Senator Bill Frist (and Congressman Dennis Hastert) have called for Congress to investigate the ‘leak’ of classified information to the Washington Post about “a web of secret prisons being used to harass and interrogate terrorism suspects” (News and Observer, 11-09-05). If this sounds like a Republican response to the Valerie Plame case – it just may be. But I suspect Democrats will be more than glad to hold hearings on those prisons and that they are going to ask a few questions like, ‘What was going on in there?’
And Senator Frist and Congressman Hastert think they can say, ‘No. We’re going to investigate the leak – not the prisons,’ they’re mistaken.
Representative Christopher Shays – a Republican from Connecticut – has already said investigating the leak is “acceptable, as long as Congress investigates the prisons themselves.” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was blunt. He said, “Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. The real story is those jails.”
There may be a perfectly good reason for the CIA to be operating covert prisons in foreign nations. And there may not have been a single abuse in any of them. But what if there was? Senator Frist may think he just ‘one-upped’ the Democrats on the Valerie Plame case but what he may have done is opened the biggest can of worms yet.