Feinstein Withholds Report on CIA Torture, Writes Letter to Obama

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted August 5, 2014 at 5:14pm

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein isn’t happy with the redactions being demanded by the administration to her committee’s report on torture by the CIA, and she wants the president to intervene.  

The California Democrat said she will seek a series of changes to mitigate redactions to the report’s summary made by the White House that have made the document essentially unreadable.  

“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,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This process will take some time, and the report will not be released until I am satisfied that all redactions are appropriate.” Without getting into specifics, Feinstein said in her statement, “the redactions eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions.”  

McClatchy reported Monday that the Intelligence Committee found the administration redacted pseudonyms used to protect individuals and countries referred to in the report. Without those references, it might prove impossible to cross-reference events and details.  

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Monday that President Barack Obama wanted the report released as quickly as possible, but said that there were national security considerations.  

“We’re talking about very sensitive information here. And it is important that a declassification process be carried out that protects sources and methods and other information that is critical to our national security,” Earnest said. “And that is why the intelligence community has worked through a very rigorous process to ensure that those pieces of information are protected.”  

Earnest also highlighted what he called “the president’s clearly stated desire to be as transparent as possible about this.”  

“That all being said, this administration and the relevant national security agencies have indicated a willingness to sit down with those who have spoken out about this just in the last couple of days to try to find some common ground here and satisfy their concerns so that we can get this report released as quickly as possible,” Earnest said.  

But, given Feinstein’s concerns about redactions, “quickly” might not happen in the immediate future.