WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz said that the release of the Democratic report about the CIA’s interrogation methods is nothing more than the Obama administration continuing to blame former President George W. Bush.
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, the potential 2016 presidential candidate stated that it’s time for the White House to stop throwing Bush under the bus for their failures.
“But even more broadly it demonstrates an approach that has characterized this administration for six years is that everything, everything, everything is George W. Bush’s fault. Enough already with blaming George W. Bush for every failure of this administration,” Cruz said. “At a time when the entire world is on fire, I recognize that President Obama and Senate Democrats see value in harkening back six years ago and piling onto his predecessor.”
The report concludes that the CIA deceived government officials and the public with its steadfast insistence that the interrogation tactics, employed during the period that followed the deadly 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S., had saved lives. The report says the CIA’s own records fail to back up the agency’s claims.
Cruz said the release of the report “was a sad day for the United States” and its allies across the globe.
“We saw the release of a partisan report from Democrats in the Senate – 6,000 pages – that presented a biased view of what our intelligence officers did in the aftermath of 9/11, and that weakened our nation,” Cruz explained. “It endangered Americans across the globe and the risk of retaliation of violence is real.”
Cruz continued, “Torture is wrong, unambiguously, period, the end. Civilized nations do not engage in torture and Congress has rightly acted to make absolutely clear that the United States will not engage in torture.”
The Republican senator is concerned about the long-term ramifications this report will have on America’s allies.
“The international repercussions of this partisan report are just beginning as friends and allies across the globe are rethinking, ‘Do we want to cooperate with a nation where our cooperation will find itself broadcast to the world through a reckless and irresponsible partisan report?’ That’s one of the consequences, I think, that will be with us for a long, long time the next we’re reaching out to an ally saying help us prevent the next 9/11, help us prevent the next terror attack,” Cruz said. “This report is going to make it all the harder for that friendship and that cooperation to occur.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney also criticized the report, claiming it was “full of crap.”
“What are you prepared to do to get the truth against future attacks against the United States?” Cheney said.
Cheney also told Fox News that Bush knew what was happening, despite the report stating that the former president was kept in the dark about the interrogation techniques.
“I think he knew everything he wanted to know and needed to know,” Cheney told Fox News.
Presenting her hotly contested report into CIA torture on Tuesday, outgoing Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein laid out her case in the same methodical manner she said guided five years of investigation. Keeping her emotions in check, she avoided invoking her personal dispute with the CIA’s director over the agency’s monitoring of her investigators.
Feinstein said the conclusions of her report “give me no pleasure.”
For the California Democrat, it was her highest profile speech on the Senate floor since revealing nine months ago a dramatic deterioration in relations between her panel’s investigators and the nation’s top spy agency. The CIA at the time was asking the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe of Feinstein’s staffers, a move she deemed tantamount to a constitutional breach of Congress’ right to legislative oversight. The CIA’s chief would later apologize, but on Tuesday Feinstein focused on the facts.
Proceeding point by point, she spent almost an hour citing examples of what she described as the CIA torturing al Qaeda prisoners after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and deceiving the nation and the world on the counterterrorism successes its “enhanced interrogation techniques” made possible.
About dozen fellow Democratic senators watched on. Only one Republican, a dissenter, Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, was present, until Sen. John McCain entered the Senate to support Feinstein.
“The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow,” said McCain, who himself was tortured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. “But the American people are entitled to it nonetheless.”
Feinstein’s overall summation was stark: Harsh interrogations didn’t work and the tactics were “far more brutal than people were led to believe.” Releasing just the summary and conclusions of the still secret, 6,700-page report, she said, is a step toward restoring U.S. values.
“America is big enough to admit when it’s wrong and confident enough to learn from its mistakes,” said Feinstein, who next month will cede control of the committee she has led for the last six years as Republicans assume the Senate majority.
And at 81, and with her political future uncertain, the report could serve as the magnus opus of a five-decade political career that saw Feinstein rise from mayor of San Francisco to one of the dominant Democrats in Congress. She is up for a sixth term as senator in 2018.
The study worked its way through more than 6 million pages of documents. It will incorporate a lengthy Republican rebuttal saying Democrats cherry-picked supporting evidence to reach a pre-determined conclusion of wrongdoing under the administration of President George W. Bush.
Obama outlawed the enhanced interrogations upon taking office.
“I think it was important for us to release this so that we can account for it, so that people understand precisely why I banned these practices as one of the first acts I took when I came into office, and hopefully make sure that we don’t make those mistakes again,” Obama told Telemundo on Tuesday. “I’ve been very explicit about how our intelligence gathering needs to conduct itself and explicitly prohibited these kinds of techniques. And so anybody who was doing the kinds of things that are described in the report, would not simply be keeping something from me; they would be directly violating the orders that I’ve issued as president, commander in chief.”
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