The full 6,700 page CIA report on torture was believed to have been destroyed, or so the agency said for months, until its acting inspector general, Christopher Sharpley, revealed Tuesday that in fact the report had not been shredded.
“What we have is a situation set in motion, unfortunately,” by former US President Barack Obama and ex-CIA chief John Brennan, Kiriakou, former CIA officer and Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigator, told Loud & Clear on Radio Sputnik Wednesday. Obama first tapped Sharpley as interim inspector general.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US, officials engaged in various torture techniques, including “waterboarding,” but the practices only came into more public view with the publication of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee’s heavily redacted 499-page “torture report” in 2014.
California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein still wants the complete 6,700 page report declassified, Reuters writes, but the lawmaker has faced opposition from Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who now chairs the chamber’s Select Committee on Intelligence.
Kiriakou, senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2011 and one of the first people to publicly disclose the nature of CIA “enhanced interrogation” techniques, said Sharpley is the “opposite” kind of person who should be the agency’s inspector general, since the IG should theoretically be the person keeping the agency in line. The CIA faces three lawsuits from torture whistleblowers, he pointed out, and until this week Sharpley has maintained that “apparently the CIA’s only copy” of its report had been destroyed.
“The full report has never been made public,” Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture told Loud & Clear in the same segment. “Republicans in Congress wanted all copies to be destroyed, period,” before Donald Trump was sworn in as president; now, many in Washington want the report’s existence to remain a secret to protect the second Bush administration and the CIA as an institution, Varon explained.
“It’s embarrassing and I have apologized,” Sharpley said Tuesday during a confirmation hearing to become the agency’s bona fide, not merely interim, inspector general. Trump approved his predecessor’s choice of Sharpley for the appointment.
It was only through ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation that the existence of the supposedly destroyed document came to light.
Sharpley had said in early 2015 that a CIA employee had wiped the report from the agency’s electronic and physical records, precisely because of the FOIA litigation. The agency was told to save a copy, but that message was apparently garbled, Sharpley reported at the time, saying he was told it had been lost.
Later, during FOIA legal proceedings, the report was ruled a “Congressional” document immune to FOIA requests, according to Reuters, and sometime later was found again. Because it was revealed that the report couldn’t be made public during the litigation, the public was inadvertently alerted to the news that the document still exists, if not to its contents.
Kiriakou said it was “correct” that the CIA had ordered an operation to muddy the Congressional probe into the intelligence agency’s probe.
“It’s funny to me how quickly the American people seem to have forgotten that John Brennan ordered CIA officers and CIA contractors to do exactly that — to hack into Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers and indeed to remove CIA documents that had been in the senate investigator’s queues for further investigation,” the 14-year CIA veteran said.
The Justice Department would later pass on prosecuting the officers involved in the operation, Kiriakou noted. Brennan said he was sorry to Feinstein and the committee for ordering the operation, “and the issue just kind of went away.”
“I don’t think the American people will ever know the full scope of the CIA’s torture program,” since it’s unlikely the CIA documents will ever be declassified so they can be put to scrutiny, Kiriakou concluded.