The long-delayed Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture has just been delayed again.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the panel that conducted the investigation, announced Tuesday that she has put off the release of the report until further notice because redactions by intelligence officials are obscuring the report's findings.
“After further review of the redacted version of the executive summary, I have concluded the redactions eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions,” she said. “Until these redactions are addressed to the committee’s satisfaction, the report will not be made public.”
Feinstein said she is sending a letter to President Obama calling for a series of changes to the redactions that she said Democrats on the panel believe are necessary before publicly releasing it.
“The White House and the intelligence community have committed to working through these changes in good faith,” she said, noting that the process will take “some time” and the report will not be released until she is “satisfied that all redactions are appropriate.”
After an exhaustive investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Intelligence Committee Democrats were expected to release their findings in the coming days.
But on Friday Feinstein signaled that she received a heavily redacted executive summary of the report that afternoon and warned that she would need additional time to understand the justification for the obscured passages. Reviewing the redactions could take days, if not weeks.
The report’s release will undoubtedly resurrect a fierce partisan debate over a dark chapter in the CIA’s history, when it used waterboarding and other “harsh interrogation” practices from 2002 to 2006, during the administration of former President George W. Bush.
Republicans on the Intelligence Committee refused to participate in the investigation, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the ranking Republican on the panel, last week called the study an “ideologically motivated and distorted recounting of events” that reopens a debate that the executive branch and the Supreme Court settled years ago.
Feinstein, however, has defended Democrats investigation as necessary to ensure that the U.S. never violates its principles by engaging in torture again.
“I believe the best way to accomplish that is to make public our thorough documentary history of the CIA’s program,” she said Monday. “That is why I believe taking our time and getting it right is so important, and I will not rush this process.”