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Kicking The CIA (Again) - David Ignatius, Washington Post opinion.
As other countries watch the United States lacerate its intelligence service - for activities already investigated or never undertaken - perhaps they admire America's commitment to democracy and the rule of law. More likely, I fear, they conclude that we are just plain nuts.
The latest "scandals" involving the Central Intelligence Agency are genuinely hard to understand, other than in terms of political payback. Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor to investigate criminal actions by CIA officers involved in the harsh interrogation of al-Qaeda prisoners. But the internal CIA report on which he's said to be basing this decision was referred five years ago to the Justice Department, where attorneys concluded that no prosecution was warranted.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are indignant that they were never briefed about a program to assassinate al-Qaeda operatives in friendly countries. Never mind that the program wasn't implemented, or that the United States is routinely assassinating al-Qaeda operatives using unmanned drones. And never mind that Leon Panetta, the new CIA director - fearing a potential flap - briefed Congress about the program soon after he became aware of it. There was a flap anyway -- with a new hemorrhage of secrets and a new shudder from America's intelligence partners around the world...
More at The Washington Post.