Federal judge orders torture report preserved

Posted at 9:25 PM, Dec 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-28 21:25:11-05

A federal judge ordered the government Wednesday to preserve a 2014 Senate report documenting the alleged abuse of CIA detainees that occurred after the September 11 attacks.

Lawyers for Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri — who has been charged for his involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 — sought preservation last month of a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report entitled, “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.”

The lengthy report, now more commonly known as the “torture report,” provides grisly details on tactics the CIA used to torture terrorism suspects during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Al-Nashiri, who has been in the process of challenging his military detention for years and has alleged that the government subjected him to brutal interrogation tactics, argued in court filings that the “very existence of (the report) is presently contingent on political vicissitudes,” and asked that the court take “practical steps to ensure that potentially crucial evidence is not deliberately or inadvertently destroyed.”

US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth issued a two-page order Wednesday granting Al-Nashiri’s request, ensuring that the report, along with any documents referenced in the report, will remain in secure storage with the court.

The Obama administration declassified an executive summary of the report in 2014, but elected officials, advocacy groups, and journalists continued to seek disclosure of the full report.

California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein called on President Barack Obama in November to declassify the full version of the report. But the White House instead opted to preserve the report under the Presidential Records Act, which means the full-length report will be available for public records requests in 12 years.