Two Former Senators Call On Obama To Save The Full CIA 'Torture Report' From Being Buried

from the stay-of-obfuscation-requested dept

So far, very little has been done with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,700-page “Torture Report.” Some agencies haven’t even read it (and have blocked others from doing so). Others have been completely careless in the handling of their copies. Most of the federal government — especially the White House — just seems to want it to go away.

Dianne Feinstein, who helped keep the full document from being made public (costing requesters like Jason Leopold thousands in legal fees), now wants the report declassified. The Obama administration has shown little interest in doing so.

Two former long-term Senators, Carl Levin and Jay Rockefeller (who both retired last year) — taking a look at the incoming administration — say it’s basically now or never if the full report is going to be saved. And these are two Senators who had plenty of experience and exposure to these issues. Rockefeller chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee at one point and Levin chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Given President-elect Donald J. Trump’s unconscionable campaign pledge to “bring back waterboarding” and “a hell of a lot worse” — acts that would be illegal if carried out — President Obama’s leadership on this issue has never been more important.

Drawing on our decades of work in the Senate and our chairmanships of the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, we are calling on President Obama to preserve the full torture report as a matter of profound public interest. We are not asking him to necessarily agree with all of the report’s findings, though we certainly hope he does, but we are asking him to protect it as an important piece of history.

The president could do this simply by allowing departments and agencies that already possess the document to enter it as a federal record, making it much more difficult for a future administration to erase.

So far, the public has only seen a summary of the report. While the summary, at 500 pages, is much better than nothing, the entire report could be buried forever by the new White House. If anyone owes the public some last-minute transparency, it’s President Obama. Despite frequently claiming to head up the “most transparent” administration in history, the Obama White House has presided over more whistleblower prosecutions than all others combined and a steady increase in FOIA request denials by federal agencies.

Entering it into the public record would head off future attempts to memory-hole this important report, something that’s already been attempted.

Senator Richard Burr… took the unusual step of trying to recall the full report that Senator Feinstein had distributed — to prevent it from ever being widely read or declassified. In this effort, Senator Burr has written to President Obama, insisting that the full report not only be returned but that it “should not be entered into any executive branch system of records.”

Since then the full report has been locked in limbo, with the Obama administration unwilling to even open the document, but also unwilling to return it to Senator Burr.

Even if Donald Trump hadn’t already vocalized his support of the tactics the report condemned, the temptation to turn this into a partisan issue (Sen. Burr is a Republican) could possibly see this request granted. If it is, the report will be assigned to the historical dustbin. The executive summary will always point to its existence, but no one outside of a select few will ever have a chance to see the report in its entirety — and the $40 million in taxpayer funds that was spent to research and write the report will go up in smoke too. That will make it that much easier for the incoming administration, and those beyond it, to start revising the CIA’s history by whitewashing the details that were never made public in the first place.

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Comments on “Two Former Senators Call On Obama To Save The Full CIA 'Torture Report' From Being Buried”

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30 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Fat chance.

Similar to what I noted in another article, there’s more than enough blame to go around. Obama’s to blame for not releasing the report(and all but officially condoning what it contained by doing so), and Trump will be to blame when he buries it entirely[1] so that the good old US of A can get back to torturing those terrorists without worry about someone in the government and/or public looking over their shoulder and criticizing them for ‘war crimes’ and such rot.

[1] Mind, I’d love to be proven wrong on this point. I don’t expect to in the least, if anything I’m probably greatly understating it, but it’d certainly be nice to be proven wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Fat chance.

The thing is, the report most likely implicates some high ranking Dems (along with the Republicans) who were on one committee or another that knew what was going on. So neither party is interested in seeing this released and thus it hasn’t been. There is a whole lot of protecting their own going on in Washington and nobody is ever held accountable.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Fat chance.

We need a SOPA-style campaign to get this thing released but without the groundswell of support like we had back then it won’t happen. If people don’t care enough they won’t do anything. If they do, we’ll have that thing out in the open, unredacted. So… do Americans want this badly enough to push for it?

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Fat chance.

Given that Trump cheerfully supports torture, why would he consider it a smear?

– “But they asked me the question: What do you think of waterboarding? Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding.”

– “I am a person that believes in enhanced interrogation, yes. And by the way, it works.”

Be nice to him. Let him deal with it. It’s give him something new to brag about on Twitter.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Fat chance.

First, he was not in my top 3 of the candidates, but I did vote for him in the general election.

He is a showman. He talks big, but I think when it comes down to it, he will listen to his advisors, cabinet and departmental leaders.

My concern was that Hillary would actually do the things she said she would do. That and her and the DNC are totally corrupt.

FundingOrFunDing? says:

Lack of Funding

Isn’t the underlying issue actually about revenue?

Seriously all these cases seem to have one thing in common, that police departments are suffering from a lack of funding and looking for creative ways to make up for missing revenue.

States pay for police, Counties pay for police, cities pay for police but if the governing bodies don’t cough up the money to pay for these, then where do police turn?

My question is what’s the intent behind starving municipalities of proper funding? This kind of starve the beast mentality seems like an erosion of democracy, on purpose?

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