Leading Senate Democrats, including the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, are upset with the intelligence committee for redacting too much of a panel report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement Friday that “more than 85% of the Committee Report has been declassified, and half of the redactions are in footnotes.”
“The redactions were the result of an extensive and unprecedented interagency process, headed up by my office, to protect sensitive classified information,” Clapper said. “We are confident that the declassified document delivered to the Committee will provide the public with a full view of the Committee’s report on the detention and interrogation program, and we look forward to a constructive dialogue with the Committee.”
Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), though, said in a statement yesterday that she reviewed the redacted version of the report’s executive summary and “concluded that certain redactions eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions.”
“Until these redactions are addressed to the committee’s satisfaction, the report will not be made public,” she added. It was to come as early as next week.
The majority report will be countered by committee Republicans’ own report, which is expected to argue that enhanced interrogation techniques have been helpful in the war on terror.
“I am sending a letter today to the president laying out a series of changes to the redactions that we believe are necessary prior to public release. The White House and the intelligence community have committed to working through these changes in good faith. This process will take some time, and the report will not be released until I am satisfied that all redactions are appropriate,” Feinstein said.
“The bottom line is that the United States must never again make the mistakes documented in this report. I believe the best way to accomplish that is to make public our thorough documentary history of the CIA’s program. That is why I believe taking our time and getting it right is so important, and I will not rush this process.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) called the CIA’s redactions “totally unacceptable.”
“Classification should be used to protect sources and methods or the disclosure of information which could compromise national security, not to avoid disclosure of improper acts or embarrassing information,” Levin said. “But in reviewing the CIA-proposed redactions, I saw multiple instances where CIA proposes to redact information that has already been publicly disclosed in the Senate Armed Services Committee report on detainee abuse that was reviewed by the administration and authorized for release in 2009.”
“The White House needs to take hold of this process and ensure that all information that should be declassified is declassified.”