Senate Takes First Step to Declassify Report on CIA Interrogations
The next step: bringing the massive report to the public.
In a closed hearing Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to declassify portions of a CIA report detailing post-9/11interrogation tactics.
It now goes to the White House, which will hold final authority on declassifying more than 500 pages of a 6,200-page report, including an executive summary, findings and conclusions about an interrogation program involving more than 100 detainees.
"The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking," said Chairman Dianne Feinstein. "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 again be allowed to happen."
Feinstein added that the report also details problems with the CIA's management of the program, which ran between 2001 and 2009, and its interaction with the executive branch and Congress about it.
President Obama has said he favors declassification. It's unclear how long it'll take, though, until the public gets to see the report. Feinstein said she hopes it will take as little as 30 days for the White House to release portions of it.
The contents of the report conclude that the CIA mislead the public on aspects of its interrogation program in the wake of 9/11, the Washington Post reported earlier this week, including "enhanced interrogation techniques."
A number of Republicans had publicly stated previously that they didn't support the report's findings, and have expressed concerns that it was produced by Democratic staff and doesn't include interviews with CIA officials. "This report is totally biased," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has said.
Nonetheless, all but three voted in favor of declassifying it.
Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss voted to declassify portions of the report because "we need to get this behind us."
"This committee has got important work that needs to be done. I was never in favor of this report being done. I think it was a waste of time," Chambliss said. "We had already had a report done by the Armed Services Committee on this issue. This is a chapter in our past that should have already been closed. However the general public has the right to now know what was done and what's in the report."
Feinstein would not disclose how individual senators voted, but confirmed all three nos were Republicans. North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr said he voted in favor of it "to give the American people the opportunity to make their own judgments," he said in a statement. "I am confident that they will agree that a 6,300 page report based on a cold document review, without a single interview rof Intelligence Community, Executive Branch, or contract personnel involved, cannot be an accurate representation of any program, let alone this one."
Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted in favor of the declassifying the report. Aside from her, Burr and Coburn, the other Republicans on the committee are Sens. Marco Rubio, Dan Coats, James Risch.
Some lawmakers are already calling for the declassification of the entire 6,200-page report, such as New Mexico Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich.
"When people see the content, when it's declassified, I think people will be shocked at what's inside," Heinrich said of the executive summary.