As Senator Dianne Feinstein and the CIA battle over release of the Senate’s definitive report on President George W. Bush’s torture policies, at least one very important fact is already known.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s review of the Bush-era torture program run under the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11 firmly concludes that not only was torture used, but that the intelligence gathered failed to prevent any acts of terrorism — at least according to those who’ve seen it. The report itself remains classified and outside the reach of the public, despite numerous attempts from the press to obtain access to it.
In a speech on Tuesday, Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) made waves when she accused the CIA of violating “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333″ by improperly accessing a secure network intended only for committee staffers’ use as they perform their oversight function in preparing the torture report. The California Democrat, normally an outspoken defender of the intelligence community, also unleashed a new wave of criticism over the fact that it has still not seen the light of day, despite the Senate committee completing its draft in late 2012. Back then, Feinstein’s indicated that the document needed to go “to the White House, to the attorney general, to the DNI [Director of National Intelligence], to the CIA for possible technical amendments,” after which the document would potentially be declassified. But that process became lengthier last June when the CIA reportedly rejected the central finding of the report. And so the draft went back to the Senate, according to the CIA, delaying any declassification efforts…
So just how closely held is the Senate’s report? Even other members of Congress have so far been blocked from reading it. “It is a continuing source of frustration that even Members of the House Intelligence Committee have been refused access to the Senate’s report,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior member of the committee, said in a statement. “Not only should access be provided to Members of Congress, but a declassified version should be made available to the public so we can have a full and informed debate.” The White House has not responded to a request for comment over whether President Obama himself has seen the report as of print time.