The New York Times recently drew attention (Nov. 10) to the fact that Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has succeeded in locking up – unread – in government vaults across Washington, from the Justice Department to the Pentagon, the full, classified, U.S. Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention, interrogation, and torture program.
Therefore, current national security officials are not free to read about the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) that were far more brutal than the C.I.A. had previously acknowledged.
In the aftermath of the killings in Paris, C.I.A. director John Brennan is now denouncing past leaks about N.S.A. spying that, allegedly, have made it more difficult to identify the perpetrators. Chairman Burr has frequently endorsed N.S.A. surveillance of American citizens without recourse to warrants.
Given the overall record of Messrs. Brennan and Burr – a Washington mutual admiration society – I submit that it is but a short distance before they re-open not only the debate over blanket electronic spying, but also secretly push to resume the torturing of our enemies when captured. After all, some of the C.I.A. employees who led the torture program are still on board.
In moments of fear, it is in the nature of spy agencies to overreach in the name of security.
But everything has not changed. The U.S. Constitution is still in force.
Jackson, a Davidson resident, was chief legislative assistant to the Senate Democratic Whip from 1974-77. He helped craft the original mandate of the Senate Intelligence Committee.