On the CIA torture report

Every major news outlet is covering the release of a CIA report on torture practices which have been conducted since 9/11. 

We all know that the CIA unfortunately engages in torture. That is sad, but not the important part of this release. The important part of this release is that it will detail that the CIA has been, “repeatedly lying to Congress, the White House and the public.” That quote is from the NBC article covering the story. 

{mosads}More interesting is the fact that this investigation was led by Democrats and the release of the report has been opposed by Republicans. Establishment Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio (r_Fla.) have criticized the release as dangerous to our military efforts, a bolster to ISIS, and a political move. 

I agree that the Democrats’ release of this CIA torture report is a political move, but that is minimally concerning. When someone speaks the truth for a political reason it may be the case that their motivations are wrong and it doesn’t lend much credibility to the speaker, but the truth they have spoken still stands on its on merit. 

With the Jonathan Gruber hearing going on it is plausible that this CIA story may be quickly swept under the rug, so take note before the information is long gone because this is important. The Central Intelligence Agency coordinates some of the most important information justifying our military and security policies, including both foreign and domestic policy. 

If the CIA is lying about how they obtained information then it stands to reason that they may be lying about the content of the information. Even if they are not lying about the content of the information they received from the people they investigated, if the investigation was conducted improperly then we still have important questions. 

The partisan aspect is interesting because Republicans are traditionally in favor of transparency. Perhaps it stems from free market principals in which free information leads to optimal outcomes, perhaps it stems from the social conservative Judeo-Christian ethic which values honesty as a moral principal, or perhaps it is some combination. 

Democrats, on the other hand, are traditionally inclined to favor censorship and otherwise disregard the need for transparency. Gruber and the passage of Obamacare are another great example of the disregard to the free flow of information, in addition to Democratic support of censorship and hate speech legislation, and the relative unimportance of free information in a Keynesian top-down economy. 

On issues of security, foreign policy, and military action, Republicans seem to retreat from their marginal advantage in support of transparency. Consistent with hawkish opposition to the actions of Snowden and Manning, establishment Republicans are now leading the charge to silence critical revelations on one of our nation’s most secretive and powerful agencies. 

The GOP’s support of the CIA needs to change. The GOP has long been criticized as overzealous in support of constant war and an excessive military budget. With recent occurrences in in Ferguson and Garner in New York, in addition to slightly older issues concerning NSA overreach, the GOP has also been criticized more recently for enabling an overbearing domestic security state. 

Republicans need to cease their ridiculous support for the Chief Intelligence Agency. They should come out in favor of transparency, lack of corruption, minimal waste, and minimal size within the CIA as seem to support for every other department or agency unrelated to security and military activity. 

If Americans are going to make correct decisions about the issues we care about and the votes we cast then they need to be informed as much as possible. Centralized power in a secretive agency is the ideal inhibition to such informed decision-making. 

Fortunately, there does seem to be some hope for this change. Republicans have begun to turn against the NSA. A few Republicans have even stood up to say that what happened to Garner in New York is wrong. If Republicans can oppose these issues, then maybe one day down the road we will see real reform in the attitude of the GOP regarding broader police, security, defense, and intelligence policies. 

Vandivier is a conservative writer interested in public policy. He serves as the director of Research for surgeRED, a Republican consultancy. He may be reached by email at john@surgered.com.

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