While the mainstream media devoted an agonizing amount of coverage to an HBO host’s use of a racial slur, it ignored the Trump Administration’s efforts to further bury war crimes committed by the United States—even though the latter is arguably more alarming and offensive.
Those war crimes were detailed in the 2014 CIA torture report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report gave insight into the gruesome, cruel methods used by CIA agents in their attempts to extract information from suspected Al-Qaeda members after 9/11.
The full 6,700-page report has never been released to the public, and there is a good chance it won’t make any progress under President Trump. He has reportedly begun returning all copies of the classified report to Congress, following requests from Sen. Richard Burr, the intelligence committee’s current Republican chairman.
“I have directed my staff to retrieve copies of the Congressional study that remain with the Executive Branch agencies, and as the Committee does with all classified and compartmented information, will enact the necessary measures to protect the sensitive sources and methods contained within the report,” Burr said in a statement to Reuters.
This move is notable because while government documents are supposed to be made public under the Freedom of Information Act, documents held by Congress are exempt. If all of the copies of the CIA torture report end up in the hands of members of Congress who want to keep them from the public, they could be buried for good.
The latest developments impacting the future of the report have drawn criticism from some Democrats in the Senate.
Sen. Mark Warner, the current Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, took to Twitter to share his disappointment with the decision. “#TortureReport must be preserved so we can learn from past mistakes & ensure that abuses are never repeated,” Warner said.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) June 2, 2017
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was the committee’s chairman when the report was authored, called Burr’s request “alarming and concerning.”
“This creates a dangerous precedent,” Feinstein said. “No senator—chairman or not—has the authority to erase history. I believe that is the intent of the chairman.”
Following the report’s completion, Feinstein ordered copies to be sent to several government agencies, who would then have the opportunity to release it under a FOIA request.
As The Free Thought Project reported in May 2016, the CIA inspector general’s office admitted to “mistakenly” destroying their only copy of the CIA torture report. However, when the agency turned to CIA Director John Brennan, who has his own copy of the classified report, he refused to send a replacement to the internal watchdog’s office.
Although HBO late-night host Bill Maher’s use of the “N-word” during an interview has garnered much more attention from the mainstream media, the fate of the Senate’s CIA torture report is news that should warrant every American’s concern.
While a 500-page executive summary was released in December 2014, the full 6,700-page report has never been made public. Many politicians claimed the release of the entire report would be detrimental to U.S. foreign relations. But the question, with the heavily redacted summary already detailing kidnapping, torture, public deception, human rights abuses and war crimes—what is the CIA still trying to hide?