The Bush assministration is preventing Congress from exercising its oversight responsibilities in regards to CIA detainees, who we know have been routinely tortured.
The White House is maintaining extraordinary restrictions on information about the detention of high-level terror suspects, permitting only a small number of members of Congress to be briefed on how and where the prisoners are being held and interrogated, senior government officials say.
Some Democratic members of Congress say the restrictions are impeding effective oversight of the secret program, which is run by the Central Intelligence Agency and is believed to involve the detention of about three dozen senior Qaeda leaders at secret sites around the world.
By law, the White House is required to notify the House and Senate Intelligence Committees of all intelligence-gathering activities. But the White House has taken the stance that the secret detention program is too sensitive to be described to any members other than the top Republican and Democrat on each panel.
Since the detention program was established in 2002, the officials said, the C.I.A. detention effort has been classified as a “special access program,” a category that puts it off limits even to most of those with top secret security clearances. In general, such restrictions have been applied only to covert operations and ongoing espionage investigations, Congressional officials say.
To date, Congress has not opened any inquiry or held hearings on the C.I.A.’s detention program, despite indications that agency personnel were involved in abuses of some prisoners.
The restrictions also appear to have had the effect of limiting public discussion about the C.I.A.’s detention program. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month, Mr. Goss turned aside questions about the detention program on grounds that the C.I.A. had already answered them, through the briefings provided to the leaders of the intelligence panel.
In the Senate, [Sen. Pat] Roberts and his Republican majority have blocked an effort by [Sen. John D.] Rockefeller to open a formal inquiry into the C.I.A. detention and interrogation practices.
This approach to congressional oversight is of course part of the assministration’s torture ploicy. They own torture, once the war crimes trials begin they can hang for it.