The CIA is worried that Obama won't get their backs if things go wrong.
“I was with a group of intelligence officers today,” Roger Cressey, a counterterrorism official in the Clinton White House, said on MSNBC Thursday night, “and I think the most important thing for the president to say is, ‘We’ve got your back.’ That ‘we want you to take risks — risks that conform with our law and our values as a country.’
“What the intelligence community is afraid of more than anything is the game of ‘Gotcha,’” Cressey said. “Which is, if they make a mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, the White House doesn’t support them, they’re left out to dry, and Congress crushes them. And then you get into that risk-averse mentality, which we saw for awhile. So that is what they want. They want support, so they know that the president is going to be behind them. But also that he’s going to lead them.”
I agree with Digby on this one.
On torture, there can be no more blurring of definitions. There is plenty of scholarship that shows that there are better ways of obtaining reliable intelligence. Torture is not only immoral, it's lazy and counterproductive --- and is likely used most often out of some misplaced notion that being known to be brutal and ruthless is helpful to America's reputation.
That is wrong. The CIA needs to know up front that Obama will not have their back if they engage in torture --- and that the torture legal framework under Bush is no longer operative in any way. There really is no other choice on this and I expect that he will do it. He knows very well that his foreign policy will be in complete shambles the minute it is leaked --- and it will be --- that the Obama administration has sanctioned torture, either through commission or omission. His great opportunity across the world to prove that America has changed will be lost.