December 18, 2014
US Senate panel votes to declassify CIA interrogations report
The US Senate Intelligence Committee voted today to recommend declassification of the summary, findings and conclusions of its report on the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation methods," which critics say amount to torture.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, said the vote was 11-3 to declassify what she called the "shocking" results of the committee's investigation.
"The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do," the California Democrat told reporters after the committee voted during a classified meeting.
Some of the committee's Republicans voted with the Democrats in favor of declassifying the report, but it was clear there were bitter divides within the panel.
Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss said he voted for the report "to get it behind us," but called it a waste of time.
He disputed contentions that the interrogation techniques had not helped to track down Osama bin Laden or others suspected of terrorism.
"There was information gleaned from this program which led not only to the takedown of bin Laden but to the interruption and disruption of other terrorist plots over a period of years," Chambliss said.
Sources had said the draft report strongly condemned now-abandoned interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding" or simulated drowning, and concluded that such techniques did not produce significant counter-terrorism breakthroughs.
The CIA has taken issue with some of the findings, and has said the report contains factual errors.
The report is at the center of a bitter dispute between Feinstein and the CIA over whether members of the spy agency secretly monitored the panel's investigation of the detention and interrogation policies used under former Republican President George W. Bush.
A top CIA lawyer also complained to the Justice Department that Senate investigators accessed privileged agency records without proper authorization.
Today, Feinstein said the report points to "major problems" with the CIA's management of the interrogation program, and its interaction with the White House, Congress and other parts of government.
It will still be some time before the 480-page executive summary or any of the 6,200-page report is made public.
The Senate panel will now ask the White House - not the CIA itself - to declassify the politically sensitive report. President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he wants to see a version of the report made public.
Feinstein said she hoped the report's findings would be made public quickly, perhaps in as soon as 30 days.
"That may be wishful thinking, but I hope not," she said.