Trump Tops Obama, Hands Over Full Torture Report To Court Previous Administration Refused To
from the still-a-lot-of-marks-in-the-'L'-column-tho dept
Credit where credit is due: Trump has done more to preserve the full CIA Torture Report than Obama ever did. On his way out the door, the DOJ fought on his behalf in federal court, arguing against an order to deposit the full report with the court clerk for preservation in the ongoing trial of Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, who has alleged he was waterboarded while detained by the CIA.
Barack Obama did stuff one copy of the full report in his presidential archives before Trump took over, perhaps in response to fears that the incoming president might make the whole thing vanish. Trump did mention his support for the use of torture on more than one occasion, and it would have been somewhat inconvenient to have an official document laying around saying torture is bad and the US shouldn’t do it.
Maybe it’s oneupmanship or maybe the Trump’s legal counsel feels it has too much on its plate already, but as the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports, Team Trump is handing over a full copy of the Torture Report to the court as requested.
[A]s the Obama era came to an end, two Federal District Court judges for the District of Columbia ordered the executive branch to provide a copy of the report to the court’s security officer, and today, on the deadline set by one of them, the Trump administration complied rather than appeal.
A one-page notice of compliance [PDF] was issued by the White House on February 10th.
Respondents are filing this notice to advise the Court that, in accordance with the orders entered in the above captioned cases on December 28, 2016, and January 23, 2017,2 on February 6, 2017, the Government deposited for the Court Information Security Officers (CISOs) for secure storage a complete and unredacted electronic copy of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (2014). Specifically, the Government deposited the electronic copy that had been previously delivered to the Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs.
The last sentence of the notice kills me. The government apparently carried the electronic copy from the DOJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs to the court clerk. The clunky wording suggests this copy no longer resides at the DOJ and that the court has this particular copy of an electronic document in its hands — one that could be copied infinitely with no discernible loss in quality or content.
Considering the full report is still classified, there are definitely plenty of dissemination control procedures in place. But without any further information to go on, the notice gives the appearance that the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs no longer has a copy of the full report. So, that can be put on the scorecard of places the document no longer can be found, even though it could be distributed anywhere with minimal effort, cost, or replication of anything more than 1s and 0s.