Dianne Feinstein Calls Bullshit On The 'Threat Assessment' That Said Releasing CIA Torture Report Would Lead To Violence

from the what-violence? dept

As you may recall, in the leadup to the government finally releasing a heavily redacted version of the Senate Intelligence Committee's CIA Torture Report, the state department kept asking for the report not to be released, claiming that they had evidence that the release of the report would cause violence directed at US citizens around the globe. Even Secretary of State John Kerry pleaded with Feinstein not to release the report. We questioned how legitimate these supposed "threats" were, and you may have noticed in the two months since the report was released a severe absence of sudden new attacks that were being blamed on the release of the report.

Feinstein may no longer be the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but she's still on it. And in its first public hearing of the new Congress, she took the opportunity to quiz National Counterterrorism Center boss Nick Rasmussen about the supposed "threat assessment."
Feinstein: And I have one other question to ask the Director. Um, Mr. Director, days before the public release of our report on CIA detention and interrogation, we received an intelligence assessment predicting violence throughout the world and significant damage to United States relationships. NCTC participated in that assessment. Do you believe that assessment proved correct?

Rasmussen: I can speak particularly to the threat portion of that rather than the partnership aspect of that because I would say that’s the part NCTC would have the most direct purchase on, and I can’t say that I can disaggregate the level of terrorism and violence we’ve seen in the period since the report was issued, disaggregate that level from what we might have seen otherwise because, as you know, the turmoil roiling in those parts of the world, not that part of the world, those parts of the world, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, there’s a number of factors that go on creating the difficult threat environment we face.

So the assessment we made at the time as a community was that we would increase or add to the threat picture in those places. I don’t know that looking backwards now, I can say it did by X% or it didn’t by X%. We were also, I think, clear in saying that there’s parts of the impact that we will not know until we have the benefit of time to see how it would play out in different locations around the world.

Feinstein: Oh boy do I disagree with you. But that’s what makes this arena I guess. The fact in my mind was that the threat assessment was not correct.
As Marcy Wheeler notes, later in the hearing, Senator Ron Wyden also got Rasmussen to admit that he hadn't read the rest of the CIA Torture report, but just the unclassified summary.

Of course, it's no real surprise that the "threat assessment" turned out to be complete bunk, like almost everyone predicted. But since this is Washington DC, there's no accountability on issues like this. It's why the intelligence community can spread scary FUD all day long -- because no one ever calls them on the fact that it's bullshit, and there's no accountability at all.

Filed Under: cia, dianne feinstein, john kerry, nctc, nick rasmussen, senate intelligence committee, threat assessment, torture report


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  • identicon
    Beech, 13 Feb 2015 @ 8:20am

    "Madame congresswoman, as a federal employee i can assure you that if you try to check my internet browsing history it will cause all kinds of terrorism. And planes will fall from the sky. We have intel that Godzilla has threatened to attack if my search history becomes public. Probably best to leave it alone. If you have any questions about my that assessment, you can find in my office with the doors locked and shades drawn for the next half hour or so."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      Wait you can check internet history? What kind of magical computer wizardry is that? It MUST be hacking. CFAA! CFAA! CFAA!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 8:31am

    Wow, that guy Rasmussen dispenses bullshit at fire hydrant velocities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 8:43am

    Bullshit

    Now if she would only call bullshit on her own bullshit...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 8:52am

      Re: Bullshit

      totes not happening. Notice that this does not really even happen much from either side of the aisle either.

      If you think there are 2 parties up there... you are mistaken. Sure we serfs here in electorate land will piss and moan but we will just vote them right back in.

      Nothing is changing I bet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 9:30am

        Re: Re: Bullshit

        Something has changed... I can remember when Feinstein toed the party line at all times, and patriotically supported government decisions. She was the cornerstone that others could depend upon.

        The fact that she got to the point of calling out other parts of government for lies and underhanded dealings speaks volumes, and sets a precedent for the senate to actually hold some degree of a moral compass on the activities of other branches of government in the future.

        Now if only they could get congress to join them....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 13 Feb 2015 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Bullshit

          I think it's My-Party-Isnt-Majority-itis. It's not a permanent condition. It can be cured by voting for more Democrats.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 11:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bullshit

            I can't be cured voting in either party.

            Both may be different, but the level of corruption is to high on both sides to measure it.

            Voting in these clowns while holding your nose is more like choosing your death penalty.

            Do you want to die by...
            Firing Squad
            Electric Chair
            Hanging
            Guillotine
            Quartering
            Acid Bath
            Asphyxiation
            Lethal Injection

            Voting for either of the parties as they stand now is just a vote for death of this nation... the only different being which death you are voting on.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              David, 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bullshit

              Point taken. However in Feinstein's malady, it is curable by voting for more Democrats. The ones to encourage are the ones that have been calling BS on this despite the swings in power.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Feb 2015 @ 2:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bullshit

          The fact that she got to the point of calling out other parts of government for lies and underhanded dealings speaks volumes, and sets a precedent for the senate to actually hold some degree of a moral compass on the activities of other branches of government in the future.

          It has nothing to do with a moral compass, it's because the CIA was caught spying on the Senate and not just ordinary citizens. She didn't say criticize any part of the intelligence apparatus until that happened.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 13 Feb 2015 @ 9:41am

    "There will be terrorism, somewhere in the world, at some time in the future" is the kind of prediction that an agency would make if it had no competency and no interest in producing meaningful assessments of terrorist activity.

    Congress people generally won't demand accountability when every political interest bends in the other direction, so kudos to Feinstein for being an exception.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tomczerniawski, 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:29pm

    Want y'all to read something:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/1/15/did_gitmo_suicides_cover_up_murder

    Is it safe to say that, once we start conducting medical experiments on our detainees, we're basically at a Dr. Mengele level of evil?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 3:44pm

    "Feinstein may no longer be the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but she's still on it." Feinstein and Intelligence used in the same sentence, must be a typo. The real question is why do people like the two mentioned in the lead paragraph even hold political office. Talk about the American populace and a sucker being born every minute.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 5:28pm

      Re:

      First part: LOL HaHa Feinstein and Intelligence in the same sentence..

      Second If you believe that voting is a real apparatus.. if you think they would let normal people decide who rules, you have been fooled sadly, my friend.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 4:53pm

    Feinstein deserves everything that happens to her.

    She is a proven hypocrite that is more than happy to restrict the rights of common citizens by takes offense when those rights are taken from her.

    She is against people having the right to own a gun to protect themselves, but she herself carries a gun to protect herself.

    She is all for spying on everyday citizens until she gets spied on herself.

    She is completely useless as a representative of the people

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 6:19pm

    No accountability at all

    I'm reminded of a good quote I heard the voices in my head say one day: "With nothing but a vote in one hand and a gun in the other how much longer do you think it'll be until you force the other hand?"

    .. but I seem to maybe distinctly remember looking around and not having any guns to hold so I started sharpening my chopsticks. .. if you can't get hold of any guns then save your takeout sticks. That's all I have to say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 9:14pm

    Know what's even less surprising than the fact that terror attacks didn't spike in response to the Torture Report? Most of the world has already forgotten about it completely. Now that is terrifying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2015 @ 3:22am

    "I don’t know that looking backwards now, I can say it did by X% or it didn’t by X%."


    It appears Mr. Rasmussen just admitted that it's impossible for the government to reliably assess any threat assessment claims they make...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 15 Feb 2015 @ 8:50pm

    Accountability? What Accountability?

    It's why the intelligence community can spread scary FUD all day long -- because no one ever calls them on the fact that it's bullshit, and there's no accountability at all.
    Why just pick on the intelligence services on this issue?

    I'll grant you that the intel community can provide a lengthy list of recent examples, from CIA torturers being let off the hook through to the guy who wiped those incriminating torture videos, the CIA techs and maybe others who spied on the Senate intel committee, and Clapper's perjury of March 2013, but you also have such examples as the administration higher ups who got the US into that benighted Iraq war then proceeded to thoroughly bungle it in numerous different ways.

    Where was the accountability for them? Were they fired or even disciplined?

    The truth is there is no accountability in the US administration in general. At best you get a resignation; and often not even then.

    Or to put ir another way when was the last time Congress impeached, or tried to impeach, anyone in the US administration who wasn't a sitting president? Answer: 1876. (Source: wikipedia. Except for Clinton, all the others impeached since then have been judges.And even that 1876 example is an outlier.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 16 Feb 2015 @ 7:04am

      Re: Accountability? What Accountability?

      Why just pick on the intelligence services on this issue?

      Because to describe the ways everyone avoids accountability would be off topic and make this the longest TechDirt article in history.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 17 Feb 2015 @ 5:14pm

    Long Live The Constitution of America and Americans

    I vomit at these people wondering what makes them think they can call themselves Americans while they continue to put America in the sights of every adversary around the globe, putting American lives at risk daily unafraid of any consequences and immunity from accountability. It makes me shudder to think of a world without Americans, which seems to be exactly what they are attempting to create.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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