It's the end of the year, which means endless end-of-the-year lists, especially for TV shows. And I didn't watch TV this year. Seriously. I cut the cable cord in 2008. Yes, I am superior to you, thanks for asking.
Allowing CIA career employees or contractors to get away with torturing people free from legal accountability telegraphs to the rest of the world that the United States reserves unto itself the right to commit war crimes.
For the CIA officials involved in torture, one thing was clear from the very beginning: The only way they would be forgiven for what they did was if they could show it had saved lives. It was the heart of their rationale. It was vital to public acceptance. It was how they would avoid prosecution.
To trust a powerful and secretive intelligence agency may be a hard pill to swallow for anyone. In April, after a five-year investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the CIA misled the government on its secret detention and coercive interrogation program.
The minute I heard former CIA Director Michael Hayden refer to Feinstein as "emotional," I rolled my eyes. This is what men do to dismiss powerful women all over the world. Then I laughed -- because clearly for all his intelligence gathering experience, Michael Hayden sure misread Dianne Feinstein.
This level of dangerous blowback is exactly the harm Snowden blew the whistle on! But isn't it also what Senator Obama campaigned he would change, if elected to the presidency, before further damage could occur to our Constitutional rule of law?
The experience gave me the idea for a story: A national security reporter discovers that a subminiature electronic device is implanted in his head. He investigates, propelling him into a life-or-death struggle with the spy who'd bugged him.
The basic principle here is: Put someone in a comfortable chair with a cell phone and nothing else to do and they'll just start talking. Even the former head of the NSA will do this! He wasn't threatened with waterboarding.