A new book by former Bush speechwriter and syndicated columnist Marc Thiessen, Courting Disaster: How the C.I.A. Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack, is an effort "to re-write the history of the C.I.A.'s interrogation program," and "is better at conveying fear than in relaying the facts," writes The New Yorker's Jane Mayer. Mayer highlights numerous disagreements that antiterrorism experts have with Thiessen's characterization of key facts he relies upon in offering a relentless defense of the Bush Administration's interrogation policies.
Thiessen's effort to rewrite the history of the C.I.A.'s interrogation program comes not long after a Presidential race in which both the Republican and the Democratic nominees agreed that state-sponsored cruelty had damaged and dishonored America. The publication of "Courting Disaster" suggests that Obama's avowed determination "to look forward, not back" has laid the recent past open to partisan reinterpretation. By holding no one accountable for past abuse, and by convening no commission on what did and didn't protect the country, President Obama has left the telling of this dark chapter in American history to those who most want to whitewash it.