Ahead of Senate Report, CIA and GOP Circle Wagons To Defend Bush-Era Torture

With a summary of what is expected to be a scathing report on the Bush administration’s CIA torture program scheduled for release this week, current Republican lawmakers have teamed up with former CIA and Bush-era officials to discredit the report and defend the brutal treatment inflicted on individuals in the years following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

“When this report is declassified, people will abhor what they read. They’re gonna be disgusted. They’re gonna be appalled. They’re gonna be shocked at what we did.”
—Sen. Mark UdallConducted by a special investigative team empowered by Democratic members of Senate Intelligence Committee, the report is expected to detail torture methods that go beyond what has previously been described and will also charge that CIA agents and officials repeatedly misinformed the White House and lawmakers charged with oversight about the scope and key details of the program.

However, after an investigation that has lasted more than six years and a prolonged approval process to make certain portions of it available to the public (albeit in redacted form), now that the report’s summary is about to be released, Republicans and defenders of the CIA (including top officials at the agency and Bush himself) appear to be circling the wagons to insulate those at the center of the behavior which one Democratic member of the Senate Committee said will make the American people “disgusted” with what the agency did in the name of the American people.

As the New York Times reports on Monday:

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And the proof of this campaign was readily available on the Sunday news shows.

On Sunday, former president George W. Bush himself appeared on CNN and defended the CIA behavior during his two terms in office.

“We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf,” Bush said. “These are patriots. Whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contribution to our country, it is way off base. I knew the directors, I knew the deputy directors, I knew a lot of the operators. These are good people, really good people, and we’re lucky as a nation to have them.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican congressman from Michigan and chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee, also went on CNN and charged that the report would fuel anti-American violence abroad.