WASHINGTON President Barack Obama’s administration has decided to include a massive report on the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” in his presidential papers, meaning it may eventually be declassified.
The White House wrote to Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Dec. 9 informing them of its decision.
Feinstein, who released the letter on Monday, said Obama had refused to declassify the report at this time but she was pleased it would go into his archive, meaning it would one day be available for declassification.
“The report represents six years of hard work by dedicated staff, and I firmly believe its 6,700 pages and 38,000 footnotes will stand the test of time. I also strongly believe that this must be a lesson learned — that torture doesn’t work,” Feinstein said in a statement.
A White House spokesman confirmed the decision. Burr’s office had no immediate comment.
Feinstein and other congressional Democrats had urged Obama to declassify and release the report before Republican President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Feinstein chaired the intelligence panel as it researched and wrote the report on the interrogation techniques used in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, and she spearheaded the effort to expose the CIA’s actions.
The committee, then led by Democrats, released a 525-page executive summary of its findings in December 2014. But the full report has been deemed by Obama and others as too sensitive to release.
Trump promised during his campaign that he would not only revive waterboarding, but bring back “a hell of a lot worse” if elected. However, he said more recently that retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, his nominee for secretary of defence, had persuasively argued against it.
Obama ended the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” via executive order just after he took office in January 2009. Led by Republican Senator John McCain and Feinstein, Congress has since passed legislation outlawing their use.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Tom Brown)