In what may be seen as one of the biggest blunders in the agency’s history, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confessed that it destroyed one of the only copies of the Senate Torture Report. The report — all 6,700 pages of it — goes into great detail on the CIA’s intense interrogation methods that includes sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and other techniques used at “black sites” (i.e. secret prisons).
The political party foul occurred under the watch of the CIA inspector general’s office, a division of the agency that is responsible for internal investigations. According to Yahoo! News, who was the first to report about the incident, “CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document.”
Another copy of the report does still exist somewhere within the hallowed walls of CIA headquarters, but it’s unclear as to just how many copies there are. All reports point to the destroyed copy being of high value, meaning that there are only a handful — at most — of the document left in existence.
“It’s breathtaking that this could have happened, especially in the inspector general’s office — they’re the ones that are supposed to be providing accountability within the agency itself,” Douglas Cox, a City University of New York School of Law professor specializing in the preservation of federal records, said to Yahoo! News.
The news site’s sources said that the incident was reported to the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department last summer, but news of the screw-up is just filtering out now. The full report has yet to be released to the public, but a 500-page summary was released in 2014. Last week, the release of the full document was stifled by a senate appeals court panel — apparently the document is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act because it’s officially controlled by Congress.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, one of the proponents of the document’s creation in 2014, is urging the CIA Director to replace the copy that has vanished. “Your prompt response will allay my concern that this was more than an ‘accident,'” she wrote.
(via Yahoo! News)