What the CIA Torture Report Means for Law Enforcement

New documents exposing CIA “torture” tactics have been interpreted very differently by different people depending on their political agenda. But one thing is for sure: the CIA agents responsible for the most abhorrent of the alleged actions, whether they constitute criminal activity or not, were not being very well-supervised or held accountable. CIA director John Brennan admitted as much:

“Over the years, internal agency reviews, including numerous investigations by our Office of the Inspector General, found fault in CIA’s running of the program,” he said. “We have acknowledged many of these mistakes in our response to the study last year and I will touch on some of them today… in a limited number of instances, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent, and rightly should be repudiated by all. And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes. It is vitally important to recognize, however, that the overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at CIA carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal and policy guidance they were provided. They did what they were asked to do…”

So, the rogue officers were not held accountable by the CIA, and the CIA was not held accountable by anyone else. In other words, law enforcement was free to do pretty much whatever each officer thought was right. With impunity.

And is that much different than the situation with other law enforcement officers? Not really. Whether or not you agree with what is being done by police or the CIA, you have to admit that there are almost no measures in place to correct gross misbehavior should it occur:

From out of control local cops in Ferguson and New York City, to an out of control global (secret) police force, if you want to call the CIA that, running roughshod over legal precedents and behavioral norms. Over rules that were put in place with the foreknowledge that, without them, torture and murder would inevitably become commonplace.

Of course, like just about everything these days, the issue has been politicized. The same people who portray themselves as the Avengers of constitutional rights of poor gun shoppers forced to submit to 2-minute background checks think the CIA should take a mulligan for questioning people for weeks on end while they were chained naked in a cell having their heads dunked under water.

This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. It’s an across the board lack of accountability that needs to be remedied. Law enforcement should not have a political leaning. It is supposed to be blind and fair. And it is not. It’s no use arguing about that. When the citizens get sucked into thinking this is just a polarized partisan issue, we merely stall implementation of necessary correctives.