May 04, 2018

Harris, Feinstein, Wyden, Heinrich Call on CIA to Declassify Information on Haspel’s Role in Enhanced Interrogation Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats requesting that all Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) information related to any involvement Gina Haspel may have had in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program be declassified in advance of her nomination hearing at the Senate Select Committee on the Intelligence on May 9, 2018.

“Given that Ms. Haspel, as the current Acting Director of the CIA, is in the conflicted position of serving as the classification authority over potentially derogatory information related to her own nomination, we can think of no more appropriate situation for you to serve as the relevant authority – as outlined in EO 13526,” said the senators. “The American people deserve transparency regarding the background of a nominee who will be asked to represent them, and their values, around the world.  We urge you to uphold that imperative, and to declassify the information requested above prior to Ms. Haspel’s upcoming nomination hearing at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on May 9, 2018. Without making this information available to the American people, Ms. Haspel’s nomination cannot be fully and properly considered by the Senate.”

The full text of the letter is available below or here:

 

The Honorable Daniel Coats

Director

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Washington, D.C. 20511

 

Dear Director Coats:

 

We write to ask that you declassify all Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) information related to any involvement by Ms. Gina Haspel, the current Acting Director of the CIA, in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program. The recent declassification of a CIA memorandum regarding Ms. Haspel and her role in the destruction of videotapes of CIA detainee interrogations – an action that was not authorized by the CIA Director, Department of Justice, or White House – makes this request all the more important.

 

As you are aware, Executive Order (EO) 13526, Section 1.7, sets prohibitions and limitations on classification. Specifically, it states that, “In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency…”

 

Furthermore, EO 13526, Section 3.1, outlines the authority for declassification. It states that, “The Director of National Intelligence (or, if delegated by the Director of National Intelligence, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence) may, with respect to the Intelligence Community, after consultation with the head of the originating Intelligence Community element or department, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence relating to intelligence sources, methods, or activities.”

 

Given that Ms. Haspel, as the current Acting Director of the CIA, is in the conflicted position of serving as the classification authority over potentially derogatory information related to her own nomination, we can think of no more appropriate situation for you to serve as the relevant authority – as outlined in EO 13526.

 

The American people deserve transparency regarding the background of a nominee who will be asked to represent them, and their values, around the world.  We urge you to uphold that imperative, and to declassify the information requested above prior to Ms. Haspel’s upcoming nomination hearing at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on May 9, 2018.

 

Without making this information available to the American people, Ms. Haspel’s nomination cannot be fully and properly considered by the Senate.

 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

###