December 10, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Melville House to publish Senate torture report


reportontortureBrooklyn, NY, December 9, 2014 – Melville House has announced it will publish the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” already being widely referred to as the Senate Torture Report. The book—The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture—will be available in both print and digital formats, in bookstores and on online retailers, on Tuesday, December 30.

Five years in the making, the report was officially declassified in April, but its release was delayed until yesterday, when a heavily redacted version of the report was made public. Called by the New York Times “a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach,” the report proved to be a harsh and broad indictment of the C.I.A.’s response to the September 11 terror attacks. In addition to detailing the scope and severity of interrogation techniques employed by the C.I.A, the report also found that the agency had repeatedly misled both the public and the White House.

“Our fear was that, with all the distractions of the holiday season, the report would fade quickly from the news cycle,” says Melville House co-publisher Dennis Johnson. “That may, in fact, have even been part of the point of releasing it now, and what seems to have discouraged other publishers from publishing it. But it’s probably the most important government document of our generation, even one of the most significant in the history of our democracy. Melville House was founded in 2001 with the express purpose of trying to speak out about what was going on under the administration of George Bush. We felt it was our duty to try and get this report out there to the widest possible audience.”

One prominent bookseller agrees there should be significant demand for a print edition.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture offers one of the most detailed and explicit assessments of CIA counter-terrorism activities during the Bush Administration,” says Lissa Muscatine, co-owner of Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington DC, where President Obama recently did his Christmas shopping. “We thank Melville House for publishing this historic report in book form and making it available to the wider public.  The book will be on our shelves at Politics & Prose – and hopefully at independent bookstores across the country – as soon as it is out, and surely will be a topic of great interest to our customers.”

But Johnson also cited the need for a digital version that was superior to the digital version posted by the government. “The version posted online by the Senate is a low-resolution pdf of very poor quality—it’s like a Xerox of a Xerox,” says Johnson. “And what’s more it’s totally un-searchable. And that’s the version hacks immediately turned into a Kindle edition and are selling for $2.99. But our ebook will be laid out in a fully designed and therefore much more readable format that will also be thorougly and easily searchable.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture will be published as a paperback and an e-book on December 30, 2014.

Contact: Julia Fleischaker; julia [at]; 718-722-9204