December 12, 2016

Wyden Calls for Preservation, Distribution and Declassification of Torture Report

Naming the Report a Presidential Record Falls Far Short of What’s Needed; Keeps Report Off-Limits from Policymakers and the Public for More Than a Decade

Washington, D.C. – Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today renewed his call for the president to preserve, distribute and declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. He said the president’s decision to establish the study as a presidential record falls far short of what’s necessary.

“We’re going to start on the very first day of the new session building a bipartisan coalition to get the study declassified.  The American people deserve the opportunity to read this history rather than see it locked away in a safe for twelve years.  When the president-elect has promised to bring back torture, it is also more critical than ever that the study be made available to cleared personnel throughout the federal government who are responsible for authorizing and implementing our country’s detention and interrogation policies,” Wyden said.

Wyden called on the president to establish the study as a federal record under the Federal Records Act and an agency record under the Freedom of Information Act, and to distribute the study among cleared personnel in the federal government. He also called on the president to direct that the study be declassified, with minimal redactions necessary to protect national security, so that it can be released to the public.

“President Obama has made his opposition to torture a central part of his legacy, from the Executive Order he signed shortly after he took office, to the speech he gave last Tuesday in which he spoke passionately about how our strength as a nation lies in upholding our values and adhering to the rule of law.  But this legacy – and our legacy as a nation - rests in the balance,” Wyden said.

Senator Wyden also criticized the administration’s efforts to prevent the study from being subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

“This history belongs to the American people,” said Wyden.  “It’s also urgent.  As we’ve already seen, burying the Study achieves nothing but to create an information vacuum that gets filled with uninformed and highly dangerous propaganda.”