Sunset News: Congress Approved CIA Interrogations

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Congress Approved CIA Interrogations

Blair: Congress Approved CIA Interrogations

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 12:07 PM

By: David A. Patten Article Font Size

Before members of Congress rail at the CIA’s coercive interrogation of terrorists, they might want to blame those who authorized the measures in the first place: themselves.

Yes, members of Congress approved the interrogation methods many of them now decry as torture.

That revelation comes from an article posted Wednesday on by senior writer Stephen F. Hayes, who reveals that Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama’s national intelligence director, circulated a letter within the intelligence community last week that could prove embarrassing to both Democrats and the Obama administration.

Blair’s letter reportedly states that members of Congress repeatedly signed off on enhanced interrogation methods such as waterboarding.

“From 2002 through 2006 when the use of these techniques ended,” Blair wrote, “the leadership of the CIA repeatedly reported their activities both to Executive Branch policymakers and to members of Congress, and received permission to continue to use the techniques."

Blair’s letter was distributed April 16, the same day the president released portions of newly declassified internal memos describing in detail how the interrogations were to be performed.

Obama has been widely criticized by former Vice President Dick Cheney and others for holding back information that shows how successful the enhanced interrogations were in disrupting al-Qaida operations, including attacks against U.S. citizens.

Blair’s letter also stated that coercive interrogation provided “high-value information” and contributed to a better understanding of al-Qaida. An abridged version of Blair’s statement was released to the public, but it did not refer to the program’s success or the authorization from Congress.


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