Neoconservative Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol on Sunday faced an entire panel of pundits who rejected his defense of the CIA’s torture program, and the agency’s effort to cover it up.
During a panel discussion on ABC’s This Week, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren said that Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) should be calling for a criminal investigation of the CIA after the agency allegedly searched Senate computers — and removed documents — to undermine an investigation of a controversial interrogation program that included techniques like waterboarding.
“I will defend the intelligence community against a bunch of senators and their staff,” Kristol insisted. “And I will defend the interrogation program!”
“First of all, Bill, it is not an interrogation program, it’s torture,” The Nation Editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel explained. “Second of all, Sen. Feinstein has been a great defender of the intelligence community. She is now saying, without effective oversight, secret government is not justified in a democracy.”
“There should have been prosecution,” Vanden Heuvel added. “There should have been accountability. We now have two administrations or more implicated in this. President Obama should have prosecuted, held accountable. What we now need… is a new Church Committee.”
“Eric Holder, President Obama’s Attorney General, did a criminal investigation!” Kristol shot back. “In my view, a disgraceful investigation looking backwards at CIA officials who were doing their jobs. He found nothing illegal.”
“Either we’re going to be transparent or not,” Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson told Kristol. “When we talk about the CIA, regardless of who is in the [CIA director's] office, whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican, the fact is they will remain there after the president is gone.”
“You have to deal with the persistence of a shadow government established by a spy agency,” he pointed out.
“This is what happens when we have culture where we argued that the ends justify the means,” former George W. Bush aide Mathew Dowd observed. “When we have this whole culture that basically says we can do what ever it takes so that we don’t have terrorism, to preserve security. These kinds of things happen when you have a culture that the ends justify the means.”
Watch the video below from ABC’s This Week, broadcast March 16, 2014.