Is anyone surprised that the Obama administration is trying as hard as it can to stop the Senate CIA torture report from being released? It blatantly obvious that they do not want this report made public and are hoping that the incoming chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-SC), who is best buds with the intelligence community, will bury the report. The current stall is over the redaction of pseudonyms. The White House wants the aliases redacted arguing that it would expose the people they wish to protect. It is quite possible that if known, there people would face arrest and prosecution.
The fight between the White House and the Committee came to a head on Tuesday during the weekly briefing with the Senate Democrats and White House Chief of Staff and CIA Director John Brennan’s best bud, Denis McDonough:
“It was a vigorous, vigorous and open debate — one of the best and most thorough discussions I’ve been a part of while here,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who served as intelligence committee chair before Feinstein, was furious after the meeting, and accused the administration of deliberately stalling the report.
“It’s being slow-walked to death. They’re doing everything they can not to release it,” Rockefeller told HuffPost.
“It makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad, which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future,” he continued. “The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”
As negotiations continue, Rockefeller said Democrats were thinking creatively about how to resolve the dispute. “We have ideas,” he said, adding that reading the report’s executive summary into the record on the Senate floor would probably meet with only limited success. “The question would be how much you could read before they grabbed you and hauled you off.” [..]
Rockefeller said the administration’s unwillingness to use aliases reflects a broader contempt for congressional oversight.
“The White House doesn’t want to release this. They don’t have to. And all we do is oversight, and they’ve never taken our oversight seriously,” he said. (He then added that he did allow for one exception, the Church Committee.) “Under Bush there was no oversight at all. Remember the phrase, ‘Congress has been briefed’? What that meant was that I and our chairman […] and two comparable people in the House had met with [former Vice President Dick] Cheney in his office for 45 minutes and given a little whirley birdie and a couple charts.”
“They had a specialty for being unforthcoming in our efforts at oversight,” he added, “and therefore there is no incentive for them to change their behavior.”
Time is running out. It’s clear that one or more of the senators will need to take some drastic action. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who was defeated in the midterm elections, has said that he is considering reading the unredacted report into the Congressional Record on the Senate floor, a move that is protected by the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause.
It is time to release the torture report. Please sign the Act Blue petition to urge Sen. Udall to read the report into the congressional record.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture report” is expected to detail shocking abuse of prisoners at the hands of the CIA during the Bush administration, and even possible CIA lying to Congress.
But seven months after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted overwhelmingly to release the report to the American people, the White House is stonewalling Congress and demanding “redactions”-blacked-out sections and information-before making its contents public.
But there’s a way around that-and before the end of the year, we have a rare chance to make it happen.
Members of Congress have an absolute right to free speech, and a member could enter the report into the Congressional Record in its entirety-just as the Pentagon Papers were in 1971-without fear of prosecution.
That’s exactly what transparency advocates are calling on outgoing, staunchly anti-torture and pro-transparency Sen. Mark Udall to do.
Sign the petition to Sen. Mark Udall: If you enter the torture report into the Congressional Record, we’ll have your back.
Our Message to Sen. Mark Udall:
Before leaving office, please submit the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report to the Congressional Record. We know that you are considering undertaking this heroic and courageous act, and we and countless others will support you if you choose to do so.
We will deliver a copy of this petition and a list of signers to Sen. Mark Udall, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and President Obama to make sure our message is heard.
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