CIA Interrogation Contractors Fired
We have known for awhile now that the intelligence community spends up to 70 percent of its budget on contractors. That includes the firms that supply light bulbs, the office chairs and such.
It also includes technology vendors, along with legions of contract analysts, who have been hired to, among other things, examine "open source" content on the Web and other material from around the world.
Now comes another story to remind us how integral contractors have become to the nation's security infrastructure.
"Weeks after President Obama took office, the Central Intelligence Agency extended its contract with a firm run by two psychologists who helped introduce waterboarding and other harsh methods to the agency's interrogation techniques, according to a news report.
"Two months later, CIA Director Leon Panetta fired Mitchell, Jessen & Associates and all other contractors that aided the CIA in its interrogations of alleged terrorists, the New Yorker reported this weekend."
That was from our colleague Walter Pincus. It's a strange experience reading a story with such creepy implications. It's worth keeping track of these kinds of arrangements, both from a contracting perspective, and from the larger perspective of what limits our country will observe in our war on terror.
Are contractors used in these kinds of situations to fuzz out lines of responsibility and accountability?
In the New Yorker, Panetta said he "'didn't support these methods that were used, or the legal justification for why they did it. He also said he supported at one time the creation of a 'truth commission' to look into the subject. But after Obama said in late April that he did not want to look as if he was going after either former president George W. Bush or former vice president Richard B. Cheney, Panetta said, 'everyone kind of backed away from it.'"
Does that mean the president is backing away from getting to the bottom of it because of political concerns? If so, is that the right way to go?
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