Obamas vs. Constitution: Chief of Staff McDonough Sent To Keep Senate Report on CIA Torture Secret
November 1, 2014 • 9:30AM

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), plans to release the 480-page executive summary of the SSCI Report on Torture in November right after the election, reported Huffington Post blogger Ali Watkins on October 31st. But Obama's White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough has been personally assigned to stop the release of damaging information in the SSCI's 6,300-page torture report, specifically to squelch the summary.

The urgency of the issue is intensified by the possibility that the Republicans might win control of the Senate, which would mean that Feinstein would no longer chair the Senate Intelligence Committee. There is also a danger that Senator Mark Udall may lose his bid for re-election.

One of the issues at the center of the constitutional battle between the White House and CIA on one side, and the United States Senate on the other, is a secret document called the Panetta Review, an investigation of the CIA's role in torture commissioned by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, himself, to shadow the report that the CIA was making about its own illegal torture activities. In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the document released, but this has been denied by the Justice Department, reported Watkins today.

The Panetta Review is described by some as a smoking gun, and Watkins reports that "senators contend it backs up damning conclusions in their [the Senate's] still classified report" on the CIA's enhanced interrogation operations that were uncovered during the Bush-Cheney regime and the Iraq War. "Senate investigators uncovered the internal CIA documents in their years-long probe, and the agency was so concerned that it alleged the investigators had broken the law in obtaining the review."

The existence of the Review first got wide covered in March, 2014, when Sen. Feinstein spoke on the Senate Floor and accused the CIA of spying on the Senate by hacking its staff computers. So intense has been the CIA opposition to the report that the Agency actually filed a criminal complaint against Senate staffers, accusing them of obtaining the Panetta Review illegally. But when the Senate filed a complaint against the CIA for hacking the Senate computers—a gross violation of the Constitutional separation of powers—the Justice Department, then headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, refused to investigate either complaint.

Now the White House is again in a frenzy to block the November release, which Obama has repeatedly kept hidden from the public—in moves that are parallel to Nerobama's refusal to release the 28-pages of a Joint Congressional Report that are on Saudi Arabia's role in the 911 terrorist attacks.

About two weeks ago, over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, McDonough, who is described as a close buddy of CIA Director John Brennan (who admitted to the CIA spying on the Senate staff by hacking their computers), paid a visit directly to Feinstein's home in California to discuss the report, wrote the New York Times on Oct. 29th, in a major article on Obama's White House inner circle vs. the Senate, the Secretary of State, and the Defense Secretary. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the redacting of the report. Reports in numerous publications — the Guardian, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post and Russia Today — note that McDonough's role shows how besieged the White House is, with Obama's disapproval poll ratings reaching records. McDonough's involvement may indicate how monumental the tug-of-war between the Senate committee and the CIA has become during the investigation. The committee has alleged that the CIA has spied on its staff, reported Russia Today, Oct. 22nd.

This is the second time that Obama has used his Chief of Staff to threaten a senior government official responsible for intelligence oversight. Previously, it was thug Rahm Emanuel. On Oct. 8, the investigative website, Intercept, published an excerpt from Leon Panetta's book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leaders in War and Peace, which detailed how he was assaulted by profanities by then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Panetta writes: "I was summoned down to a meeting in the Situation Room, where I was told that I would have to explain discussions with the Senate to cooperate with their investigation of torture in 2009. It did not take long to get ugly. 'The president wants to know who the f**k authorized this release to the committees,' Rahm said, slamming his hand down on the table. 'I have a president which his hair on fire, and I want to know what the f**k you did to f**k this up so bad."'

In early April 2014, the LaRouche Political Action Committee took a forceful message to the U.S. Capitol, with a wraparound ad in the Washington Times, a paper which hits every Congressional office as well as local citizens. Illustrating the text, which calls for Obama's removal from office for this and other impeachable offenses, was the image of Barack Obama embedded in a thermonuclear mushroom cloud—the future which the world faces unless Obama is immediately removed. The title of the ad was "Unless President Obama Is Removed from Office Now, the World Is Facing the Imminent Threat of Thermonuclear War.'