As expected, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to send CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta’s nomination to the full Senate this afternoon. Vice Chairman Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who at Panetta’s hearings last week rather cravenly pretended not to know that detainees sent to other countries for interrogation have been tortured, said this in a joint release with chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.):

“I have supported Mr. Panetta after receiving his assurances that he will lean forward in the fight against terrorism to keep our nation safe,” Senator Bond said. “He has committed to using all appropriate and lawful means to do so, including the use of contract employees when the agency does not have a qualified government employee to perform the job, exploring the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on high-value detainees that may warrant going beyond the Army Field Manual in certain situations, and the lawful rendition of detainees to countries who have assured our State Department that they will not engage in torture.”

Now, nominees make a lot of pledges to crank senators just so they can get through confirmation. And Panetta’s firm stance against torture these past several years is a major component of why he has this job. But it’ll be worth watching the Obama administration’s forthcoming interrogation-policy review, which Panetta will be part of, to see whether he’s flattering Bond or has committed himself to a rather dramatic about-face.

Crossposted to The Streak.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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