It’s really kind of incredible that the CIA is in charge of declassifying a Senate Intelligence Committee report that condemns the CIA for torturing people and then lying about it. There couldn’t be a greater conflict of interest.

I understand that the CIA is used to doing the declassification process, and that they have equities and must have a say in what is declassified. But they certainly should not have the final word on what is and is not divulged from the Senate report.

As things stand, the Chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein of California, has been told that the declassification will be completed by July 4th. At that point, I expect we’ll get a report with a few sentences here and there separated by giant blocks of blacked-out paragraphs. And there won’t be any way to appeal the CIA’s decisions. The only way to avoid this is for the administration to be the appellate board. They should promise that they’ll look at the job the CIA did and have the president unilaterally declassify anything he thinks is basically a bad faith classification.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at