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GOP Wants to Reclassify and Retract CIA Torture Report

Having just taken control of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the GOP is now seeking to reclassify the CIA report detailing the agencies’ torture of detainees in the War on Terror. The Republicans, led by committee chair Richard Burton, also want to “claw back” all copies of the report currently in circulation. Such a move would place the 6.700 page report outside the protections of the Freedom of Information Act. Burr has sent a letter to President Obama requesting that all copies of the controversial report in possession of the White House be “returned immediately.” It is not clear what action Burr and the Intelligence Committee will take if the Administration refuses to do so.

Additionally, an internal CIA report ordered by then-CIA chief Leon Panetta in 2009, reveals that the agency repeatedly exaggerated the usefulness of intelligence acquired during so-called “enhanced interrogation” of some detainees.

One finding from the Panetta report, which has been seen by only a few people in Washington, is also one of the most damning. The CIA continually and vociferously claimed that actionable intelligence used to track down Al-Qaeda operatives and prevent imminent terrorist plots had been gained by using torture on alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The report requested by Panetta shows that such intelligence was, in fact, gained through methods not related to the interrogation of detainees.

Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in December 2014 when the torture report was declassified and released in a redacted version, strongly objected to Senator Burr’s requesting the White House return its copies of the CIA report, saying:

“I strongly disagree that the administration should relinquish copies of the full committee study, which contains far more detailed records than the public executive summary.” 

It seems safe to say at this point that Senate Republicans are hoping to shield the CIA from any further criticism. Despite their repeated calls for transparency from the Administration, they seem perfectly content to pretend torture never took place in the name of the American people, or with their tax money.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org