CIA “Accidentally” Deleted and Destroyed Its Only Copy of Senate Torture Investigation
Article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.
As the government continues to suppress the entire 6,700-page Senate Torture Report, the CIA inspector general’s office recently admitted to “mistakenly” destroying their only copy of the classified report. Although CIA Director John Brennan possesses another copy of the torture report, he refuses to send a replacement to the internal watchdog’s office.
Last summer, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department were privately informed that CIA employees at the inspector general’s office had both destroyed the disk and deleted the file containing the full Senate Torture Report. Despite the fact that the Justice Department ordered all copies of the classified document to be preserved, acting CIA Inspector General Christopher Sharpley was unable to locate another copy and eventually informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that his officers has mistakenly ruined their only copies.
On November 9, 2005, CIA Director of National Clandestine Service Jose Rodriguez Jr. authorized the burning of 92 videotapes depicting the harsh interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and ’Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In response to the destruction of those tapes, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to review the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program on March 5, 2009. With access to over six million pages of CIA documents, the Committee merely provided a superficial summary without bothering to interview any participants or victims of the RDI program.
After CIA employees were caught hacking into computers belonging to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, CIA Director Brennan falsely accused the oversight committee of stealing classified files. Refusing to publicly apologize for his false accusations, Brennan later privately apologized to then-Chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Although then-CIA Inspector General David Buckley found his Agency guilty of hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers, a CIA accountability panel later overturned his findings. Since the CIA announced Buckley’s resignation early last year, his deputy CIA inspector general, Sharpley, has been serving as acting IG until the president finally appoints and the Senate confirms a new replacement.
“It’s breathtaking that this could have happened, especially in the inspector general’s office — they’re the ones that are supposed to be providing accountability within the agency itself,” CUNY School of Law Prof. Douglas Cox told Yahoo News. “It makes you wonder what was going on over there?”
Instead of releasing the entire 6,700-page Senate Torture Report, Sen. Feinstein disclosed a roughly 500-page executive summary chronicling the CIA’s kidnapping, torture, and blatant deception towards Congress and the American public. While referencing multiple human rights abuses, including waterboarding, forced rectal rehydration, and the murder of Gul Rahman, the summary neglected to mention the deaths of Abdul Wali and Manadel al-Jamadi under separate CIA interrogations or the rendition and torture of an Egyptian cleric named Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr.
Immediately after replacing Feinstein as the new Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, Sen. Richard Burr sent a letter to the White House and several other federal agencies in January 2015 demanding they return every copy of the Senate’s full 6,700-page torture report. While ignoring the Burr’s ultimatum to return the classified document, no federal employee appears to have the courage to share the historical document with the American people.
Ordered to preserve the document while not reading it, the CIA inspector general’s office instead uploaded the file onto its internal classified computer system before destroying the disk and “mistakenly” deleting their only copy of the file. On Friday, Feinstein wrote a letter asking CIA Director Brennan to give the inspector general’s office a new copy of the Senate Torture Report.
“Your prompt response will allay my concern that this was more than an ‘accident,’” Feinstein wrote. “The CIA IG should have a copy of the full Study because the report includes extensive information directly related to the IG’s ongoing oversight of the CIA.”
While declining to comment on Feinstein’s letter, Dean Boyd, the CIA’s chief of public affairs, recently told Yahoo News, “I can assure you that the CIA has retained a copy.”
Given the Agency’s history of deception and Brennan’s refusal to provide the inspector general’s office with another copy, the CIA once again appears to be operating without any oversight or accountability. Although the IG is responsible for independent oversight of the CIA, the IG actually reports to the Director of the CIA, according to the Agency’s website.
With the exception of former CIA contractor David Passaro, who beat a detainee to death with a metal flashlight, no CIA officer has yet been charged with committing torture, murder, or destruction of evidence. No charges are expected from the so-called Justice Department.