Sen. Dianne Feinstein: White House Trying to Obscure Facts in CIA Report

Image: Sen. Dianne Feinstein: White House Trying to Obscure Facts in CIA Report (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 06 Aug 2014 09:28 AM

By Elliot Jager

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A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee detailing the CIA's rendition, detention, and interrogation program during the George W. Bush administration is being further delayed over a dispute involving how much of the report has been censored, The New York Times reported.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that censorship by the Obama administration, which put the CIA in charge of clearing the report, was so heavy-handed that items which should have been left in were expunged. Among the items removed were successful methods that the CIA used to gather information that did not rely on torture, and the pseudonyms of CIA officers who engaged in the controversial interrogations.

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"Until these redactions are addressed to the committee's satisfaction, the report will not be made public," said Feinstein, the Guardian reported.

President Barack Obama is on record as opposing the CIA's Bush-era interrogation methods. He shut down the agency's detention program upon taking office. There remains the perception that the White House is protecting the CIA, according to the Times.

"The bottom line is that the United States must never again make the mistakes documented in this report," Feinstein said. "I believe the best way to accomplish that is to make public our thorough documentary history of the CIA's program," the Times reported.

Some of the redacted information was previously released in a 2009 report by the Armed Services Committee, according to Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, the committee chairman, the Times reported. He said the White House censorship was "totally unacceptable," according to the Guardian.

The White House argues that releasing the pseudonyms could be used as a tool for those who want to discover the identities of the CIA officers.

The committee wants to reveal that terrorist plots were thwarted without having to engage in torture, presumably undermining CIA claims that its program was essential for national security, according to the Times.

"If you redact the information about those other intelligence-gathering means, it cripples the report," a confidential source told the Times.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said "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," the Times reported.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that "more than 85 percent of the committee report has been declassified, and half of the redactions are in footnotes," the Guardian reported.

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