The left's torture witch hunt is punishing blameless CIA personnel

Rather than go through the gantlet that we call the confirmation process, Phil decided to skip what he feared would be a “circus.” The blogosphere had already begun to light up with commentary about his unsuitability for the post. His sin? Phil had been the deputy director of CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center and its chief analyst at the height of the agency’s counterattack against al-Qaeda — those first years after Sept. 11, 2001, when the agency felt it had to use all the tools at its disposal to learn more about and eventually disrupt follow-on al-Qaeda attacks. Phil’s personal involvement in the most controversial tactics was no more than “modest engagement,” but he was conscientiously tasking all possible sources of information and faithfully connecting the dots as everyone expected him to do…

Phil’s fate is symptomatic of a larger and even more troubling reality. A whole swath of intelligence professionals — the best we had, the ones we threw at the al-Qaeda challenge when the nation was in extremis — are suffering for their sacrifice, being held up to recrimination for many decisions that were never wholly theirs and about which there was little protest when we all believed we were in danger.