Letters to the Editor

Christina Cowger: Burr should act on torture report

Burr should act on torture report

In the Nov. 11 news article “A top secret report caught in limbo,” Sen. Richard Burr called the landmark Senate Torture Report “a footnote in history.” Does Burr not want to do his job?

He chose the chair of Senate Intelligence Committee over heading up Veterans Affairs. That made him chief overseer of the nation’s spy agencies. He is supposed to aggressively pursue misconduct. At a minimum, he ought to hold a hearing on the 6,700-page torture report.

The Convention Against Torture, which we ratified in 1994, states that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” As part of adopting CAT, we also passed a federal statute mandating harsh punishments for Americans who torture outside the United States.

From the Senate report, the world now knows that CIA officers tortured detainees. If Burr disagrees that these actions were useless and counter-productive – not to mention illegal – he ought to hold public hearings so CIA officials can clear their names. Is it laziness? Or is it indifference to the law?

Christina Cowger