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CIA Slams Senate Democrats as Dangerously Eager for Declassification

The CIA rejected Senate Committee on Intel allegations of torture report delays.

MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - The CIA has rejected allegations of temporizing the joint White House/Senate committee/CIA report on Al-Qaeda detainees’ torture after Senate Democrats had accused them of having not declassified enough information.

The US Senate, the CIA and the White House have been working on a paper that reveals the role of the CIA in the alleged torture of the captured al-Qaeda members and that is still due to be released. However, some Senators have recently claimed the CIA is insisting on blacking out the cover names of agents involved with the alleged harsh treatment as they fear the latter may be identified. On its part, the CIA yesterday rejected such claims, having stated that the Senate’s Intel Committee is to blame for the lengthy delays in publication of the paper.

“The suggestion that CIA is delaying or obstructing the negotiations over redactions is patently false,” Agency spokesman Ryan Trapani said as quoted by the whistleblower blog The Intercept.

“CIA has been doing all it can to bring the process to a conclusion as expeditiously as possible, in order that we can fully focus on the many threats facing our nation.”

He went on to elaborate that the publication process has been delayed by “the Committee’s objections to the redactions.” Senate wants further declassifications, according to the anonymous source in the Committee, who was reported as saying: “in the ensuing weeks and months we have debated the issue and sought further unredactions. And the CIA/White House/Office of the Director of National Intelligence have collectively agreed to unredact or declassify a fair amount of information that we believe is necessary.” However, the source said: “We continue to seek additional material… that we believe is important.”
The day before, Ron Wyden, a Democrat Senator of Oregon, claimed that "the intelligence leadership doing everything they can to bury the facts," as reported by AP.Sen. Wyden has become known as one of the most coherent critics of the secretive agencies of the US government.

The 600-pages summary of the report is being revised by the Obama administration, the CIA and the respective Senate committee, and the three entities are discussing what parts of the report should be censored as to not damage the US national security. This huge declassification initiative has started in April as a part of the US Government’s response to the Edward Snowden revelations in order to win back the shaken public trust. The report is expected to be released for the public at some point after the mid-term election.

“Making public those pseudonyms associated with individual officers, as well as dates, locations and other identifying information related to those officers dramatically increases the likelihood that they will be exposed and potentially subject to threats or violence,” Mr. Trapani noted. However, he said that about 15% of the information in the report was blacked out by the White House, not the CIA, and the rest 85% remain unedited. The Senate committee is pushing, on its part, for a greater share of the unredacted information in the final version of the report.

Previously, regarding the matter, the whistleblowers alleged that the White House and the CIA conspired to drag time until the likely Republican takeover in the US Congress so that the report could be ‘buried’, hinting that the Democrat-controlled Senate committee is the only faction interested in revealing the truth. Mr. Trapani responded to these allegations as well as saying; “CIA worked extensively to assist SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Inteligence] in completing this Study. CIA expects this report to be released, consistent with the SSCI vote. Anyone suggesting that we are trying to stall to January does not understand the basic facts of this matter.”

The Obama administration alleges that the CIA have used torment techniques like waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation on some inmates jailed on charges and/or suspicion of terrorist activity or affiliation with terrorist organizations. The expected report on such cases is expected to initiate a transparent public discussion on whether the counter-terrorist methods are appropriate, and if not, how should the US national security be protected in the future.

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