Transparency

White House Wants to Redact the Hell Out of Torture Report. Will a Leaker Save Us?

|

Except for the people who did it, apparently.
Credit: Fibonacci Blue / photo on flickr

The most transparent administration ever has managed to infuriate the left's top national security state defender, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), even further. The CIA already drew her ire in a way even libertarians can appreciate (and yet still laugh at) when they snooped on staffers from the Senate Intelligence Committee as they put together a massive report analyzing the CIA's use of torture under President George W. Bush. The CIA ended up apologizing to her, and now there are calls to dump CIA Director John Brennan after he initially scoffed at Feinstein's complaints.

Now, as the government considers unclassified just a small portion of the full torture report, the 480 page "executive summary," she's battling the White House and the CIA again over how much of the report they want to take a black pen to. As a result, we probably won't be seeing the report anytime soon. Officials defending the move say they've only redacted 15 percent of the content. But that 15 percent matters. From The Washington Post:

U.S. officials familiar with the redacted document said the administration stripped out material that showed that pieces of information long attributed to detainees — and that led to the disruption of terrorism plots or the capture of additional suspects — had actually come from other intelligence sources such as intercepted communications.

"The redactions obscure or prevent the report from sharing other forms of information that contributed to counterterrorism successes," said a U.S. official involved in discussions over the document.

The committee used CIA-provided pseudonyms to protect the identities of agency personnel, but the agency removed references to those false identities. The CIA also objected to other details that it said could enable readers to identify its officers as well as countries that cooperated in the detention program.

An official familiar with the redactions said the amount of detail associated with the pseudonyms could jeopardize CIA officers' safety. "A pseudonym itself is little protection from exposure when a host of other information about that officer is made available to the public and will likely be seen by adversaries and foreign intelligence services," the official said.

Maybe we'll just have to wait for another whistleblower to leak an unredacted copy to find out what's really happening. We've drawn attention to a couple of big scoops over at The Intercept about the contents of the federal government's terrorist watch list guidelines. The information did not originate from Edward Snowden, and now the feds have realized they may have another leaker on their hands. CNN notes:

The article cites documents prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center dated August 2013, which is after Snowden left the United States to avoid criminal charges.

[Glenn] Greenwald has suggested there was another leaker. In July, he said on Twitter "it seems clear at this point" that there was another.

Government officials have been investigating to find out that identity.

No doubt, they intend to thank him for all his or her good work at making sure America remains a free and open country.

NEXT: In New Polls, Americans Give Pretty Much All Elected Officials in Government Thumbs Down

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Wait, the summary is 480 pages? Any word on how long the report proper is?

    1. If it was a proper report it would have no redactions, so we could see exactly what these monsters are doing in our name.

    2. It’s more than 6,000 pages. Crap, I meant to mention that.

      1. War and Peace Renditions

        1. War is Peace Renditions.

          FIFY.

  2. The torture tapes were destroyed by the CIA in 2005.

    http://content.time.com/time/n…..13,00.html

    Therefore all involved are not guilty.

    1. Hope and Change pal. Still hopin’ for that change. Maybe after the Lightworker closes Gitmo, he can start working on ending the rendition and the torture.

      1. Well, we know that Obama has not engaged in any rendition or torture because [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]

      2. The current chief prefers a good murder dronin over that silly torture stuff.

    2. Hey, sometimes tapes or hard drives malfunction. It’s not a conspiracy.

  3. Did we think they were tortured by face-licking puppies? People should probably just assume the worst without the need to even read the report.

    1. Assume the worst, because the reality is probably even worse than that.

    2. They waterboarded puppies?!?

      1. Usually they just shoot them.

        1. Hilariously, the local NBC affiliate ran the ‘We tortured some people’ story immediately before the ‘NYPD strangles man to death for (allegedly) trafficking cigarettes.’

          My wife, who often defends the law, had to concede the point.

      2. The cops are going to be angry when they hear about that. Wasting perfectly good puppies on water boarding when they would make for such excellent target practice.

    3. The real problem is that you can’t tell what was redacted because it is horrible behavior and what is redacted because it would make someone in the Executive branch look bad.

      1. The real problem is that you can’t tell what was redacted because it is horrible behavior and what is redacted because it would make someone in the Executive branch look bad.

        Our elected officials were only covering up torture and perjuring themselves to defend the practice and/or save face… whew!

        What difference, at this point, does it make?

        1. The fact that they can do that is an obvious flaw in our system. The Censor wouldn’t tolerate such things.

  4. I have a startling revelation to make. My HD at work crashed a few days ago. After they installed a new HD, I went to look and ALL OF MY EMAILS ARE STILL THERE! What is this miracle that our government is not privy to?

    1. Quota + Archive

  5. I heard the weirdest thing today. CNN was talking about Gaza and noted that there were an estimated 3,000 rockets fired by Hamas, 20,000 fired by the Israelis since the latest conflict fired up (think the 3,000 were over a longer time). They were definitely suggesting that this number demonstrated a disproportionate response. Regardless of how you view these combatants, is that really a consistent position for a U.S. media outlet to take? I mean, shock and awe, right? Or should the U.S. fight with both hands behind its back?

    Israel can be criticized for many things, but I don’t think they’re obligated to only match the force used against them. The idea is to stop the force, right?

    1. CNN has had their asses handed to them a couple of times since the conflict started. They should really just give up at this point.

      1. Why is it their job to favor one side over the other? I mean, why not just report on what’s going on?

  6. Matching the amount of force used will lead to a war of attrition and dramatically increase overall casualties. Like most subjects the media has no clue what its talking about, but gives their opinion anyway.

  7. The report, done by the demoncraps, is sure to be a load of excrement.
    IMHO our policy on torture – still haven’t seen a definition of the term – is that we should use the same level as our enemy uses.
    Since our enemy goes so far as to behead, then we can go up to that point, but no further.

  8. There are lies told to protect the defenseless.
    There are lies told to protect the endangered.
    There are lies told to protect the honestly mistaken.
    There are lies told to protect the foolish.
    There are lies told to protect the truly evil.
    There are lies told because it’s just so much fun to lie.

    I don’t like Dianne Feinstein, but in this case she’s on the side of the angels. Either John Brennan shows up tomorrow with a bag full of the heads of those who lied to him, or Feinstein gets his head to hang on the wall of her office. Lying to Congress about a government function it is their duty to supervise is unforgivable.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.