In a somewhat bizarre move, the new chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), is asking the executive branch to return copies of the committee’s report on CIA detention and interrogation practices after 9/11. While the executive summary of the report was declassified and released publicly, the full 6,000+ page report was only given to relevant members of the executive branch with the proper clearance.
But now Burr wants it back.
While he hasn’t stated his motivations for this move publicly, one can guess he’s hoping to limit leaks or head off a potential Freedom of Information Act request. These aren’t very realistic scenarios, given that the administration has had the document for over a month and the report is still highly classified.
In a statement released by Diane Feinstein, the former SSCI Chair who championed the report’s creation and partial release, she says:
“I strongly disagree that the administration should relinquish copies of the full committee study, which contains far more detailed records than the public executive summary. Doing so would limit the ability to learn lessons from this sad chapter in America’s history and omit from the record two years of work, including changes made to the committee’s 2012 report following extensive discussion with the CIA.”
Burr is mistaken if he thinks he can put the report back in the box. At a time with many other pressing intelligence concerns, this is certainly an odd way to be kicking off his term as committee chairman.