Feinstein: CIA should not lead declassification review of report about interrogation tactics

McClatchy Washington BureauApril 8, 2014 

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has called for the White House _ not the Central Intelligence Agency _ to lead the declassification process of the executive summary of the Committees massive 6,600 page study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

In a letter to the president dated April 7 and obtained by McClatchy, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for swift action on the summary and the findings and conclusions of the report, which members voted last week to declassify. The summary, Feinstein said, should be released “quickly and with minimal redactions.”

“As this report covers a covert action program under the authority of the President and National Security Council, I respectfully request that the White House take the lead in the declassification process,” the letter reads.

Feinstein’s request contradicts both the White House and CIA, both of whom have suggested in recent days that the agency would spearhead the declassification process.

“The CIA, in consultation with other agencies, will conduct the declassification review,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said after the committee vote last week.

Feinstein’s letter said the committee now has a final and official version of the report, totaling more than 6,600 pages and containing more than 37,000 footnotes. The final version, which comes after months of revisions, will be sent to the White House and other executive branch agencies in the near future, the letter says. Feinstein, however, has said she does not intend to push for further declassification at this time.

The letter also highlights concerns over the CIA’s relations with both Feinsteins committee and the executive branch.

“The committee’s report contradicts information previously disclosed about the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program, and it raises a number of issues relating to how the CIA interacts with the White House, other parts of the Executive Branch, and Congress,” the letter says.

Although the letter gave no hard deadline, Feinstein has said she hopes the executive summary along with the reports findings and conclusions can be returned to the committee within a month.

“Hopefully the declassification can be done in as little as 30 days _ that may be wishful thinking, but I hope not,” she said last week.

Feinstein’s letter was the latest development in the battle between the CIA and its chief congressional overseers, which spilled on to the public forum last month with revelations that the agency had allegedly spied on Intelligence Committee staffers during the course of the panels four-year study. McClatchy first revealed the fierce, closed-door dispute in early March.

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