WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday released the following statement on his appeal to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) to declassify the War Powers Notification relating to the killing of Qasem Soleimani in January:
“We’ve seen the Trump administration repeatedly classify information just because it is politically damaging to President Trump, and it’s up to Congress to stop it. The American people deserve to know why the Trump administration chose to kill Qasem Soleimani back in January, since this event had far reaching consequences for U.S. security. By hiding the legal rationale for this action, there can be no meaningful public debate about the wisdom of the strike,” said Murphy. “That’s why I am appealing the classification of the War Powers notification to the interagency body that decides what should be classified based only on valid national security reasons. We’ve all witnessed the dumpster fire of Trump’s foreign policy over the last three years, and we cannot allow him to use the classification process to limit public debate as he advances his political and personal interests over U.S. national security.”
In February, Murphy sent a letter to the White House challenging the War Powers Notification for the killing of Qasem Soleimani but Murphy did not hear back. Given the unwillingness of the administration to respond to this valid challenge, Murphy is now appealing the classification of this document to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), a division of the National Archives which adjudicates classification appeals. Murphy will hear back from ISCAP this Fall.
Murphy also called on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in February to assess whether the Trump administration has hidden material from the American public by over-classifying information that is not actually legally classifiable or is being classified only to hide embarrassing or politically damaging information. In a letter to the Comptroller General of the United States Gene Dodaro, Murphy specifically requested a comparative review of documents to ensure classification level is consistent with the nature of material held in the executive branch.