Thiessen, a former Bush speechwriter and author of Courting Disaster, argues that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques stopped terrorist attacks; saved American lives; and provided our military, intelligence services, and law enforcement officials with vital and actionable intelligence on the enemy.
That is heresy in liberal circles, Old Media chief among them. New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer penned a scathing review of Courting Disaster, in which she accused Thiessen of trying to "rewrite the history of the CIA’s interrogation program." Thiessen responded in National Review, and demonstrated just how desperate the liberal media is to paint Bush-era policies in a negative light.
His thorough rebuttal is quite long, and I encourage you to read the whole thing just to get a better grasp of how some on the left twist facts, take quotes out of context, and throw up straw men in an effort to retroactively and erroneously remove the justifications for an effective, if controversial, policy.
Portions of Mayer's misinformation, Thiessen states, "really makes one wonder how much she read of the book she presumes to critique." Though I won't venture a guess, Mayer's total disconnect not only from the facts surrounding the CIA's interrogation program, but even the facts contained within Thiessen's defense of that program is truly astounding.
A thorough defense of CIA enhanced interrogations was impossible while those interrogations were taking place, as Thiessen notes both in his book and his most recent National Review piece.
The CIA interrogators and Justice Department officials who crafted the interrogation policies employed during the last administration were duty-bound to refrain from responding to the salacious accusations against them, as so much of their work was highly classified.
Their inability to defend themselves allowed liberals from Congress to the media to academia to spread misinformation regarding the interrogation program. Mayer was one of the foremost offenders in that regard. But her work, Thiessen notes,
is largely dependent on sources who were opposed to the president’s policy or were on the periphery of the CIA interrogation program. By depending on such sources, she got this story wrong. And if her account of the writing of a presidential speech was so defective, how can we trust her accounts of what supposedly happened in CIA black sites thousands of miles away?
Indeed, this is the reason why Mayer and others on the left are attacking my book: I have brought facts to the table, information that undermines the torture narrative they have made careers of spinning. For years, critics like Mayer could level any unfounded accusation they wanted against the CIA, confident that those who could challenge them were powerless to respond — because the answers were classified. But then Barack Obama declassified reams of documents revealing the secrets of the CIA program. He did enormous damage to our national security, but he also liberated those of us familiar with the intelligence on CIA interrogations to speak out. As a result, Mayer is no longer free to make baseless accusations without challenge or consequence.
No wonder she’s upset.