Senate Intel Chair Feinstein Criticizes CIA Report Redactions

Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, criticized the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) redactions to a report her Committee drafted that details CIA interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush Administration. The edits, she said, “eliminate or obscure key facts that supports the report’s findings and conclusions”. In response, she has sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting that some of the editorial decisions the CIA made be reversed. Last week, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, said the redactions were made “to protect sensitive classified information”. Earlier this week, President Obama’s press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House stood by the edits, but also that they would work with the Senate to publish the report soon.

Aside from the dispute over the report redactions, the Senate investigation has been controversial because Senator Feinstein alleged the CIA hacked Senate computers. Last week, CIA Director John Brennan admitted to the accusations.

Yahoo! News: Feinstein Puts Obama on the Spot Over CIA’s “Torture Report” Edits

Politico: Dianne Feinstein, Car Levin Hit CIA Redactions

Opinion: Stepping Back from the Constitutional Brink

As President Barack Obama reiterates his intention to use Executive actions to reform U.S. immigration policy, he has attracted numerous critics who assert that he is overstepping his constitutional boundaries—and they say Democrats should join them in objecting. Fred Bauer, writing for National Review, points out, “President Obama himself denied for years that he has the ability to take executive action on immigration.” Further, numerous liberals criticized George W. Bush for perceived aggrandizement of the Executive Branch. Liberals must rise to defend the legislature’s powers in this case too, Bauer argues. “By focusing attention on these constitutional dangers, members of both parties and the media could discourage the administration from crisis-inducing overreach. Such focusing would require seriousness, balance, and, in some cases, courage. But the potential gain would be worth the difficulties. An ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure. Perhaps, by truly taking account of the constitutional abyss before us, we can avoid stepping into it”, he writes.

National Review Online: Opinion: A Constitutional Abyss

Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Ebola Outbreak

Most Members of Congress have departed Washington for their annual August recess, but the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa held a hearing on the West African Ebola outbreak on Thursday. Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); other U.S. government officials; and leaders from SIM and Samaritan’s Purse whose missionaries from the U.S. have been stricken with the disease, spoke at the hearing.

According to Dr. Frieden’s prepared remarks, Ebola is not “a significant danger to the United States”. He noted that only a small percentage of foreign travelers to the United States come from the stricken areas and the CDC has procedures in place in case any are carrying the disease.

According to the CDC, Ebola fever is a usually fatal illness with symptoms similar to many diseases like fever, headache diarrhea and vomiting; additionally, other symptoms include internal and external bleeding, breathing difficulties, chest pain, rashes, and hiccups. It can be transmitted by coming in “direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person”, often in the course of caring for a patient. It is not transmitted via water, food, or the air. This is the largest outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when it was first discovered. According to Dr. Frieden, it will take three to six months to end this outbreak “in a best case scenario, but this is very far from a best case scenario.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee: Subcommittee Hearing: Combating the Ebola Threat

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2014 Ebola Outbreak

And for our latest post: Supreme Court on Recess Appointments: The President Loses, Congress Partially Wins