On Thursday, human rights and civil liberties took a hit when a federal judge ruled that the 7,000 page Senate report on the CIA’s torture practices during interrogations after 9/11 would not be released to the public. The report reveals that the CIA participated in gruesome torture, which sometimes led to death.
According to RT, so far, only a 480 page Executive Summary was released to the public. While civil liberties advocates have cited the Freedom Information Act in attaining the rest of the document, Washington D.C. US District Judge James E. Boasberg stated that these documents are exempt from the FOIA, because the report was conducted by a congressional committee.
“Congress has undoubted authority to keep its records secret, authority rooted in the Constitution, longstanding practice, and current congressional rules.”
However, there are still two pathways for the document to be released to the public, the first of which is that it be entered into the Executive Branch system of records, which would make it open to a FOIA request. When former committee chairwoman Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) forwarded the copy of the full report to the CIA and the White House, she encouraged Barack Obama to use the report in development of the CIA, however her successor Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has demanded the return of this report, and that it not be entered into the system so that it remains unreleased.
The other body that could facilitate the release is the American Civil Liberties Union. According to Boasberg,
“(The ACLU) and the public may well ultimately gain access to the document it seeks, but it is not for the Court to expedite the process.”
The ACLU disagrees and is planning to use the Executive Branch’s attainment of the document to argue that it is susceptible to FOIA, according to Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project.
“The Senate’s landmark investigation into a dark period of our nation’s history should not stay behind closed government doors, but needs to see the light of day.”
[RT] [Image from ABC]