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Washington – Congressman Keith Ellison is among 40 House Democrats calling on President Obama to quickly declassify portions of a report on the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques.
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted this month to release an executive summary on their review of the interrogation program under President George W. Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.
The review concludes that the Central Intelligence Agency misled the government and the public about aspects of its interrogation program, including taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.
The findings challenge the key defense on which the CIA and Bush administration relied in arguing that the methods didn’t constitute torture.
If accurate, the analysis is “extremely troubling,” the House Democrats wrote to Obama.
Former CIA officials have publicly disputed the report’s findings and questioned its objectivity.
“It is vital that Congress receive a full accounting of any discrepancies in what we were told with regard to detainee treatment and the intelligence gathered and what actually took place,” the Democrats’ letter to Obama read.
Obama said he will declassify the report “so that the American people can understand what happened in the past.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who also was national security adviser under Bush, is scheduled to deliver a lecture Thursday at the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium.
Citing her role in the wartime policies of the Bush administration, student and faculty activists pressured the university to condemn Rice’s appearance.
Despite protests, the university Senate ultimately rejected the proposal.
Paulsen: Investigate former IRS official
Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen voted to send U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a letter that seeks a criminal investigation of actions by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, whom Republicans accuse of improperly scrutinizing tax exemption requests from conservative organizations.
“The Department of Justice needs to hold Ms. Lerner accountable and show that using a government position to push a political agenda will not be tolerated,” Paulsen said in a statement.
The House Ways and Means Committee’s 14-page letter to Holder suggests Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division, used her post to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law.
Leaders of two Minnesota groups, the Rochester Tea Party Patriots and Minnesota Majority, suspect the IRS targeted them for extra scrutiny.
Paulsen has called the IRS actions “simply un-American.”