Nadler, Conyers, Cohen Call On President Obama To Release Full Torture Report Before End Of His Administration

Dec 2, 2016 Issues: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and former Chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, along with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, wrote to President Barack Obama to urge that he swiftly declassify and release the full version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program—commonly known as the “Torture Report.”

The text of the letter can be found here and below.  

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

            We write to lend our voices to the growing community of academics, journalists, civil rights organizations, and members of Congress who have asked you to declassify the full version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  We believe that it is imperative you do so before you leave office in January.

            With your support, the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report was released to the public in 2014.  That summary exposed the brutal, unlawful interrogation practices of the Central Intelligence Agency under the Bush Administration.  Your own reaction was apt: the practices described in that document “constituted torture,” and are “contrary to who we are” and “contrary to our values” as a nation.[1]

            Under any circumstances, it would be important to provide a full public accounting of the CIA’s torture program.  Given the views of the incoming administration, however, the need for release of the full report is dire.

            We need only take these officials at their word.  Representative Mike Pompeo, tapped to lead the CIA, has argued that the practices described in the executive summary are “within the law” and “within the constitution”—and that the report itself is the product of “some liberal game being played by the ACLU and Senator [Dianne] Feinstein.”[2]  

            Senator Jeff Sessions, nominated to be our next Attorney General, recently voted against a measure—that passed by overwhelming and bipartisan consensus—designed to reaffirm our prohibition on torture against enemy combatants.[3]  

            President-Elect Donald Trump was even more explicit on the campaign trail: “I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”[4]

            You have taken important steps to ensure that the United States will not engage in torture again.  Men and women of conscience—across the political spectrum, both on Capitol Hill and off—are prepared to fight for those measures and the values they represent.  But a full and public record will be our first defense against a return to these inhumane and unlawful practices.

            As the ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary and the former chair and current ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, we ask that you take the steps necessary to ensure that the full torture report is released to the public, and we urge you to do so without delay.

            Thank you for your prompt consideration of this matter.

cc:        Chairman Bob Goodlatte
            House Committee on the Judiciary