Did CIA go rogue?
December 9th, 2014
08:19 PM ET

Did CIA go rogue?

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s use of torture that was released on Tuesday. This is an edited version of the transcript.

What stood out for to you as most significant?

I think the bombshell for me, the one key point, if you will, is that the CIA appears to have run this almost like a rogue operation, in the sense that it significantly underplayed the kind of techniques it was using. If you look at it, they were more brutal and more extensive than they reported to their superiors at the White House, to their superiors in the intelligence community, and to their overseers in Congress. And, to me, the biggest story here is that Congress was misled, the White House was misled, other senior administration officials appear to have been misled. If that's true, what you are portraying is a CIA that in some sense went rogue on this operation.

Senator John McCain commended his democratic colleague and her colleagues. This was a very political process, the Republicans have effectively withdrawn from a lot of this process. Is there a bigger downside to the upside of the transparency

I think McCain very effectively answered the specific question of the danger. Terrorists don't need excuses to go around plotting attacks on Americans. That's what they're doing full time. They've already committed themselves to acts of terrorism against the U.S. So, they don't need an excuse.

I think that the United States comes out of these kinds of events stronger. The United States looks like a stronger country when it admits that the deportation and internment of Japanese-Americans was a mistake. The United States came out stronger when it revealed in the 1970s that the CIA had engaged in a number of rogue operations, through the Church Committee. Very few other countries would. Putin's Russia is never going to do this.

The United States, I think, is admired. I was growing up in India when those Church Committee revelations were coming out. And I remember the general reaction was one of enormous admiration of a country that would expose its own problem, its flaws, hold itself to a high standard.

So, I think that this is the case where only the United States would do something this exhaustive and be...

This self-analytical...

Right. Introspective because it wants to hold itself to high standard, because it wants to tell its people what was going on. And most importantly, through that kind of introspection and self-criticism, you get better public policy. You get a better CIA. You get better and more effective methods. This is not just an exercise in moral philosophy, you've got to get this right, you've got to make sure you do this right. And the only way to do that is to accept the way you made the mistakes.

This is John McCain's finest hour. This is the kind of thing McCain does so well. He’s a conservative Republican. And yet on an issue of principle, he didn't mind taking the position he thought was in the national interest rather than his party's political interest.

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Topics: Terrorism

soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Truth in Advertising

    Your national symbol should be a big fat turkey, not the majestic bald eagle. Duh.

    December 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • little girl in line

      ~beep beep beep~
      Whatch out momy! She's backing up!

      December 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Reply
      • Username*Corey

        Must be your fat ass she's talking about. Spell much, lard ass?

        December 10, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
  2. Crockett

    Maybe time to water board Modi.

    December 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • Truth in Advertising

      Fat people hurt US more than Modi does. Let's throw old Twinkies at them till they stop hogging down all the food.

      December 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Reply
      • Chappel H

        Is Modi your boyfriend? Is he doing you in? LOL

        December 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
  3. Truth in Advertising

    If nothing is done to curb America's ongoing food and drug consumption epidemics, Idiocracy will reign as the majority of voters become obese and stupid.

    December 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  4. Little People

    It's time for US little people to,stand up to those big fat people and say What gives you the right to eat all the crappy food.

    December 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  5. chri§§y

    Lmao @ philip...why do you bother with all these dumb name? Even those with half a brain knows YOUR posts anyway. And you sure do have a fat fetish dont you? And just how many pounds do you think a drunk puts on? Go get on that scale, then you'll know for certain!

    December 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  6. Chappel H

    Time to b utte board Modi. It is open game now.

    December 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  7. Observer

    Pig headed trolls and pig headed regulars like Philip and chrissy.
    God help us all.

    December 10, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Reply
    • Username*Corey

      Yeah, because reading about one person's irrational hatred of India is infinitely better. Do you think posting under 800 different silly names fools anyone?!?

      December 10, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  8. rupert

    No

    December 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  9. banasy

    Rupert stop trolling.

    December 13, 2014 at 11:50 am | Reply
  10. alovellb

    Lawwrence Wright in The Looming Tower also analyses the refusal of the CIA to believe warnings about Osama Bin Laden from Daniel Coleman, Ali Soufan and John O´Neill, who left the FBI and was working in the towers on security on 9-11. Maybe the CIA felt they had to overextend to be sure to avoid attention to their negligence in their analysis of the evidence which could have prevented 9-11.

    December 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Reply
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