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The Official Senate CIA Torture Report

Update


GPO has released an official version of the “THE SENATE CIA REPORT” as Senate Report 113-228. The digital version is available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys):
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-113srpt288/pdf/CRPT-113srpt288.pdf
The print version is available for purchase at GPO’s retail and online bookstore for $29.
http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-071-01571-0

This is a single-volume, 712 page version. It contains:

Letter of Transmittal to Senate from Chairman Feinstein — i
Foreword of Chairman Feinstein — iii
Findings and Conclusions — x
Executive Summary — 1
Additional Views of Senator Rockefeller — 500
Additional Views of Senator Wyden — 503
Additional Views of Senator Udall of Colorado — 506
Additional Views of Senator Heinrich — 510
Additional Views of Senator King — 512
Additional Views of Senator Collins — 515
Minority Views of Vice Chairman Chambliss, Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio, and Coburn — 520
Minority Views of Senator Coburn, Vice Chairman Chambliss, Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, and Rubio — 678
Minority Views of Senators Risch, Coats, and Rubio — 682

GPO Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2014

GPO RELEASES THE OFFICAL DIGITAL & PRINT VERSIONS OF THE SENATE CIA REPORT

WASHINGTON – – The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) makes available the official and authentic digital and print versions of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, together with a forward by Chairman Feinstein and Additional and Minority Views (Senate Report 113-288).

This document comprises the declassified Executive Summary and Findings and Conclusions, including declassified additional and minority views. The full classified report will be maintained by the Committee and has been provided to the Executive Branch for dissemination to all relevant agencies.


The release of the Senate’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program presents some interesting issues for government documents collections.

Issues

There are 3 separate documents and they are easily findable on the web on different web sites, but not all sites have all 3 documents and the the different copies of the individual documents are not the same.

The “official” copies are (at least today) listed on the home page of Senate Committee’s web site [see below)], but are not listed on the Committee’s Publications Page or its Press Release page – perhaps because the report is not an official committee document with an assigned “Document” or “Report” number. Presumably it will not be in FDsys unless or until it gets an official Document or Report designation.

(Why isn’t it “official”? The report was initially intended to be a full committee report. In 2009 the Committee voted 14–1 to initiate the study. But in 2009 Republicans on the Committee withdrew from active participation in the study.)

My speculation is that the different PDF files that you can find on the web are slightly different because each one was produced by scanning a paper copy with different software. I do not know if the Committee only distributed a paper copy but I do know that even its own PDF copy is (apparently) a scanned copy. (You can tell because, if you try to copy the text from the PDF, you will discover that it is badly OCR’d (optical character recognition) text. For example, the digital text of names of Senators is sometimes badly converted: Chambliss becomes “CHAMBUSS” and Rubio becomes “Rvbio”). The official copies were created using Adobe PDF Scan Library 3.1 and ScandAll PRO V2.0.12.

Official Reports and Statements

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence currently has links to three documents on its home page.

The CIA has its own responses to the report, currently listed on its Reports page.

Other official statements.

Unofficial Copies

A web search for the title of the title (“Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program”) leads to many sites with copies. Many of these are, apparently directly from the Committee site, but at least one news organization (the New York Times) evidently made its own scanned copy and digitized text version of the main report.

  • The New York Times has a PDF copy [108.4MB, 528 pages] and a plain text copy. The PDF version was created using Acrobat 11.0.9 Paper Capture Plug-in and Xerox WorkCentre 5150. Both are stored with an Amazon cloud service.

Timeline

ProPublica has created a useful timeline to put the report in perspective.

FDLP Library Actions

What can FDLP Libraries (or any library) do to ensure that their uses will be able to find and get unaltered, official, copies in the future? Just relying on the web may not be adequate, secure, consistent, transparent, or guaranteed. There are several issues. The existing links to even the official documents may not be stable. The official digital copies are only digital surrogates of the original paper copy. There are already other alternative digital surrogates available. The quality of the surrogates varies and the links to those copies may also not be stable.

I suggest the following actions by libraries:

  • Get copies of the official digital versions directly from the Committee web site as soon as possible (see links above).
  • Create a digital “hash” or “checksum” of the documents you download. (See a list of various tools and a discussion of checksums for preservation, if you are unfamiliar with the concepts.)
  • Catalog your copies and include them in your OPAC or other official library inventory and discovery databases. Include adequate metadata that describes how, when, and where you got your copies.
  • Ideally, you should store your copies in a Trusted Digital Repository. Unfortunately, there are, as yet, very few certified TDRs. Short of that, be sure that you have copies stored in more than one geographic location and that you have a way of verifying over time (using the checksum) that the files you stored have not been altered or corrupted.

3 Comments

  1. The National Security Archive at The George Washington University has posted the report (not the “Additional Views” documents) on its website. Its version is split into six separate PDF files without any OCR (i.e, no digital text, just images of pages).

  2. Just catching up on my FGI reading this weekend and am happy to read your comments about the release of the torture report and the link to the New Yorker article. Isn’t it interesting the analogy to the American Revolution rather than to the steps some publishers and book stores may be taking today offering incentives for early retirements to longtime staffers because they need to trim costs again.

    America is reading but not in print form. Like every commercial publisher since the colonies were founded, someone is always ready to print whatever scandal is lurking from the government. I am glad the NSA (Archive not Agency) was able to get the images out. Thanks for the great work and I look forward to 2015’s reading!

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