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Editorial: Reports on CIA’s past tactics should be public

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New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich is right on target in his criticism of the Central Intelligence Agency over two important issues.

First, the CIA refuses to declassify a Senate report on the agency’s past detention and interrogation tactics that included waterboarding.

Second, the CIA may have been spying on the U.S. senators who looked into the agency’s now-defunct actions and produced the report. The New York Times and McClatchy News Services last week reported the spy agency may have accessed the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees it.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee oversees the CIA, not the other way around,” Heinrich said.

CIA Director John Brennan contends the allegations are “spurious” and unsupported by facts, adding that such a practice would be illegal.

Agreed. So let’s find out if it happened.

Heinrich maintains Americans have a right to see what’s in the 6,000-page Senate report. He claims dozens of people were tortured and interrogated with little or no intelligence gained.

“Since I joined the committee (in January 2013), the CIA has refused to engage in good faith on the committee’s study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program,” he said. “Instead, the CIA has consistently tried to cast doubt on the accuracy and quality of this report by publicly making false representations about what is and is not in it.”

Heinrich also wants the CIA to declassify a similar report compiled by former Director Leon Panetta.

The senator is on the right path. These reports should be released and if the agency did monitor members of Congress, the American people should know about that, too.

The CIA may be the nation’s cloak and dagger agency but this is a citizen Democracy and it shouldn’t be spying on its overseers.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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