In an August 15 Rolling Stone interview, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) made what appeared to be an inadvertent disclosure of some of the contents a classified intelligence committee document. Buried at the back of the article was a question about the role of contractors. The question was open ended and seemed refer to wiretapping of the American public. But Wyden decided to talk about torture. “One that is going to be part of an upcoming debate, I hope, which is something Senator Udall and I and others are pushing, is to declassify that report on torture. I think it will give us new momentum for drawing a sharp line on the contractor issue . . . and I think when Americans get to read about the role of contractors in some of those interrogations, they're going to share our view,” he said.

The report on torture was completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in December of last year. It began in 2009. All of the documents reviewed by the committee and its staff, over six million of them, were classified. As we know from the rules of how the committee works, these documents are shown one at a time to members of the committee by the CIA in a sealed room. They may not talk about the contents outside the room. Normally each senator's staff may not read the documents. It is safe to assume that at least some Congressional employees that are the staff of the committee have the clearance to review at least some of the documents.

This report on torture is classified until such time as the CIA decides which parts, if any, may be declassified and when. Although the report has congressional authority, the CIA makes the classification decision not the Senate Committee. Should a member of the senate committee, an elected representative of the people, decide they disagree with the CIA, they may call a majority vote of the Committee. Since the committee was established in 1976 this has never happened.

If the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence should make its historical first demand for declassification, and the CIA or the Office of the President refuse, this refusal may be overridden by a majority vote of the Senate. Thus the intelligence community has two chances to drag out and derail the process of the public, or even the entire Senate, from knowing the truth. The truth that we, and Congress, are not allowed to know is truth as told to the Senate Committee by the intelligence community. General Clapper has amply demonstrated, sometimes what is told to the committee is the least untruthful answer in the first place.

Senator Wyden's comments could be interpreted to short circuit this flawed process. Rolling Stone did not elect to publish any amplification of Wyden's answer, and it is not clear if Rolling Stone sought one. The quote contained the characters “...” right where some additional information about why Americans might be concerned about contractors their role in torture. Did the words that were replaced by “...” contain classified information? What is Senator Wyden trying to leak without being charged with a crime?

The issue of contractors and torture ran full circle this week. The first revelations of contractors directing torture in America's overseas prisons came from Abu Ghraib. Military personnel involved in the torture served a total of 18 years in prison between 12 defendants. That is one fifth time Bradley Manning faces currently. Contractors who directly ordered and supervised the interrogation and translation were never charged as no law applied to them. Secret laws, or at least secret memos, may have applied, but those are secret, the Congress has not begun the process of declassifying the secret laws under which torture was allowed.

Survivors of torture in the Pentagon and the CIA's prisons have attempted suit against American military contractors Titan/L-3 and CACI. The court cases began in 2004. All but one was rebuffed by the American court system based on a lack of jurisdiction. In a single case, Titan/L-3 paid a confidential settlement to silence the plaintiffs rather than finally go to trial in October of 2012. The final case against CACI was dismissed in March of 2013.

CACI heroically struck back at the Iraqi torture survivors that dared sue them. This past Friday, August 16, the Washington Post reported that CACI launched a suit against some of the former plaintiffs. The $1.6 billion company is seeking to recoup $15,000 each from 4 of the 256 Iraqi survivors who originally brought suit for human rights abuses, rape and other war crimes. The move by CACI, widely seen as an attempt to intimidate its alleged victims into silence, was ostensibly made to recover the costs of transporting and translating the plaintiffs for depositions.

CACI has enthusiastically defended its actions. Their CEO, J. Phillip “Jack” London, wrote a book defending his company entitled Our Good Name. In it he stresses that the information about Abu Gharrib was illegally leaked, and thus his company was unfairly targeted for truth telling by whistle blowers and the media. The reviews printed the cover and re-printed on Amazon are by Thomas McInerney, Steve Forbes, Larry Schweikart, and Dan Gainor. All four are make regular appearances on Fox News.

CACI has managed to escape prosecution and has now begun the process of retribution against the little people that complained about secret things in inappropriate ways. We will see if Senator Wyden is charged with leaking about CACI and other contractors’ deeds to the public over the objections of the CIA. In post constitutional America, the rights of CACI and the CIA to torture in secret trump the rights of Congress to oversight and the rights of all to not be the subject of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. That last obsolete right was once called the 8th Amendment. Non-Americans knew it as the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.