Senator Wyden Toying With The Idea Of Releasing The Senate's CIA Torture Report

from the the-pressure's-on dept

Senator Ron Wyden is apparently getting tired of waiting for the White House to use up its buckets of black ink in redacting everything important in the Senate’s big torture report. He’s publicly pondering the idea of using Senate privilege to just release it himself.

As you may recall, the Senate Intelligence Committee spent years and $40 million investigating the CIA’s torture program, and the 6,000+ page report is supposedly devastating in highlighting (1) how useless the program was and (2) how far the CIA went in torturing people (for absolutely no benefit) and (3) how the CIA lied to Congress about all of this. The CIA, not surprisingly, is not too happy about the report. At all. Still, despite its protests, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the executive summary of the report.

However, the CIA got to take first crack at figuring out what to redact, which seemed like a massive conflict of interest. Either way, the CIA apparently finally ran out of black ink in late June, and asked the White House to black out whatever else was left. The State Department has already expressed concerns that releasing anything will just anger the public (our response: probably should have thought of that before sending the CIA to torture people). And, now it appears the report is being held up due to “security” concerns.

At least some are getting anxious about this. Senator Wyden has apparently deliberately mentioned Senate Resolution 400 to two separate reporters recently. The key part of Resolution 400 is as follows:

The Select Committee may, subject to the provisions of this section, disclose publicly any information in the possession of such committee after a determination by such committee that the public interest would be served by such disclosure. Whenever committee action is required to disclose any information under this section, the committee shall meet to vote on the matter within five days after any member of the committee requests such a vote. No member of the Select Committee shall disclose any information, the disclosure of which requires a committee vote, prior to a vote by the committee on the question of the disclosure of such information or after such vote except in accordance with this section

Now, this still means he’d need to get the rest of the Committee to go along with the plan, which could be difficult. But, really, it seems that this move is just an effort to remind the White House that if it keeps dragging its feet, the Intelligence Committee (the majority of whom have already supported releasing this document) can take matters into its own hands.

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Comments on “Senator Wyden Toying With The Idea Of Releasing The Senate's CIA Torture Report”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Welcome, but a titch late

Such a move should have been immediately put into consideration the second it was known that the CIA, the absolute last group that should have redaction rights to the document, were instead going to be first in line to remove any ‘inconvenient’ information from it.

Just like you don’t let an accused criminal have redaction rights over the police report covering their activities before it’s presented in court, putting the CIA, the very agency under investigation, in control of the findings is a conflict of interest, and/or a showing of contempt towards the public, so vast it should never have been considered.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not always I’d say, sometimes they’re just tossing the idea out there to gauge the reaction to it, both public and politically, so they have an idea whether or not they’ll have enough support should they bring it up officially.

Also, at least in this case, it’s likely only to gain some good PR, rather than trying to shake down some companies for ‘donations’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Is this the report about how the US is breaking the Geneva Convention and international law by torturing, force feeding, executing, and indefinitely detaining enemy combatants without trial?

All in the name of fighting terror of course. Although, I’m sure most people will find what’s in the report pretty terrifying.

Maybe that’s why the report is being redacted and delayed. The CIA and Whitehouse are trying to figure out a way to make their war crimes sound less terrifying.

David says:

Re: Re: Take Out The Terrorist Politician

The usual bycatch when the U.S. does a drone strike is quite more than 75% of civilian casualties. Most of them are declared “terrorist sympathizers” or whatever else sounds ominous enough. As long as they had brown enough skin, nobody will check too closely.

Now it takes chuzpe to intentionally bomb UN schools and claim that one is only “defending oneself”. But if Israel can get away with that, why not the U.S.?

The newspapers and channels will happily regurgitate any garbage they are fed.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Not the only tool in the box

While an ‘accident’ would likely be a bit too high-profile to be greenlit(and honestly, when talking about people who are fine with ordering and carrying out torture, not much else would hold them back), remember it wasn’t too long ago that it was revealed that the NSA, and their British equivalent, have programs specifically designed to destroy the reputations of people, programs that the CIA would probably find of great interest, assuming they don’t have their own versions already.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Good idea, but you can bet they’d vote in such a way that there were no names mentioned, only the final outcome.

Wouldn’t do after all to have a nice, easy to read sheet that listed who was in favor of hiding the details regarding the CIA torturing people for no gain and then lying about it, versus those who rightly believed that such information needs to be public, if for no other reason than to hopefully make it less likely to happen again. /s

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'But people might get angry if they read it'

Best response to that was the one made in the article: ‘probably should have thought of that before sending the CIA to torture people’.

They act like people getting angry over the report going public is a bad thing, whereas the truth is if people weren’t angry over a report on how a government agency tortured prisoners, then something is seriously wrong.

Being angry, even furious, at a gross injustice like that should always be the default position, for any sane and rational person.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 'But people might get angry if they read it'

I don’t think that is the larger point. CIA is an intelligence agency like NSA and they fear any kind of release pointing to their activity. Angered public will tear a hole in their cozy political relations and potentially even worse: The complete autonomy granted by plausible deniability.

I would question that the angering hasn’t already happened in this case since the congress has already shot them very hard. The political damage has already been done and the public is already somewhat aware. They fear that further damage to their political independence might pursue as a result of the release. That is where it hurts. Political oversight is a bitch.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'But people might get angry if they read it'

Some political damage has been done, and the public is somewhat aware, but much like the NSA’s activities, where people suspected what they were doing, but were only able to do anything about it when solid proof was provided, there’s a big difference between ‘The CIA is probably doing X’, and ‘The CIA is doing X, and here’s the proof’.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'But people might get angry if they read it'

You’re right, but as the AC said in his response, my point was a little different. It’s that if decisions about what we are or are not to be made aware of is based even a little on whether or not we’ll get angry, then things have gone off the rails: it’s government agencies treating as as if they are our rulers rather than our employees.

Anonymous Coward says:

Since When

Since when did “angering the public” become an good enough excuse not to release information on what the government is doing? It should be released because it would anger the public. If the government is doing something that would anger the people that it represents then it’s doing something wrong and should stop doing it.

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