Crazy Pete Hoekstra (and his side-kick, John Shadegg) lives up to his nick-name with this op-ed today in the right wing Washington Times.

He argues that the increased fatalities in Afghanistan stem from a lack of intelligence. And from that claim, he argues that Obama has to abandon the Army Field Manual–basically, he’s calling for a return to the torture regime implemented by the Bush Administration.

For our troops to succeed and protect themselves, it is urgent that we step up our intelligence collection. Regrettably, Obama administration policies are undermining the collection of intelligence against terrorist activities worldwide, but especially in Afghanistan. 


Despite the effectiveness of CIA interrogation of senior al Qaeda suspects, last August President Obama stripped the CIA of responsibility for such interrogations and handed it to an interagency team to be led by the FBI and monitored by the White House. This multiagency interrogation bureaucracy will be restricted to using interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual. It is certain to be much less effective in obtaining crucial and timely intelligence needed to protect our troops. 

Hoekstra claims that Obama has contributed to low morale, citing as proof a letter written by seven guys who no longer work at CIA.

For example, the risk of being investigated and prosecuted for working on counterterrorism programs is causing CIA officers to flee from such jobs or leave the CIA entirely. This was made clear by a bipartisan Sept. 18 letter from seven former CIA directors. It noted the "distraction and devastating impact" that reopening an investigation into enhanced interrogation of al Qaeda suspects is having on "CIA morale, America’s counterterrorism efforts and our foreign intelligence partnerships." 

But wait!! See those quotation marks, implying that the CIA ex-Directors said precisely those words? Do you see those words in their actual letter?  Nope–me neither, not even searching for those words in a searchable PDF. In fact, the word "morale" doesn’t even appear in the letter.

That, Congressman Hoekstra, is called "making shit up." You can quote me on it.

And speaking of "making shit up," Hoekstra claims that Nancy Pelosi, "has accused CIA officers of being pathological liars."

Um. No. She said they did not tell her that they were in the business of waterboarding–sort of like when Crazy Pete himself complained that the CIA didn’t tell him about certain covert programs. And Porter Goss, who was in that briefing, does not disagree with Pelosi.

For a guy arguing about intelligence, Crazy Pete sure doesn’t show much of it–either the spooky kind, or the plain old ability to write a coherent argument kind.

Update: In somewhat related news, Spencer reports that the Republicans have withdrawn from the SSCI investigation. From DiFi:

I very much regret the fact that the Republican side of the Intelligence Committee has chosen not to continue to participate in the Committee’s study and investigation into the detention and interrogation of high-value detainees. However, that study and investigation is being pursued, additional staff are being hired, and the Committee is continuing the work with all due diligence.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.