Smoke and Mirrors, II


It gets better (or worse). A former intelligence professional who has participated in congressional briefings tells TPMmuckraker that the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” or EITs — which appears throughout those CIA documents about who in Congress was briefed starting in 2002 about which aspects of the Bush torture program — didn’t come in to use until later.*

It’s a crucial point, our Zack Roth reports:

That’s not just an issue of semantics. The former intel professional said that by using the term in the recently compiled document, the CIA was being “disingenuous,” trying to make it appear that the use of such techniques was part of a “formal and mechanical program.” In fact, said the former intel pro, it wasn’t until 2006 that — amid growing concerns about the program among some in the Bush administration — the EIT program was formalized, and the “enhanced interrogation techniques” were properly defined and given a name.

Panetta has offered to make available to Congress the underlying memos on which the documents he released were based. Obviously, we need to see those. But there’s a whole lot more going on here. Nancy Pelosi is a collateral victim (although probably not an innocent one) of the CIA’s effort to cover its aft, an effort that commenced years ago, well before Bush left office.

*Correction: Zack has done some more digging, and it appears the CIA commenced the use of the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” in 2004, not in 2006, as we originally reported. That’s still after the earliest references in the memo to briefings on EITs in 2002, but it’s important to be precise in these matters. We regret the error.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.