You have to hand it to those hypocritical Republicans. They are once again controlling this debate because they and their little media enablers keep changing the subject from torture to whether torture is efficient.
Is that really the debate we want to be having in the United States of America? I'm sure there are still are some immoral techniques we haven't used yet. Is it okay to start, on the off chance that they work?
Republicans ignited a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by revealing some of what they had been told at a closed-door Intelligence Committee hearing on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.
The Republicans who gave on-the-record interviews were Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Rep. John Kline.
Democrats immediately blasted the GOP lawmakers for publicly discussing classified information, while Republicans said Democrats are trying to hide the truth that enhanced interrogation of detainees is effective.
GOP members on the Intelligence Committee on Thursday told The Hill in on-the-record interviews that they were informed that the controversial methods have led to information that prevented terrorist attacks.
[...] “I am absolutely shocked that members of the Intelligence committee who attended a closed-door hearing … then walked out that hearing — early, by the way — and characterized anything that happened in that hearing,” said Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “My understanding is that’s a violation of the rules. It may be more than that.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) said, “Members on both sides need to watch what they say.”
Both Schakowsky and Reyes accused GOP members of playing politics with national security.
“I think they are playing a very dangerous game when it comes to the discussion of matters that were sensitive enough to be part of a closed hearing,” Schakowsky said.
This isn't the first time Hoekstra has done this, either. From ABC News in 2007:
For the second time in as many weeks, a senior House Republican may have divulged classified information in the media.
In an opinion article published in the New York Post Thursday, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., reported the top-secret budget for human spying had decreased -- the type of detail normally kept under wraps for national security reasons.
"The 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill cut human-intelligence programs," Hoekstra wrote in the piece, in which he also criticized "leaks to the news media."
Formerly the chairman of the intelligence committee, Hoekstra is now its highest ranking Republican. In its recent budget authorizations, that committee kept from public view all figures and most discussion of spending on such classified items as human spying. Hoekstra's apparent slip was first noted on the liberal Web site, Raw Story.
"If Mr. Hoekstra wants to break ranks and disclose that information, that's fine with me," said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert who has long pushed to declassify overall spending on intelligence. "But it is the sort of thing he has harshly criticized in the past."
Indeed, Hoekstra's penchant for openness appears to be selective. He has aggressively attacked unnamed opponents guilty of such leaking, accusing them of "recklessly and illegally" disclosing secrets "for political or other motives" in reports published by his committee.
He's even exacted punishment for suspected transgressions. Last October, Hoekstra stripped the credentials of a Democratic committee aide he believed may have leaked a then-classified document to The New York Times. A month later, he quietly reinstated the aide's access.
What do we say, boys and girls? "It's okay if you're a Republican!"
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