In a little noticed angle of the debt-ceiling deal, the Senate voted to confirm Stephen Preston, currently the CIA’s top lawyer, for the same job at the Pentagon. That’s news because Preston’s nomination had been held up by Senator Mark Udall and became a proxy battle in Congress’s struggle with the CIA over a damning 6,000-page report on the agency’s torture program. The report, which cost $40 million, apparently provides definitive proof that the torture program was ineffective, even counterproductive, and was deceptively sold to Congress. The condition of Preston’s confirmation was answers to questions from Sen. Udall, which were obtained by The New Yorker. In his responses to Udall, Preston distances himself from the CIA’s bristling opposition to the torture report.
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