US senate divided over disclosing details of CIA tortures

US senate divided over disclosing details of CIA tortures
Tue Aug 5, 2014 21:03:57

Redactions by the White House on a controversial classified report about CIA torture techniques has delayed public disclosure of the document, hinting widening rifts between US senators over making the public aware of the details.

The Obama administration insists on its decision to delete even the fake names before releasing a public version of the long-awaited report on the CIA’s use of torture on suspected terrorists, McClatchy reported on Monday.

The redaction of the report which some believe is the product of the most intensive congressional investigation of CIA operations in decades is likely to increase hostilities between the Senate panel and the CIA, the Hill reported.

“Redactions are supposed to remove names or anything that could compromise sources and methods, not to undermine the source material so that it is impossible to understand,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico), a member of the committee, said Sunday in a statement. “Try reading a novel with 15 percent of the words blacked out. It can’t be done properly.”

The spy agency has already admitted to spying on some Senate staffers in the run-up to the report’s release, which drew ire from lawmakers in the first place.

The Senate panel has been working for months to make public a summary of its 6,800-page analysis the CIA’s torture techniques used during the presidency of George W. Bush.

The public executive summary of the top-secret report will be only 480 pages and has been in the process of declassification for months.

The report was expected to be released in coming days, but on Friday the committee received edits from the White House that redacted a significant chunk of the text for “protecting US intelligence and security”.

“We need additional time to understand the basis for these redactions and determine their justification,” committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said in a statement late on Friday. “Therefore the report will be held until further notice and released when that process is completed.”

“No covert CIA personnel or foreign countries are named in the report,” Tom Mentzer, a spokesman for Feinstein, said. “Only pseudonyms were used, precisely to protect this kind of information. Those pseudonyms were redacted (by the administration).”

Lawmakers seem willing to accept some redactions, but others made by the CIA and the White House would make it difficult or impossible to understand the subject being discussed, especially when a pseudonym appears in multiple references, said a person familiar with the issue, who requested anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.


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