Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in response to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) demand that all copies of the committee’s Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation be returned to the committee:
“I’m concerned and disappointed that Chairman Burr demanded the return of copies of the classified edition of the torture report. The fact that he would take this divisive action without notifying or consulting with the Democrats on the committee is a departure from the bipartisan nature of this committee. It’s particularly troubling he would take this divisive action while the committee is conducting its Russian investigation.
“The committee voted in March 2009 to initiate a report on harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA on detainees during the Bush administration. After almost four years of hard work, the committee approved the report in December 2012. The CIA was afforded the opportunity to respond and where appropriate, changes were made and the CIA’s responses were included in the footnotes. The committee then voted to declassify and release the executive summary and the findings and conclusions in December 2014.
“Chairman Burr’s assertion that he, today, has authority over a final Senate report completed prior to him assuming the chairmanship is both alarming and concerning. This creates a dangerous precedent that a current chairman could question acts of previous congresses and countless historical reports and records and essentially nullify reports produced by a prior congress under a different chairman.
“No senator—chairman or not—has the authority to erase history. I believe that is the intent of the chairman in this case.
“I’m profoundly disappointed that CIA Director Pompeo would approve this action. Members, including myself, carefully questioned him during his confirmation process about his views on torture. He clearly stated his opposition to torture and made a commitment to read the full classified report. I very much doubt that he has had an opportunity to fulfill that commitment.
“The report is an important tool to help educate our intelligence agencies about a dark chapter of our nation’s history. Without copies of it, the lessons we’ve learned will be forgotten. The intelligence agencies have a moral, if not legal, obligation to retain every copy of this report for posterity.”
In 2014, a copy of the report was given to the CIA, CIA inspector general, FBI, Director of National Intelligence and the departments of Justice, State and Defense.
Senator Feinstein has confirmed that so far the CIA, CIA inspector general and the DNI have complied with the chairman’s demand.
In a questionnaire before his confirmation, CIA Director Pompeo stated he had not read the full report but committed to reading it if confirmed. He also stated he would reject attempts by the new administration to use torture as an interrogation technique.