The agency’s only copy of the The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, aka the “Torture Report,” is no more. On Monday, Yahoo News reported that “the CIA inspector general’s office—the spy agency’s internal watchdog—has acknowledged it ‘mistakenly’ destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved.” Other copies exist, but the CIA’s deletion of its copy is nonetheless significant and troubling.
There are two possible explanations here. One is that this was a nefarious and intentional act, befitting an organization which does nefarious things intentionally. The other is that the CIA is massively and comically incompetent. The CIA has, unsurprisingly, gone with the massively and comically incompetent explanation. Per Yahoo:
In what one intelligence community source described as a series of errors straight “out of the Keystone Cops,” CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document, filled with thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods.
The full 6,000-page Torture Report has never been released. It’s currently not even subject to FOIA requests. Since the report was released in 2014, the CIA has also quietly acknowledged that some of its findings were valid. Over the same period, the White House has largely pretended the report doesn’t exist.