Mark M. Lowenthal
National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear
Good evening, podcast listeners! We have a truly excellent episode for you today, as we welcome to the show two expert guests ready to discuss the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent report on the CIA’s use of torture.
First, we speak with Mark M. Lowenthal, president and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy and former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis & Production from 2002 to 2005, about the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report. He points out that political machinations were very much at play in the writing and release of the Committee’s report, and notes that many members of Congress had been briefed on the CIA’s activities. He notes that by not talking to many of the people involved, and by relying so extensively on documents as evidence, the report’s objectivity has been called into question.
He plays down the possibility of prosecution of those involved, pointing out the Administration’s careful avoidance of using the word torture, but notes that many of the people named in the report will be very careful about traveling outside of the United States for fear of extraterritorial indictment. He also reminds us that it’s difficult to recapture the atmosphere of fear that gripped the U.S. intelligence community in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Then, CEO and Editor of Foreign Policy David Rothkopf joins us to place the Senate report in the broader context of American politics and governance today. He points out that, despite the questions raised regarding the report’s methodology, many of the facts are not in dispute, namely “that the United States tortured people, that it did so in contravention of international law and American values [and] that the CIA was misleading about what was going on and how effective it was.”
He says that our decision to contravene international conventions against torture was a defeat for the United States of America and a betrayal of American values. He also looks at the American response to terrorism under President Bush, arguing that Bush grew while in office. He contrasts this with President Obama, who in his estimation has not made similar strides thus far.