As I see it, there are three possible ways that you could investigate claims of CIA abuse of suspected terrorists during interrogations under Bush.
- Don’t. This would infuriate the Left, most of whom spent considerable amounts of time, effort, and money to elect a President and Congress that would revisit the Salem Witch Trials (with possibly even the mass hangings); and give no net gain to the Right (it’s what they should be doing, anyway), the CIA (ditto), and the Middle (they just don’t care).
- Do. This would infuriate the CIA, a bureaucracy that easily outmatches the current administration in the arcane art of Beltway warfare; quietly please the Right (as that means that a lot of embarrassing* documents would finally get put in the public record); and give no net gain to the Left(it’s what they should be doing, anyway) and the Middle (they just don’t care).
- Do, but ostensibly only those claims that violated Bush-era guidelines. This would anger the CIA (ex post facto career blighting), the Left (it’d legitimize the guidelines), the Right (tailor-made for scapegoating); and give no net gain to the Middle (they just don’t care). In other words, it’d be the single most politically tone-deaf solution.
PS: Oh, you want a solution? Easy. The administration comes out and says that now that it’s had a chance to look at all the information, they’ve changed their mind on their previous position with regard to appropriateness of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism strategy; and that they’ll be doing a thorough review with the CIA to fix the system to make sure that anything that slipped through the cracks won’t happen again. Then they actually do the review in a bipartisan fashion, with enough well-known CIA advocates involved to reassure the Agency that there’s not going to be a witch hunt. That satisfies everybody.
Well, everybody except the Hard Left, but what are they going to do? Vote Republican?
Crossposted to Moe Lane.