Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First welcomes President Barack Obama’s unequivocal statement today that he supports declassification and public release of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. Today’s announcement comes one day after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the intelligence committee, responded to recent allegations that the CIA monitored computers provided to committee staff investigating the agency’s program. Human Rights First urges the committee to move swiftly with a vote to declassify and publicly release the report.
“President Obama rightly recognized the importance of publicly releasing the report,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “As the president noted in today’s comments, only when the American people see what was done in their name can we learn from past mistakes and move forward as nation.”
The intelligence committee study is the culmination of an oversight effort that the Senate intelligence committee began five years ago. Today is the first time President Obama has publicly said he is “absolutely committed” to releasing the report.
The 6,000-plus page report on the former CIA detention and torture program was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 9-6 in December 2012. The report’s public release promises to formally set the record straight on claims that torture played a significant role in gaining actionable intelligence, such as the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Sen. Feinstein has denied that torture or other abusive interrogation techniques played any such role.
“With President Obama’s full support behind release of the report, there’s no reason that the Senate committee shouldn’t act swiftly to vote to declassify this comprehensive study,” noted Wala.