The CIA Can Handle the Truth

Today in the New York Times, former CIA analyst Emile A. Nakhleh added his voice to the growing group of leaders calling for the release of the Senate intelligence committee report on former CIA detention and interrogation techniques after 9/11. This ever-expanding chorus now includes military leaders, interrogators, national security and terrorism experts, religious and other thought leaders. On John Brennan’s nomination to become CIA Director, Nakhleh said, “It will be challenging, but if there’s any person who can take this on, it’s Brennan. He may say some harsh things about the program, and some people won’t like it. But the institution will benefit.”

As Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster in the Senate yesterday made clear, Brennan still faces hurdles with his nomination. It’s important that the next leader of the CIA makes sure that the agency takes stock of mistakes made after 9/11 to ensure that they don’t happen again. Years in the making, the 6,000+ page CIA torture report was adopted by the intelligence committee in a bipartisan vote last year. It’s currently under review by the administration, though it missed a deadline last month for comment on the report.

The recent controversy surrounding the film Zero Dark Thirty only proves the debate surrounding torture isn’t over. There are some who continue to make the false claim that torture worked, and seek to reinstate the practice.

Our government should be accountable for its mistakes, the CIA included. In the fight against those who wish to do us harm, we are strongest when we live up to our values and ideals as a nation. Torture has no place in the counterterrorism policy of this country. Nakhleh is right, the CIA will benefit from the release of the CIA torture report. The agency can handle the truth and the American public has a right to know.


Published on March 7, 2013


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