Over a year ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to adopt a historic, 6,000-page report which contains “startling details” about CIA misdeeds related to its torture program.
The report, which cost $40 million to produce and appears to pose no national security threats, has been set for release since December 13, 2012. However, it has yet to see the light of day.
The reason: the Obama administration continues to suppress its release, apparently for no reason other than to protect the reputations of the guilty.
Per The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf:
[Over a year ago], the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to adopt a 6,000-page report on the CIA rendition, detention, and interrogation program that led to torture. Its contents include details on each prisoner in CIA custody, the conditions of their confinement, whether they were tortured, the intelligence they provided, and the degree to which the CIA lied about its behavior to overseers. Senator Dianne Feinstein declared it one of the most significant oversight efforts in American history, noting that it contains “startling details” and raises “critical questions.” But all these months later, the report is still being suppressed.
The Obama Administration has no valid reason to suppress the report. Its contents do not threaten national security, as evidenced by the fact that numerous figures who normally defer to the national-security state want it released with minor redactions. The most prominent of all is Vice President Joe Biden.
The Center for Victims of Torture, in advocating for the public’s right to fully understand the CIA’s lawless torture program during the Bush administration, has procured the signatures of 58 national security experts and officials who want the full CIA report released. These signatures include U.S. senators, former Obama administration officials and retired military leaders.
President Obama once promised that his White House would be the most transparent in history, and went so far in February to claim that such is indeed the case.
This most-transparent-ever administration is now marking the CIA report as classified, determined “to keep secret the most thorough accounting we have of the agency’s lawless, immoral behavior.”
Is President Obama bowing to factions within the CIA? Shielding the powerful from rebuke during his own illegal drone program? Protecting past criminals as a down payment on future investigations?
To answer those questions would be to speculate. However, what is known is this: if we don’t fully understand those CIA abuses perpetrated in the name of the State and national security, we are more likely to allow those abuses to happen again.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.
Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.