FROM Fred Hitz
The CIA Torture Tapes In 2005, the CIA destroyed videotape that showed interrogations of terrorist suspects. Today's New York Times reports that CIA lawyers gave written permission--despite advice from the White House and the Department of Justice, and without asking their own boss. CIA Director Michael Hayden says the objective was protecting the identities of the interrogators themselves. Today, Hayden was called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee —behind closed doors, about why the videotapes, despite advice from the White House. Outside the closed hearing, Democrats and Republicans are among those suggesting possible crimes of torture and obstruction of justice. Might the tapes have made a difference to the 9/11 Commission , trials of accused terrorists and enactments by Congress? Are there any new lessons about the CIA and the quality of US intelligence?
The CIA Investigates Its Own Chief Watchdog The CIA is a top-secret agency, but like other government agencies, it's subject to oversight by an Inspector General, an internal watchdog with the authority to audit, inspect and investigate personnel and procedures. In his work and his reports to Congress the IG is supposed to be fair to the employees involved—and independent of the officials who call the shots. In the past few years, John Helgerson has issued scathing reports on overseas prisons, interrogations and intelligence failures. Now, CIA Director Michael Hayden is investigating Helgerson—an unprecedented review that's raised hackles on Capitol Hill. Has Helgerson been unfair to career officers, including former Director George Tenet? Will Hayden's probe intimidate whistle-blowers and compromise the Inspector General's independence?
The Stormy History of the CIA The Central Intelligence Agency was founded 60 years ago tomorrow. President Harry Truman wanted no more surprises--like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But from the beginning, the CIA has been asked to do more than gather intelligence. Subsequent presidents have demanded that secret agents also conduct secret missions, and that has corrupted the CIA's ability to speak truth to power. That's the thesis of Pulitzer-Prize winner Tim Weiner of the New York Times, whose latest book is Legacy of Ashes : The History of the CIA.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?