'Very Sober,' Not 'Political': Halperin and Peters Defend Feinstein CIA Report

Who were those guys on Morning Joe today—two Feinstein staffers? Nope, they were Mark Halperin and Jeremy Peters, making like Dem aides in defending the report on the CIA that Dem Senator Dianne Feinstein released yesterday.

Halperin, head of Bloomberg Politics, had the chutzpah to claim that the report was not "political."  Peters of the New York Times then chimed in to say that in releasing the report, the Senate conducted itself in a "very sober" way.

Shall we count some of the ways the report was political—and sober as Miley Cyrus on New Year's Eve?  

  • It was released just as Feinstein was about to be forced to hand over her committee-chair gavel after the Dems lost the majority last month.  

  • It was released on the same day as Jon Gruber's testimony, thus assuring that coverage of "I'm with stupid" would be buried.  

  • The drafters of the report failed to interview any of the CIA officers accused of misconduct.  

  • CIA Director Michael Hayden, appearing earlier in the program, said Feinstein had been fully briefed on all the details in the report at least seven years ago.

  • Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, also appearing earlier, said that rather than being fair-minded, the report had a "prosecutorial" tone, always seeking the "worst construction" of the CIA's actions.

Note: give Mika Brzezinski credit for her generally balanced handling of the matter this morning.  Thus for example, in asking Halperin about the report, she said: "you certainly could see it as politically motivated, could you not?"

MARK HALPERIN: It's ironic that John you would you use the term cherry-picked to describe how the report was done, because the defense by him and others including General Hayden is also cherry picked. The report is flawed in some ways. The behavior of people at a time post-9/11, in human terms and national security terms, somewhat understandable. But they sacrificed America's values in order to try to deal with a crisis situation. I don't think it's political. Unfortunately in our climate it's become seen in some ways as political. But it's not. It's history that needs to be told. 

BRZEZINSKI: And the argument as to whether or not it needs to be told now is a fair question. Having said that it is public record.  Jeremy Peters, what are we hearing from both sides on Capitol Hill? 

JEREMY PETERS: Mark hit on the key point here, which is this is about history, this is about how we will remember one of the ugliest and messiest episodes in American warfare. And so that has stirred up all of this passion from people who supported these techniques and people who don't. And I think what you've seen on Capitol Hill is congress exercising its oversight role in a very sober and heavy way.

 

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