If GOP Takes Senate Next Week, Expect The CIA Torture Report To Disappear
from the bye-bye dept
We’ve heard some mumbling about one of the main reasons that the CIA has been dragging its feet on declassifying the executive summary of the CIA torture report that the Senate Intelligence Committee put together: it knows there’s a decent chance that the Republicans will win the Senate next week, and suddenly the report may disappear from view. As you may recall, the Intelligence Committee (with support from GOP Senators) voted to declassify the 480 page executive summary of the 6,300 page report (which the Senate spent $40 million putting together). Multiple leaks concerning the report have suggested that it’s devastating and details how terrible the CIA’s torture program was, how it was completely ineffective and how the CIA lied about it all.
But most of the support for releasing the report is coming from the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein (who sides with the NSA on plenty of stuff, but is more willing to challenge the CIA). But if the Republicans take the Senate next week, then the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee will likely shift to Senator Richard Burr, who has made it quite clear that he’s on the CIA’s team and against the public interest.
“I personally don’t believe that anything that goes on in the intelligence committee should ever be discussed publicly,” Burr told reporters in March. “If I had my way, with the exception of nominees, there would never be a public intelligence hearing.”
It’s also expected that Burr will try to muzzle Ron Wyden and Mark Udall (if Udall is re-elected, which is iffy at this point):
If Burr takes over as chair, he could easily sideline the committee’s vocal civil libertarian bloc led by Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and bolstered by Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), two senators who’ve called for Brennan’s resignation.
Udall, in particular, drew blunt criticisms from Burr earlier this year for disclosing the existence of an internal CIA review of the detention and interrogation program that Democrats believe vindicates their own study.
“I think Mark did make some public releases that were committee-sensitive information, but that’s for the committee internally to handle,” Burr told reporters in March. “My concern is that the release of information could potentially cause the losses of life to Americans. That to me, is a threshold that should be addressed.”
As for the torture report itself, Burr has already said that the report is inaccurate and he’s against it being released in any form. When a group of religious leaders asked him to support releasing the report, Burr told them he didn’t think the report was accurate:
Last year, Burr drew criticism from more than 190 North Carolina religious leaders, including Christians, Jews, Quakers, and Muslims, for opposing the release of the Senate’s post-9/11 torture report.
“The U.S. does not condone torture, but torture has been done by our citizens and in our country’s name,” reads a letter the religious leaders sent Burr. “We are writing to you as fellow people of faith to support the release of the … report.”
Disappointing the religious groups, Burr responded in a letter saying he opposed making the report public due to factual inaccuracies contained within the report. “I believe the American public should be provided with reports that are based on accurate facts,” he said.
Given all of this, if the GOP does win, it seems like the only way the public may ever see the details is if someone steps up and leaks the damn thing.