Beyond MSM, Feinstein report knocked by left and right

Beyond MSM, Feinstein report knocked by left and right

feinstein-obamaThe release of the report by the Senate intelligence committee’s majority Democrats that annihilates the CIA for using torture for years even when the agency allegedly knew that it didn’t work has been treated by the mainstream media as a career achievement for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee.

This un-nuanced adoration could also be found from the longtime newspaper journos who run Calbuzz:

“Releasing this report is an important step to restoring our values and showing the world that we are a just society,” Feinstein said on the Senate floor, calling the CIA’s post 9/11 interrogation program, “a stain on our values and our history.”

Under enormous pressure, Feinstein could have punted, mumbled about bipartisanship and played it safe by letting Republicans water down the report or bury it for good after she loses her committee chairmanship when the new Senate convenes. Such an option was most likely a non-starter for someone of her self-regard, but that she ultimately did not choose it may well stand as the greatest legacy of the 81-year old Senator’s years in Washington.

But if you bothered to look beyond the conventional wisdom advanced by the New York Times and the print media, much of the Left wasn’t buying the Feinstein-is-a-hero narrative. This is from BuzzFeed’s news coverage:

The Central Intelligence Agency tricked everyone. Senate Democrats’ recently released inquiry into Bush-era torture revealed a lot of shocking new details, but none quite as shocking as the the idea that the CIA successfully misled Congress, President George W. Bush, and even top intelligence officials about how brutal and ineffectual the program really was.

Most damningly — and politically conveniently — the report somehow manages to combine harrowing details of torture while exonerating nearly every top official whose job it was to prevent it from happening, and place the blame on a powerful political entity that is the most likely to emerge unscathed: the CIA itself.

Fox News shows had many variations on the same theme of scapegoating and blame-ducking. Here’s an example:

SEAN HANNITY: Let’s go to Dianne Feinstein back in 2002 when she said the following, this was quoted in New York Times, where she said, you know, it took that real attack, I think, to kind of shiver our timbers enough to let is know that the threat is profound and that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.

You were there. You knew these senators, these lawmakers. Do you remember any specific meetings? Was Dianne Feinstein told specifically what the CIA was doing in terms of enhanced interrogation?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: There are about 40 instances where we briefed the Senate and the House intelligence committees over the life of the program from 2002 to 2009. And we briefed Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Rockefeller and many others all the time. And we at the outset, at the beginning, back in 2001, I remember very clearly them telling me, you know, the problem that you guys have is that you are risk adverse. You need to use the authorities that we have given you to go out there and destroy this organization and to kill bin Laden. So we feel that we briefed them and briefed them thoroughly, and they are, you know, hypocritical.

Libertarians and anyone who believes in individual rights and who fears government power have to be happy that Feinstein has to a degree pulled back the covers on the anti-terrorism industrial complex.

But anyone who has watched the good cop/bad cop routine from Washington pols on national security  is not likely to readily accept the Feinstein-as-hero narrative.

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