In December 2014, the world finally had a chance to see a document known as the “torture report.” An official investigation of “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the Bush/Cheney administration concluded that torture policies were not effective; the abuses were far more brutal than Americans had been led to believe; and the CIA had provided inaccurate information about the operation of the program.
This was, however, what we learned from an executive summary released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The full, 6,700-page report, which included undisclosed information about “black site” prisons, has never been released to the public – it’s still considered classified – and courts have ruled the multi-volume report is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.
This week, Yahoo News highlighted a striking, previously unknown detail: the Central Intelligence Agency’s inspector general’s office ”mistakenly” destroyed its copy of the full report.
While another copy of the report exists elsewhere at the CIA, the erasure of the controversial document by the office charged with policing agency conduct has alarmed the U.S. senator who oversaw the torture investigation and reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report should ever be released, according to multiple intelligence community sources familiar with the incident.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.
That doesn’t sound reassuring. Indeed, Roll Call reported yesterday that the revelations from the Yahoo News piece are “raising concerns” on Capitol Hill “about the fate of the document.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee in December 2014 when the panel released public findings of the classified report on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation practices, has fired off a letter to Director John Brennan seeking a new copy of the report for the CIA inspector general, after a copy there was apparently misplaced or deleted.
“Your prompt response will allay my concern that this was more than an ‘accident,’” Feinstein said in correspondence sent Friday. “The CIA IG should have a copy of the full study because the report includes extensive information directly related to the IG’s ongoing oversight of the CIA.”