Editor’s Note – As expected, evidence that Diane Feinstein and others in Congress like Nancy Pelosi that they were indeed briefed and signed off on interrogations for years despite blatant denials. Subsequently we know that the enhanced techniques were last used in December of 2007, long before Obama banned them in 2009.
It is just more and more stunning that Feinstein and the Democrats not only released the scathing report, one that now jeopardizes our future safety and security, they lied about it and twisted the facts. Why? Because they had a political vendetta to fulfill.
Once again, does anyone realize that videos and taped audio have been in existence for many years?
CIA Docs Obtained by JW in 2010 Show Congress Approved of Enhanced Interrogation
As some lawmakers purport to be stunned over the new CIA “torture report” the fact is Congress knew for years that enhanced interrogation techniques were being used on terrorists and in fact dozens of members were repeatedly briefed on the subject, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Back in 2010 Judicial Watch obtained government documents—once marked “Top Secret”—that reveal between 2001 and 2007, the CIA briefed at least 68 members of Congress on its interrogation program. This included so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
The dates of all congressional briefings and, in some cases, the members of Congress in attendance as well as the specific subjects discussed are included in the files. Pelosi, who has publicly denied she was briefed by the CIA on the use of these techniques, is specifically referenced in a briefing that took place on April 24, 2002, regarding the “ongoing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah.”
After being the subject of enhanced interrogation techniques, Zubaydah identified Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) as the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans. Before Zubaydah identified KSM, currently held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, the 9/11 mastermind didn’t even appear in the intelligence community’s file of key Al Qaeda operatives or associates.
KSM, in turn, provided valuable intel about another Al Qaeda jihadist, Majid Khan, who, in turn, identified a terrorist named Zubair who was subsequently captured. Zubair later provided information that led to the arrest of Al Qaeda’s South Asia leader.
These jihadists didn’t exactly provide this valuable information willingly over tea and biscuits. The CIA held meetings with legislators as it pursued broader authority for its interrogation program, which did not begin until the agency got legal guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ). A separate CIA report obtained by JW details the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques to thwart Al Qaeda operations in the United States and overseas.
Nevertheless, President Obama banned the use of enhanced interrogation techniques during his first week in office in January 2009 and withheld information detailing the program’s successes. His allies in Congress did an about-face, pretending to be shocked and in the dark about the interrogation program they had been briefed about—and apparently endorsed—so many times.
When Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein proudly released the torture report this week, she said the document “examines the CIA’s secret overseas detention of at least 119 individuals and the use of coercive interrogation techniques—in some cases amounting to torture.”
The veteran California senator also proclaimed that the enhanced interrogation techniques, which she compares to those used by torturous regimes during the Cold War, were not effective and that the CIA provided “extensive inaccurate information” about the program to policymakers. Furthermore, the CIA program was “far more brutal” than the agency represented to Congress, according to Feinstein.
CIA Director John Brennan defends the interrogation techniques and assures the agency obtained useful information as a result of the program, including intelligence that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. Interrogations of detainees produced intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives, according to a statement issued by the CIA this week.
“The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” the statement says, adding that the report’s characterization of how the CIA briefed Congress on the program is inaccurate. “While we made mistakes, the record does not support the Study’s inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program. Moreover, the process undertaken by the Committee when investigating the program provided an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.”
Editor’s Note – Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced her bill on gun control and it goes well beyond the original Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, better known as The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), or Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. She held an elaborate and highly attended press conference:
On one side were pegboard panels mounted with various assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons — including a Bushmaster similar to the one used in last month’s Newtown school massacre.
Behind the stage stood police officers supporting a renewed ban on such firepower. One by one, victims of gun violence told their brief stories and expressed support for a new federal ban being proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on some assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.
The actual text of the new bill can be read in its entirety here. The bill is set to have exemptions of course but goes far beyond previous measures:
Not everyone will have to abide by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun control bill. If the proposed legislation becomes law, government officials and others will be exempt.
“Mrs. Feinstein’s measure would exempt more than 2,200 types of hunting and sporting rifles; guns manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and weapons used by government officials, law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel,” the Washington Times reports.
The Huffington Post confirms these exemptions, and adds that guns owned prior to the legislation becoming law will be permissible, too. “[T]he bill includes a number of exemptions: It exempts more than 2,200 hunting and sporting weapons; any gun manually operated by a bolt, pump, lever or slide action; any weapons used by government officials and law enforcement; and any weapons legally owned as of the date of the bill’s enactment.” (Read more at the Weekly Standard.)
Its clear to see that this bill is the just the beginning of her and the left’s real motives to totally disarm citizens over time. Her words were:
“The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time,” Feinstein said. “Therefore, there is no sunset on this bill.” (More here.)
In response of course, the NRA released their response:
In a statement on Thursday, the NRA said that Feinstein “has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades.”
“The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach,” the organization added. (Read more here at CNN.)
A proposed ban on sales of assault weapons would be defeated in the U.S. Senate today unless some members changed their current views, based on a Bloomberg review of recent lawmaker statements and interviews.
At least six of the 55 senators who caucus with Democrats have recently expressed skepticism or outright opposition to a ban, the review found. That means Democrats wouldn’t have a simple 51-vote majority to pass the measure, let alone the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster to bring it to a floor vote.
Of course this press conference brought back many memories of her previous news conferences about gun control where she displayed her amazing lack of understanding gun safety when handling weapons. A quick Google image search produced many instances where she mishandled weapons, all from a woman who has a concealed carry permit, and carries a fire arm.
The response to the introduction of the bill was quick and came from all over the map but here is good summary of that reaction to Feinstein’s ‘overreaction’:
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Gun Bill: Disingenuous Overreaction
The reaction to California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s introduction of her bill “The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” on Thursday was almost immediate. The director of public relations for the National Rifle Association (NRA), Andrew Arulanandam, stated:
Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades. It’s disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals….
The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach.
In her introduction of the bill on Thursday, Feinstein noted that she and her staff had been working on it for more than a year, waiting for the best time to offer it. The Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gave her that opportunity:
The bill introduced today is the product of more than a year of work, with input from across the country. Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth waging.
We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style assaults weapons with the growing threat to lives across America. If 20 dead children in Newtown wasn’t a wake-up call that these weapons of war don’t belong on our streets, I don’t know what is.
She outlined the principal goals for her bill: It would prohibit “the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons.” In addition, her bill would ban “large-capacity magazines … that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”
In addition, any transfer such assault weapons would require a background check first, even for private face-to-face sales, and such weapons would be required to be “stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from ‘prohibited’ persons.”
Finally, anyone owning a now-banned high capacity magazine would be prohibited, under federal law, from selling it or giving it away to anyone else.
She said that her bill would reduce greatly the mass shootings that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado and elsewhere:
I believe this bill is a big step toward ending the mass shootings that have devastated families across the country — from Newtown to Aurora, from Tucson to Virginia Tech, from Columbine to Oak Creek.
And then she took a swing at the makers of such weapons:
It’s time for Americans to stand up and tell the gun manufacturers that the lives of our children are more important than their profits and get these dangerous weapons out of our schools, our workplaces, our malls and our theaters. It’s time to take action, and we’ll get it done, no matter how long it takes.
Cosponsors of her bill predictably included anti-gunners such as Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
Once enacted, her bill would be just a first step toward total confiscation of guns from the American people. She admitted: “The purpose [of my bill] is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time … [and would be] a significant first step as part of a comprehensive program [of gun confiscation].”
All semiautomatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature: pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; barrel shroud; or threaded barrel.
All semiautomatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature: threaded barrel; second pistol grip; barrel shroud; capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.
All semiautomatic rifles and handguns that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
All semiautomatic shotguns that have a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
All ammunition feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
Her bill would also require:
a background check on all sales or transfers of a grandfathered assault weapon.
This background check can be run through the FBI or, if a state chooses, initiated with a state agency, as with the existing background check system.
It would prohibit:
the sale or transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices lawfully possessed on the date of enactment of the bill.
It would impose:
a safe storage requirement for grandfathered firearms, to keep them away from prohibited persons.
And it would require that:
assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices manufactured after the date of the bill’s enactment be engraved with the serial number and date of manufacture of the weapon.
The list of the more than 150 firearms prohibited in her bill includes well-known names such as Rock River Arms, Norinco, Armalite, Beretta, Bushmaster, Remington, Sig-Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Thompson.
In reviewing this list with Bob Joly, a certified NRA instructor in Peyton, Colorado, Joly said, “She’s banning everything. These are just military ‘lookalikes’ but she doesn’t like the way they look and so she wants to get rid of them. We’ll all be automatic lawbreakers if this thing passes.”
The chances of Feinstein’s bill becoming law are between slim and none. House leaders won’t even consider the bill until it, or something like it, passes the Senate. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has acknowledged that Feinstein’s bill “could not pass the Senate,” although he has agreed to bring some milder legislation to the floor.
Every mass shooting has three elements: the killer, the weapon and the cultural climate. As soon as the shooting stops, partisans immediately pick their preferred root cause with corresponding pet panacea. Names are hurled, scapegoats paraded, prejudices vented. The argument goes nowhere.
I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn’t work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study commissioned by the Justice Department.) The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.
Feinstein’s law, for example, would exempt 900 weapons. And that’s the least of the loopholes. Even the guns that are banned can be made legal with simple, minor modifications.
Most fatal, however, is the grandfathering of existing weapons and magazines. That’s one of the reasons the ’94 law failed. At the time, there were 1.5 million assault weapons in circulation and 25 million large-capacity (i.e., more than 10 bullets) magazines. A reservoir that immense can take 100 years to draw down.
(2) The Killer
Monsters shall always be with us, but in earlier days they did not roam free. As a psychiatrist in Massachusetts in the 1970s, I committed people — often right out of the emergency room — as a danger to themselves or to others. I never did so lightly, but I labored under none of the crushing bureaucratic and legal constraints that make involuntary commitment infinitely more difficult today.
Why do you think we have so many homeless? Destitution? Poverty has declined since the 1950s. The majority of those sleeping on grates are mentally ill. In the name of civil liberties, we let them die with their rights on.
A tiny percentage of the mentally ill become mass killers. Just about everyone around Tucson shooter Jared Loughner sensed he was mentally ill and dangerous. But in effect, he had to kill before he could be put away — and (forcibly) treated.
Random mass killings were three times more common in the 2000s than in the 1980s, when gun laws were actually weaker. Yet a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate.
(3) The Culture
We live in an entertainment culture soaked in graphic, often sadistic, violence. Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence. And we profess shock when a small cadre of unstable, deeply deranged, dangerously isolated young men go out and enact the over learned narrative.
If we’re serious about curtailing future Columbines and Newtowns, everything — guns, commitment, culture — must be on the table. It’s not hard for President Obama to call out the NRA. But will he call out the ACLU? And will he call out his Hollywood friends?
The irony is that over the last 30 years, the U.S. homicide rate has declined by 50 percent. Gun murders as well. We’re living not through an epidemic of gun violence but through a historic decline.
Except for these unfathomable mass murders. But these are infinitely more difficult to prevent. While law deters the rational, it has far less effect on the psychotic. The best we can do is to try to detain them, disarm them and discourage “entertainment” that can intensify already murderous impulses.
But there’s a cost. Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.
That’s a lot of impingement, a lot of amendments. But there’s no free lunch. Increasing public safety almost always means restricting liberties.