Calling the ACLU push to release the photographs “prurient” and “reprehensible,” Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, tells ABC News that the Obama administration should have taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
“They should have fought it all the way; if they lost, they lost,” said Lowenthal, who retired from the Agency in 2005. “There’s nothing to be gained from it. There’s no substantive reason why those photos have to be released.”
Lowenthal said the president’s moves in the last week have left many in the CIA dispirited, based on “the undercurrent I’ve been getting from colleagues still in the building, or colleagues who have left not that long ago.”
“We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they’ve been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong,” Lowenthal says. “They don’t believe they have that cover anymore.” Releasing the photographs “will make it much worse,” he said.
The men and women serving in the CIA will be very intent on avoiding any risk from here on. That does not mean just on interrogation. That means on everything they do. They will be looking over their shoulder, more afraid of their own government than of the enemies of America.
When the next terror attack hits the US, remember this moment.
What makes it worse is that this chain of events was set in motion for, I am convinced, purely political reasons. Obama was beginning to take real heat on his insane spending, mad tax policies and increasingly authoritarian command economy moves. Since the White House engineered this little blast from the past and orchestrated their lapdog bloggers and in the tank media, a diversion has been created.
But this will cost America a lot in the long run.