New Senate Intelligence Boss Demands That White House 'Return' CIA Torture Report Copies

from the so-they-can-be-burned dept

We had mentioned in the past, that once Senator Richard Burr took over the Senate Intelligence Committee, it seemed likely that the CIA torture report, prepared by the Committee’s staffers, would be buried. That was before the redacted version of the executive summary was released, and it was written to explain why an agreement needed to be reached to release the report before the new Congress took over. However, what we didn’t expect was that Senator Burr, upon taking office, would then take the rather unprecedented step of trying to bury the report anyway.

But that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Specifically, he has freaked out and demanded that the White House return every copy of the full 6,600 page report, saying that Senator Feinstein never should have delivered that full report to anyone in the administration:

Burr, upon taking charge in January, wrote to the executive branch and the federal agencies in receipt of the document, and asked that it be returned to the committee, as he did not feel it was a valid disclosure.

?It gets pretty technical,? Burr said, confirming he sent the letter. The full document, he explained, had been voted complete in the 112th Congress, and the release of the executive summary was voted on by the 113th Congress.

But what wasn?t ever agreed upon, said Burr, was the disclosure of the full report to several arms of the federal government, which prompted his letter demanding all copies be returned.

And, that’s not all he’s asking for. He’s also demanding back the so-called “Panetta Review,” which was the internal review, done by the CIA of the torture program, with findings that largely mirrored the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. The Panetta Review had been done, on the orders of then director Leon Panetta, and the CIA insists it was only meant for internal use at the CIA. At some point, however, according to the Intelligence Committee staffers, the CIA gave a draft of that document over to the those staffers. That resulted in then Senator Mark Udall asking the CIA for the final review — leading the CIA to freak out that a Senator knew of the existence of the Panetta Review in the first place.

That, of course, resulted in the CIA then spying on the Senate staffers’ computers to find out how they got the document and the CIA ridiculously claiming that the staffers had violated criminal laws in removing the document from the network and storing it in a safe place. Udall, before leaving Congress, argued that the Panetta Review should be released, but Burr has (not surprisingly) demanded the document back.

Once again, this raises some serious questions about what Senator Burr thinks his role is. Is it oversight of the CIA — or is he the CIA’s protector? Because the demands for both of these reports to be “returned” so that he can more or less destroy them, certainly suggests the latter, rather than the former.

And, as ridiculous as it may sound to demand the return of these reports, it’s more than just a gesture of solidarity with the CIA. The ACLU is currently suing the CIA over its refusal to release the Panetta Review under a FOIA request and also the federal government for refusing to release the full CIA torture report. Having that information in other parts of the government make it more likely that a court could order it to be turned over. But Burr seems to be focused on making sure that it’s only held by “friendly” parties who might destroy this important historical document, detailing the CIA’s abuses. As the ACLU noted in a statement:

?Senator Burr is supposed to be overseeing the CIA, not covering up its crimes. The full Senate torture report was given to Executive Branch agencies to be widely used to make sure that the federal government learns its lesson and never uses torture again. Senator Burr?s attempt to recall the report seems like a bid to thwart Congress?s own Freedom of Information Act, which protects the rights of the American people to learn about their own government. Americans should ask, if Senator Burr isn?t going to serve his role in the Constitution?s system of checks and balances, then why did he want to be chairman of the intelligence committee? This is a poor start to a chairmanship.?

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Comments on “New Senate Intelligence Boss Demands That White House 'Return' CIA Torture Report Copies”

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49 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

So we are talking about physical pages here are we not? Because if he’s talking about returning digital copies at least it adds a funny aspect to this absurdity. The thing is already out, the report is already causing terrible repercussion so the best thing now would be to let things work out and punish who has to be punished while reining in the CIA.

At least the Americans know Mr Burr supports torture. Hopefully you are good, law abiding Americans with no connections to the very broad terroristic spectrum, right? Soon torture coming to America, suspicion of terrorism throws Constitution and Human Rights out of the window.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If I’m reading it right, while the redacted report was released, what he’s trying to do is have every unredacted version returned(and likely destroyed), likely to keep someone from releasing the full report and allowing everyone to see just how much worse the full thing is(and allow people to compare the two versions).

And yeah, with his actions, he has made it completely and totally clear that he is in fact a supporter of torture, and has absolutely zero interest in punishing the CIA for their actions, due to not seeing anything wrong with what they did.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

For far too many(though one would be too many), ‘supporting your country’ is the same as ‘supporting the people who run it’. And given how rabid a good portion of the US citizenry can get with regards to ‘patriotism’, that means anything the government does is by default ‘good’ to them, and should be supported.

Of course, it helps to have government friendly ‘news’ agencies doing their best to spin the matter, downplaying the bad/vile while hyping the ‘good’, or just flat out lying about the details when spin won’t cut it.

David says:

Re: Re:

Because if he’s talking about returning digital copies at least it adds a funny aspect to this absurdity.

Not at all. Once the order to return all electronic copies has been given, anybody disclosing a copy can and will be prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917. As long as possession of a copy is not in itself illegal but merely the content classified, you can only prosecute regarding privilege violations. Which is not enough for the death penalty.

Burr means business.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Answering their own question

Americans should ask, if Senator Burr isn’t going to serve his role in the Constitution’s system of checks and balances, then why did he want to be chairman of the intelligence committee?

Simple enough:

Senator Burr is supposed to be overseeing the CIA, not covering up its crimes.

He wanted the position in order to better cover up the CIA’s heinous crimes, and keep any real ‘oversight’ from occurring in the future.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Dissapointment

Udall, before leaving Congress, argued that the Panetta Review should be released, but Burr has (not surprisingly) demanded the document back.

If Udall really believed that the review should have been released, he should have done so himself. ‘Asking’ clearly wasn’t going to work in the time he had left in congress, and it should have been blatantly obvious that the ones taking over the committee that could release the report, would never do so, so he should have, as one of his last acts, made public the Panetta Review himself.

By just ‘asking’ and then doing nothing until it reached the point where he couldn’t do anything, the claims that he believed it needed to be public were exposed as nothing but empty words.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dissapointment

‘Harassment’ would probably have been grossly underestimating it. Airing out the dirty-laundry of an agency involved in kidnapping, torture, and murder would almost certainly lead to one hellish, even potentially short life afterwards, as they made his life as miserable as possible in retaliation.

While I can understand, and even sympathize with his choice not to further antagonize a group of sadists, sociopaths, and people who make the worst criminals in prison look tame in comparison, it does make his choice to argue for something he knew would almost certainly never happen while he was in a position to affect it, and absolutely never happen once he wasn’t, more like an empty PR stunt than actual belief in what he was saying. It’s easy to argue for something if you know you won’t have to follow through after all.

Still, I suppose that’s what makes Snowden, and Manning, and others like them all the more impressive. They faced the choice, and despite the risk, they decided it was worth the personal cost to make the knowledge public. If everyone had that kind of courage, then it would cease to be such an amazing feat.

David says:

1990/01/15 in Erfurt

1990/01/15 in Erfurt about 100.000 German demonstrators stormed the Stasi central building to put a stop to the ongoing panicky destruction of the Stasi files that was the last operation of the disbanded ministry.

A second storm and hunger strikes in September put a stop to the plan to move the files to Koblenz in West Germany where they could have been kept out of the reach of former GDR citizens interested in their personal files.

But then we are talking East Germany here with citizens that had not had a chance to become bored and tired with freedom yet.

In the U.S., burying past misdeeds will meet no significant resistance.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, about that…

Those ‘elected officials’ are the prime source of his power, namely their indifference to rocking the boat by actually trying to hold anyone accountable, him included. After all, if they call him out on his actions, then someone might do the same when they do something slimy/underhanded/horrific, and politicians are nothing if not self-serving, so simple self-interest keeps most of them quiet.

Padpaw (profile) says:

Re: Re:

he has a militarized police force, an apathetic civilian population that barely cares the world hates them because their leaders are committing war crimes constantly. Millions of dollars he has stolen from the people he is supposed to represent. the backing of those charged with American safety that instead are using their power to steal, spy and silence anyone that opposes them.

He can keep committing treason because he knows no one will call him out on it, save some patriot or vigilante that kills him

Anonymous Coward says:

Senator Burr’s attempt to recall the report seems like a bid to thwart Congress’s own Freedom of Information Act, which protects the rights of the American people to learn about their own government. Americans should ask, if Senator Burr isn’t going to serve his role in the Constitution’s system of checks and balances, then why did he want to be chairman of the intelligence committee?

to me it seems that what Burr is trying to do is make the CIA not just more important than the government and the President, he’s trying to make it more important than anything! that is not good because it smacks of the first step towards there being no way to make the CIA or any of it’s people accountable for what it does!!

David says:

Re: Re:

Americans should ask, if Senator Burr isn’t going to serve his role in the Constitution’s system of checks and balances, then why did he want to be chairman of the intelligence committee?

That one is easy. Because he isn’t going to serve his role in the Constitution’s system of checks and balances. Most importantly, now nobody else is going to, either.

Roc Rizzo (profile) says:

Out of touch with reality

This senator is totally out of touch with reality in the 21st century.
Even if they got printed, dead tree copies of the report, they could be replicated in today’s copying machines.
If they were given digital copies, it’s just laughable as to how easy these files could be copied.
These bass turds have to get out of the 17th century, and into the 21st.

GEMont (profile) says:

The right man for the job.

“Senator Burr is supposed to be overseeing the CIA, not covering up its crimes.”

Hmmmm…. I must have missed it!

When did those two jobs become separate occupations?

As far as I’ve seen over the last 2-3 years, “oversight” literally translates to “covering up crimes”, when it comes to any aspect of the USG.

Apparently, Burr has already received his yacht and an unlimited supply of bimbos and cocaine.

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