Home inContext Senate Report Chastises CIA

Senate Report Chastises CIA

Michael Johnson

After a five-year investigation, Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a 500-page executive summary of a report on the CIA’s 2002-2007 Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. The summary lambasts the CIA for its controversial use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), concludes that the interrogations were often more violent than top intelligence officials reported, and charges that the CIA deliberately misled the White House, Congress, and the Justice Department over their use and effectiveness.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Photo: AP)

According to the document, other agents leaked classified information to journalists, overstating the effectiveness of EITs. The committee found that using EITs never gave the intelligence officials any “success” in stopping a “ticking time bomb” or other imminent threat, as the agency claimed. A 6,700 page classified version of the report could be released to the public at a later point, promised committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. Meanwhile, the Justice Department stated it was not inclined to reopen a 2012 inquiry into torture allegations.

Republicans under the leadership of Saxby Chambliss released their own report arguing the CIA’s actions saved lives. Other GOP leaders criticized the Democrats for only examining documents instead of interviewing CIA officials.

Within days of assuming offices, President Obama signed an executive order explicitly banning the practices. In its place, the White House made a strategic decision to employ targeted killings against suspected terrorists, launching airstrikes from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) instead of prioritizing rendition and detention.