The only motive here could be to embarrass George W. Bush,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in reaction to the release of the Democrat-driven “torture report” on controversial CIA interrogation practices post 9/11. Sen. Burr is set to replace Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as chairman of the report-issuing Senate Intelligence Committee next year.
Other Republicans on Capitol Hill expressed similar negative reactions to the lengthy exposé. Politico notes that retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said it’s “pretty clear” the report’s main purpose is to attack Bush.
Again, via politico.com, another GOP lawmaker’s negative reaction:
“It’s already out there on the street, and for whatever reason Democrats felt like they needed to get it out there yet again,” said retiring Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, a former Bush secretary of Agriculture.
“I worry about the cost. And I would side in favor of protecting Americans who are serving or people in other parts of the country that are working at our embassies.”
A post at msnbc.com quotes Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in his harsh critique of the Intelligence Committee report:
“I cannot think of a greater disservice to our men and women serving in the military and in our intelligence field than to hand terror groups like ISIL another recruiting tool and excuse to target them.
“Due to the political calculations of some, the American people and our allies across the globe are less safe today than they were before.”
Even South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had strong words critical of the report, according to ABC News:
“The techniques in question are nowhere near what the enemies of this nation and radical Islam would do to people under their control. There is no comparison.”
Republicans on the Senate panel produced their own report on the CIA intelligence-gathering practices, which is far less disparaging and inflammatory than the majority document from Democrats.
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However, the senator who has been called a “maverick” once again showed why that label is a perfect fit. Arizona’s John McCain — who was tortured during his 5-year captivity as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam — supported the Democrats’ argument that the report’s release was necessary.
As noted at thehill.com, McCain has bucked many in the Republican Party by defending the explicit report on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques, saying those practices “stained our national honor.”
“It’s a thorough study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose to secure actionable intelligence … but actually damaged our security interests as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world,” McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor shortly after the report was released.
“I believe the American people have a right — indeed, a responsibility — to know what was done in their name, how these practices did or did not serve their interests and how they comported our most important values.”
In a previous post on Western Journalism, we told you how U.S. Marines are on heightened alert for fear the report’s release might spark violence by America’s enemies. Also taking extra precautions are the CIA, DHS, Congressional security details, and even the Secret Service at the White House.