Press Release

CIA Should be Held Accountable for Interference with Senate Committee’s Work

President Obama should declassify a U.S. Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices and end any attempts by the CIA to obstruct congressional oversight, a coalition of groups with diverse interests and ideologies said today in a letter to the president.

The CIA should be held accountable for any criminal violations or other improper conduct, including its surveillance of computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the letter said. On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the committee, detailed the CIA’s surveillance and additional agency interference with the committee’s work.

“We have grave concerns about the separation of powers that the president must address,” said Angela Canterbury, Public Policy director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), one of 34 organizations that signed the letter. “These tactics of obstruction, intimidation, and excessive secrecy must end. The president and Congress have a constitutional responsibility to ensure proper oversight of the intelligence community and hold the CIA accountable.”

In light of last year’s disclosures about domestic surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency, it is clear that there is far too little oversight of the intelligence community, the coalition said in its letter to the president.

“Much of the blame has been placed on Congress, but obviously excessive secrecy and obstruction of oversight by the intelligence community also must be addressed,” the letter said. “Your administration’s role in creating such an imbalance of power threatens the legitimacy of our constitutional democracy.”

Read the letter to President Obama

Organizations signing the letter:

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

American Library Association

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

Center for International Policy

Center for Media and Democracy

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Defending Dissent Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Federation of American Scientists

First Amendment Coalition

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Government Accountability Project

Historians Against the War

Human Rights First

Just Foreign Policy

Liberty Coalition

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

National Security Network

No More Guantánamos

Peace Action

Peace Action West

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

Public Citizen

Society of Professional Journalists

Sunlight Foundation


The Constitution Project

United for Peace and Justice

Veterans For Peace

Vietnam Veterans Against The War Legacy Trust