The CIA inspector general’s office has said it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a comprehensive Senate torture report.
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.
While another copy of the report exists elsewhere at the CIA, the erasure of the controversial document by the office charged with policing agency conduct has alarmed the U.S. senator who oversaw the torture investigation and reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report, which is said to be highly critical and damaging to the CIA, should ever be released.
The 6,700-page report contains thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other aggressive interrogation techniques at “black site” prisons overseas.
One intelligence community source told Yahoo News, which first reported the development, that last summer CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document.
Douglas Cox, a City University of New York School of Law professor who specialises in tracking the preservation of federal records told Yahoo News: “It’s breathtaking that this could have happened, especially in the CIA's inspector general’s office - they’re the ones that are supposed to be providing accountability within the agency itself.”
Another copy of the report exists elsewhere within the CIA, so the CIA claims, but when will the CIA replace the one that was “mistakenly” destroyed, is unknown, and whether that copy will not suffer another "accident" is unknown as well.