The Senate Intelligence Committee has approved declassifying the executive summary of its report on the CIA’s controversial interrogation program used on terror suspects after 9/11.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the report on the CIA program “exposes brutality which 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,” Feinstein told reporters following the vote. “This is not what Americans do.”
The panel voted 11-3 to declassify its summary of the exhaustive, 6,200-page report that has been in the works for years and caused tension between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA.
Feinstein said the report outlines major problems with the CIA’s management of the interrogation program and its interaction with the White House.
“It is now abundantly clear that, in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks after 9/11 and bring those responsible to justice, the CIA did make some serious mistakes that haunt us to this day,” Feinstein said. “We are acknowledging these mistakes and we have a continuing responsibility to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
The chairwoman said she hopes it can be declassified in 30 days, but that’s a decision that only the White House can make.
President Obama has said he supports releasing the findings of the review.
“Having prohibited these practices upon taking office, the president believes that bringing this program into the light will help the American people understand what happened in the past and can help guide us as we move forward, so that no administration contemplates such a program in the future,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, which considers national security matters for the White House. “We’re pleased the committee voted today to send portions of the report forward for declassification. Our position remains that the executive summary and the findings and conclusions of the final RDI report should be declassified, with any appropriate redactions necessary to protect national security.”
The White House said the CIA will conduct the declassification review in consultation with other agencies.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, voted in favor of declassifying the report despite his initial objections to the committee producing such a document.
“We need to get this behind us. This committee’s got important work that needs to be done,” Chambliss told reporters. “I was never in favor of this report being done. I think it was a waste of time.”
“This is a chapter in our past that should’ve already been closed,” he said. “However, the general public has the right to now know what was done.”
Chambliss said it is the minority’s view that “there was information gleaned from this program which led not only to the take down of bin Laden but to the disruption and interruption of other terrorist plots over the years.”