The Charlotte Observer, March 3, 2016
He tried to bury reports on CIA torture, won’t hold hearings
It hurts America’s security and reputation
From Larry Wilkerson, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is the Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He is a Republican.
As he runs for re-election, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is airing $300,000 in television ads that tout his record as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The truth, however, is that Burr’s handling of this key job has done our nation and North Carolinians a huge disservice.
The biggest challenge that confronted Burr as he took the helm of Intelligence in January 2015 was to come to grips with President George W. Bush’s torture program.
The committee’s six-year investigation had just revealed grim details of lawlessness and barbarism in the Central Intelligence Agency’s enhanced interrogation program. In every way, Burr has shown himself to be the ultimate protector of the criminals at the CIA, not their overseer.
His first act as chairman was an attempt to recall the committee’s 6,900-page “torture report” from the White House and executive agencies. He also tried to bury the Panetta Review, a still-secret internal CIA assessment of the torture program that, according to Intelligence members who have read it, is a “smoking gun” bolstering the negative conclusions of the committee’s own report.
And Burr refuses even to hold hearings on CIA misconduct like “rectal feeding,” sexual abuse and the torturing to death of detainees in its custody.
As a result, some presidential candidates now vie over who will order the harshest techniques. One promises more waterboarding, while another says he would go even further.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article63773397.html#storylink=cpy