WH considering making Central Intelligence Agency torture report private

"This study must be preserved for history", he said, "and the Senate intelligence committee will continue to conduct vigorous oversight of our nation's intelligence agencies to ensure that they abide by both the spirit and the letter of the law that bans the practices outlined in the report". Burr has dismissed the findings as partisan and said the document is meant to embarrass the intelligence community. "The intelligence agencies have a moral, if not legal, obligation to retain every copy of this report for posterity". "I believe that is the intent of the chairman in this case", she said. Two copies have been given to federal judges in connection with lawsuits by detainees at the USA military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Congress is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, but distribution of the report to federal agencies provided an opening for FOIA requests for its declassification and release.

The Senate intelligence committee spent years investigating the CIA's detention and harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists captured by the United States after the September 11, 2001, attack.

While a declassified executive summary of the report was released at the time, the granular details about the waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other enhanced interrogation techniques administered by the US government remain classified and beyond public scrutiny. The American Civil Liberties Union is still working to get the report declassified in the courts, but recent actions by the Trump administration have made the transparency process substantially more hard.

Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) told Reuters that his staff is retrieving the copies from executive branch agencies, and will "enact the necessary measures to protect the sensitive sources and methods contained within the report". He argued at the time that the report as completed "only endangers our officers and allies in a blatant attempt to smear the Bush administration".

Hawkins said the Defense Department's copy also is particularly important because it provides evidence that could be used in the military commission trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

That's because a copy has been preserved in former President Barack Obama's presidential archive, according to a December 9, 2016 letter written to Feinstein by Obama's top White House lawyer at the time, W. Neil Eggleston.

The Justice and Defense departments are under federal court order to preserve copies in connection with lawsuits brought by detainees.

Last December outgoing president Barack Obama, anticipating a Republican and possibly CIA-backed effort to bury the report, had a White House copy committed to his forthcoming presidential library in Chicago.

Democratic senators and rights groups were unanimous in their opposition to Burr's move. Ron Wyden said in a statement.

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said agencies shouldn't return the CIA torture report to Congress but should read and learn from it.

But Democrats see a plan to destroy all copies of the report to make sure the full truth of the Central Intelligence Agency's torture activities after the September 11 attacks never sees the light of day.

Considered the most complete accounting of the Bush-era program, the so-called "torture report" found numerous CIA's practices were overly brutal and possibly illegal.

  • Leroy Wright