Gable: Did anybody ever make a sucker out of you?It's a matter of principle. You probably wouldn't understand.When anybody takes me for a buggy ride, I don't like paying for the privilege.Father: Were you taken for a buggy ride?Gable: Yes. With all the trimmings.
The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public, according to people familiar with the discussions.These people cautioned that President Barack Obama is still reviewing internal arguments over the release of Justice Department memorandums related to CIA interrogations, and how much information will be made public is in flux.
A decision to keep secret key parts of the three 2005 memos outlining legal guidance on CIA interrogations would anger some Obama supporters who have pushed him to unveil now-abandoned Bush-era tactics. It would also go against the views of Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Counsel Greg Craig, people familiar with the matter said. Top CIA officials have spoken out strongly against a full release, saying it would undermine the agency's credibility with foreign intelligence services and hurt the agency's work force, people involved in the discussions said. However,Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair favors releasing the information, current and former senior administration officials said.
Intelligence officials also believe that making the techniques public would give al Qaeda a propaganda tool just as the administration is stepping up its fight against the terrorist group in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some former administration officials have also argued that releasing all the memos could help terrorists train to endure the most extreme interrogation techniques.
People familiar with the matter said some senior intelligence advisers to the president raised fears that releasing the two most sensitive memos could cause the Obama administration to be alienated from the CIA's rank and file, as happened during the Bush administration when Porter Goss, who was unpopular among CIA officers, headed the agency.
Politically, this might be one of those situations where Obama is trying to please all his allies, when he can't possibly. So he's trying to compromise with people he wants to maintain good relations with where no compromise is possible.
I predict that if Obama doesn't release all the memos, the left will start to really hammer him on torture proceedings, state secrets privilege and his quiet evolution on the Patriot Act. Most have held back on this front, but this will make them feel abandoned and thus less restrained.