Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the new head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has allegedly demanded that the Barack Obama administration return a 6,900-page report on interrogation techniques used by the CIA, according to The Washington Post. The release of an overview of the report, which detailed the findings of a five-year investigation into the agency’s interrogation practices, in December last year, had been criticized by several Republican lawmakers.
Burr, who assumed office on Jan. 3, wrote a letter to Obama demanding that “all copies of the full and final report in the possession of the executive branch be returned immediately,” the Post reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. He also wrote that the “highly classified” document should not be “entered into any executive branch system of records.”
Burr’s efforts to withdraw the report are also seen as an attempt to prevent the document from being released in the public domain through the Freedom of Information Act. Some portions of the report were removed from the declassified file that was released last month.
Burr had previously opposed the investigation into CIA’s practices under the committee’s previous chairperson, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which, he reportedly alleged, was an effort to discredit the agency and the Bush administration.
“I fear the ramifications for our national security and global partnerships, and I stand by my assertion that this report is flawed, biased, and political in nature,” Burr had reportedly said in December.
The Post's report comes even as Amnesty International called on European governments that were complicit in the CIA’s torture practices to act against those responsible.
“Without European help, the USA would not have been able to secretly detain and torture people for so many years,” Amnesty said, in a statement released Tuesday. “The time for denials and cover-ups is over. Governments can no longer rely on unsubstantiated ‘national security’ grounds and claims of state secrecy to hide the truth about their roles in the torture and disappearance of people.”
In the report, the Senate Intelligence Committee had claimed that the CIA had greatly exaggerated the effectiveness of its “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which included methods like sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, waterboarding and rectal feeding. The committee also found, in the course of its investigation, that these techniques had not contributed to the U.S. operations against militants, including the killing of Osama bin Laden -- the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks -- in 2011.