The D.C. Circuit court has affirmed a federal judge’s decision to keep the Senate report on CIA torture classified and the CIA inspector general’s office claims they accidentally deleted their copy of the full report.
Nearly two years have passed since the release of the Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture yet the American public still remains largely in the dark. Based on recent actions taken by the CIA inspector general’s office and the D.C. Circuit court, America may never know the true depth of depravity contained in the Senate report on CIA torture.
In December 2014, the Senate released their report on the CIA’s use of torture, which revealed that the CIA continuously misled congressional and White House officials about the effectiveness and level of brutality of its methods. In June 2015, the secretary general of Amnesty International and the executive directors of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch sent a letter and delivered petitions with 111,788 signatures of human rights supporters to the Department of Justice. The organizations are seeking to pressure the US government into holding officials accountable for the use of torture.
The “Final Full Report” by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) amounted to 6,963 pages documenting the horrors enacted by the CIA. However, only a 480-page summary and 20 conclusions have ever been released to the public. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to have the documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. The ACLU lost their bid last year and decided to appeal the decision. On Friday, that appeal came to an end as the D.C. Circuit affirmed that the report is not subject to public disclosure. Courthouse News reports:
The panel based its decision, in large part, on a June 2009 agreement between the Senate Committee and CIA to grant Senate staff members access to classified materials with the understanding that all documents would remain classified.“The June 2009 letter manifests a clear intent by the Senate Committee to maintain continuous control over its work product, which includes the full report,” Judge Harry Edwards said, writing for the three-judge panel. “Therefore, the full report always has been a congressional document subject to the control of the Senate Committee. The mere transmission of the Full Report to agency officials for their consideration and use within the Executive Branch did not vitiate the command of the June 2009 Letter or constitute congressional relinquishment of control over the document.”
Even more disturbing than the D.C. Circuit’s decision is an alleged “accident” by the CIA inspector general’s office. The CIA inspector general’s office, the spy agency’s internal watchdog, acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed their only copy of the Senate report on torture. The CIA maintains another copy of the report, but the inspector generals mistake has “reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report should ever be released”, according to multiple intelligence community sources who spoke with Yahoo News.
The deletion of the document has been portrayed by agency officials to Senate investigators as an “inadvertent” foul-up by the inspector general. In what one intelligence community source described as a series of errors straight “out of the Keystone Cops,” CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document, filled with thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods.
Although the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department were privately briefed last Summer the public was not made aware of the mistake until now. “I can assure you that the CIA has retained a copy,” Dean Boyd, the agency’s chief of public affairs, told Yahoo in an email.
The history of the investigation into the CIA’s use of torture is full of lies, omissions, and mistakes. Not only are CIA and Bush administration officials responsible, but officials within the Obama administration continue the same practices.
In 2009, after a Department of Justice investigation was announced, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder stated it was “time for reflection, not retribution.” The DOJ would eventually close all investigations into alleged abuse and conclude that no charges should be brought. Despite the Obama administration’s claim that no charges should be brought forth, members of the U.N. Committee Against Torture recently told the US that it rejects the Bush administration’s interpretations of torture law. The Committee rejected the findings of the DOJ investigation. Committee Chairman George Tugushi stated,
In our view, any investigation into possible ill treatment by public officials must comply with the criteria of thoroughness. And actually to be considered credible, it must be capable of leading to a determination of whether force or other methods used were or were not justified under the circumstances, and to the identification of the appropriate punishment of those concerned.
As far back as 2010 it has been known that at least 68 members of Congress were told about the program. The Senate report details the full extent of the program, including the agency’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other aggressive interrogation methods at “black site” prisons overseas. Watchdog organization Judicial Watch obtained formerly “Top Secret” government documents that detail congressional briefings between 2001 and 2007.
Who will be held responsible for these terrible atrocities? Will the American people (or the people of the world) ever organize a unified front against the use of torture? The answers to these questions depends on the actions you take in your daily life. Will you spread awareness about this topic and many more important issues? Or will you sit by idly and allow psychopaths to inherit the Earth?
Image Credit: modified from TheFreeThoughtProject.com
Derrick is available for interviews.
This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.