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DOJ blocks executive branch from reading Senate Torture Report

This is very frustrating to read about this winding saga about the Senate Torture Study. According to Techdirt, the Department of Justice is insisting that nobody in the executive branch has read or will read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture study released last year. They seem to be saying that if they don’t read it, it isn’t FOIA’able(?!). And now the new chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, is demanding that executive agencies return their copies so that he can destroy them. Senators Feinstein and Leahey have written an angry WTF letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey (below and attached) telling them to “disseminate the full and final Committee Study to appropriately cleared senior individuals in the Department of Justice and FBI, and instruct other appropriate federal departments to take the same position.” This report should NOT be buried and destroyed before the public can read it, and our government is held accountable for illegal and unconstitutional activities.

The DOJ has taken Burr’s lead and claimed that the report is a Congressional record, and that’s also why they insist that no one at the DOJ has opened it — to maintain that it has not become an executive branch record subject to FOIA. Not surprisingly, Senator Feinstein is pissed off about this — because her staffers spent years putting together this report, detailing massive abuses by the CIA and others in torturing people, and the whole point of it was to help the government learn how badly it messed up and to stop it from doing it again. But if no one reads it, then that won’t happen. And, the DOJ now says that not only has it not read it, it has instructed everyone in the exec branch not to read it for fear that reading it would make it subject to FOIA.

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