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CIA Whistleblower: Obama Must Declassify Torture Report For Future Generations

A coalition, including CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, demanded President Barack Obama declassify and release the full report on CIA torture produced by the Senate intelligence committee in 2013.

In 2014, only a summary of the torture report was released. Obama remains opposed to releasing the full 6,300-page report.

Kiriakou told Shadowproof, “I’ve come to the belief we need to do it for future generations. I think that the American people are owed an honest accounting of what our government has done in our name—the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

“I understand the need to protect CIA equities, sources, and methods, but at the same time, the American people have a right to know. This is history. This is who we are, and we really do need the information so that scholars and others can analyze it and so we don’t make the same mistakes in the future that we’ve made in the past,” Kiriakou added.

Kiriakou was one of the first officials to confirm waterboarding was part of administration policy under President George W. Bush. He believed the torture program was illegal and clearly against the Torture Victim Protection Act and the code the U.S. adopted to comply with the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

At a press conference at the National Press Club, Kiriakou insisted we could stop Trump and his administration from bringing back torture if we release the full report.

David Swanson, a campaign coordinator with RootsAction.org, said Obama can take a “serious step for truth and accountability and the rule of law by making this report public now.”

Sue Udry, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, speaking about President-elect Donald Trump, added, “We’re worried, frightened, horrified at what we see—an incoming administration of men so depraved and ignorant that they openly proclaim their support for torture.”

“These men need to read the torture report, and we need that torture report to be made public so that we can call out their lies and misrepresentation that torture works, that it wasn’t that bad, or that what was done in our name was not torture,” Udry suggested.

Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture said there are “millions of Americans, who remain absolutely sick at heart at the unimpeachable fact that America tortured.” There has been nothing close to a reckoning with the country’s grave crimes, which were committed.

He celebrated the torture report as a document capable of burnishing “into the public record and the consciousness of the nation the sordid fact that America tortured so that no one of any responsibility can either deny that it happened or claim that it worked. At least, we can have the deterrence of this narrative.”

There were no prosecutions of officials responsible for torture. That is a major part of President Obama’s legacy.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who played an instrumental role in ensuring the torture report was produced, urged Obama to declassify the full report before leaving office. However, he made it part of his “presidential papers” so it is not destroyed by the Trump administration. It may become public in 2029.

Feinstein could read it into the record on Capitol Hill, if she really does not want it to be secret for the next 12 years. There is no indication currently that she plans to take such action.

Kiriakou contended the CIA may be able to take action to ensure the report is not released. “There are still World War II-era documents that are not declassified.” So, what Obama did is “not good enough.”

“What we need right now is presidential action because this really ought to be a part of the public record,” Kiriakou concluded.

Roots Action circulated a petition on this matter and collected over 70,000 signatures.

Here’s video of the full press conference at the National Press Club:

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."