August 23, 2017
The CIA inspector general’s office has said it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a comprehensive Senate torture report, despite lawyers for the Justice Department assuring a federal judge that copies of the documents were being preserved.
The erasure of the document by the spy agency’s internal watchdog was deemed an “inadvertent” foul-up by the inspector general, according to Yahoo News.
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.
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.
The full version of the report remains classified, but a 500-page executive summary was released to the public in 2014.
Christoper R. Sharpley, the CIA’s acting inspector general (CIA IG), alerted the Senate intelligence panel that his office’s copy of the report had vanished in August.
And Senator Dianne Feinstein, the driving force behind the 2014 report, sent letters to the CIA and Justice Department confirming the spy agency’s inspector general “has misplaced and/or accidentally destroyed” its copy of the report.
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 inspector general’s office – they’re the ones that are supposed to be providing accountability within the agency itself.”
Editor’s note: Computer files are never physically deleted and can be recovered.