|Udall, Rockefeller (US Senate Historical Office)|
The process of compiling, drafting, redacting and now releasing this report has been much harder than it needed to be... By releasing the Intelligence Committee's landmark report, we reaffirm that we are a nation that does not hide from its past but learns from it, and that an honest examination of our shortcomings is not a sign of weakness but the strength of our great republic. From the heavily redacted version... delivered to the committee by the CIA in August, we made significant progress in clearing away the thick, obfuscating fog these redactions represented... [O]ur committee chipped away at over 400 areas of disagreement with the administration on redactions down to just a few... [T]he redaction process itself was filled with unwarranted and completely unnecessary obstacles...
In light of the president's... executive order disavowing torture, his... acknowledgement "we tortured some folks," and Asst. Secy. of State [Tomasz] Malinowski's statement... to the UN Committee against Torture that "we hope to lead by example" in correcting our mistakes, one would think this administration is leading the efforts to right the wrongs of the past and ensure the American people learn the truth about the CIA's torture program. Not so.
|The late Sen. Frank|
Church, D-ID (US Senate
Those who criticize the committee's study for [supposedly] overly focusing on the past should understand its findings directly relate to how the CIA operates today... We know about the nearly 1,000 documents the CIA electronically removed from the committee's dedicated database on two occasions in 2010, which the CIA claimed its personnel did at the direction of the White House...
In December 2012, when the classified study was approved in a bipartisan vote, the committee asked the White House to coordinate any executive branch comments prior to declassification. The White House provided no comment. Instead, the CIA responded for the executive branch... on June 27, 2013. The CIA's formal response to this study under Director Brennan clings to false narratives about the CIA's effectiveness when it comes to the CIA's detention and interrogation program. It includes many factual inaccuracies, defends the use of torture, and attacks the committee's oversight and findings... I believe its flippant and dismissive tone represents the CIA's approach to oversight and the White House's willingness to let the CIA do whatever it likes...
In March 2009, then-CIA director Leon Panetta announced the formation of a director's review group to look at the agency's detention and interrogation program... The director's review group looked at the same CIA documents that were being provided to our committee and they produced a series of documents that became the Panetta Review... [T]he Panetta Review corroborates many of the significant findings of the committee's study. Moreover, the Panetta Review frankly acknowledges significant problems and errors made in the CIA's detention and interrogation program. Many of these same errors are denied or minimized in the Brennan Response...
Let me turn to the search of the Intelligence Committee's... dedicated computers in January. The CIA's illegal search was conducted out of concern the committee staff was provided with the Panetta Review... Instead of just asking the committee if it had access to the Panetta Review, the CIA searched, without authorization or notification, the committee computers the agency had agreed were off limits, and in so doing, the agency may have violated... the Constitution as well as federal criminal statues and Executive Order 12333... [D]espite admitting behind closed doors to the committee the CIA conducted the search, Dir. Brennan publicly... said such allegations of computer hacking were beyond "the scope of reason."
|Panetta (Glenn Fawcett/|
Dept. of Defense)
There are more questions that need answers about the role of the White House in the committee's study. For example, there are the 9,400 documents... withheld from the committee by the White House... The White House has never made a formal claim of executive privilege over the documents, yet it has failed to respond to the chairman's request for the documents or to compromise-proposals she has offered to review a summary listing of them. When I asked CIA general counsel Stephen Preston about the documents, he noted "the agency has deferred to the White House and has not been substantially involved in subsequent discussions about the disposition of these documents." ...White House officials need to explain why they pulled back documents the CIA believed were relevant to the committee's investigation and responsive to our direct request.
The White House has not led on this issue in the manner we expected when we heard the president's campaign speeches in 2008 and read the executive order he issued... [A]fter so much has come to light about the CIA's barbaric program... Pres. Obama's response was that we "crossed a line" as a nation and that "hopefully, we don't do it again..." That's not good enough. We need to be better than that. There can be no cover-up. There can be no excuses. If there's no more leadership from the White House helping the public understand the CIA's torture program wasn't necessary..., what's to stop the next White House and CIA director from supporting torture?
|Feinstein, D-CA (US|
Senate Historical Office)
[T]he White House and the CIA would not agree to include any pseudonyms in the study to disguise the names of CIA officers... [I]t's unprecedented for the CIA to demand and the White House agree every CIA officer's pseudonym in a study be blacked out... We asked the CIA to identify any instances in the summary wherein a... pseudonym would result in the outing of any undercover officer, and they could not... The CIA's insistence on blacking out even the fake names of its officers is problematic because the study is less readable and has lost some of its narrative thread...
[P]eople engaged in torture. Some of these people are still employed by the CIA... It's bad enough not to prosecute these officials, but to reward or promote them and risk the integrity of the US government to protect them is incomprehensible. The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to... this program. He needs to force a cultural change at the CIA. The president also should support legislation limiting interrogation to non-coercive techniques to ensure his own executive order is codified and to prevent a future administration from developing its own torture program. The president must ensure the Panetta Review is declassified and publicly released. The full 6,800-page study on the CIA's detention and interrogation program should be declassified and released...
It is always easier to accept what we are told at face value than it is to ask tough questions. [But i]f we rely on others to tell us what's behind their own curtain instead of taking a look for ourselves, we can't know for certain what's there... [I]t's incumbent on government leaders... to live up to the dedication of [government] employees and to make them proud of the institutions they work for... [F]or Dir. Brennan, that means resigning. For the next CIA director, that means immediately correcting the false record and instituting the necessary reforms to restore the CIA's reputation for integrity and analytical rigor. The CIA cannot be its best until it faces the serious and grievous mistakes of the detention and interrogation program. And for Pres. Obama, that means taking real action to live up to the pledges he made early in his presidency.
The additional information Rockefeller's remarks provided about Obama's efforts to frustrate the committee's performance was, "In some instances, the White House asked not only that information be redacted but that the redaction itself be removed so it would be impossible for the reader to tell something was hidden. Strange."