But Congressional Democrats are being equally disingenuous when they pretend they could do nothing about what they were hearing from the CIA. Members could, and sometimes did, object to proposed CIA actions and could stop them in their tracks.
More importantly, Congress had the power of the purse. Pete Hoekstra, the House Committee’s current ranking member, tells us there was “pretty bipartisan support for the authorization bills and the funding bills,” at least until the issue blew wide in the pages of the press. Latter-day opponents of the interrogation techniques, he adds, “never used a tool that was available to them if they wanted to stop them.”