Breaking news this afternoon: the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has voted to declassify portions of its report on the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation and detention programs. Greg Miller and Adam Goldman (of The Washington Post), among others, have more on the story:
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to make public a long-awaited report that concludes that the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation measures failed to produce valuable intelligence, and that the agency repeatedly misled government officials about the severity and success of the program.
The decision, opposed by three Republicans on the panel, means that the findings will now be delivered to the White House and the CIA, putting the agency in the awkward position of having to declassify a document that delivers a scathing verdict on one of the most controversial periods in its history.
Stayed tuned for analysis and commentary from Just Security‘s Meg Satterthwaite who will have more on this development later today.
[UPDATED: 4/3/2014 at 3:40pm]: Following the SSCI vote, Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-CA) issued the following press release:
Intelligence Committee Votes to Declassify Portions of CIA Study
Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the committee voted to declassify the executive summary and conclusions of its landmark report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program:
“The Senate Intelligence Committee this afternoon voted to declassify the 480-page executive summary as well as 20 findings and conclusions of the majority’s five-year study of the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program, which involved more than 100 detainees.
“The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking. 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.
“This is not what Americans do.
“The report also points to major problems with CIA’s management of this program and its interactions with the White House, other parts of the executive branch and Congress. This is also deeply troubling and shows why oversight of intelligence agencies in a democratic nation is so important.
“The release of this summary and conclusions in the near future shows that this nation admits its errors, as painful as they may be, and seeks to learn from them. 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 made serious mistakes that haunt us to this day. We are acknowledging those mistakes, and we have a continuing responsibility to make sure nothing like this ever occurs again.
“The full 6,200-page full report has been updated and will be held for declassification at a later time.
“I want to recognize the tireless and dedicated work of the staff who produced this report over the past five years, under trying circumstances. They have made an enormous contribution. I also thank the senators who have supported this review from its beginning and have ensured that we reached this point.”
The report describes the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program between September 2001 and January 2009. It reviewed operations at overseas CIA clandestine detention facilities, the use of CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and the conditions of the more than 100 individuals detained by CIA during that period.
The executive summary, findings, and conclusions—which total more than 500 pages—will be sent to the president for declassification review and subsequent public release. President Obama has indicated his support of declassification of these parts of the report and CIA Director Brennan has said this will happen expeditiously. Until the declassification process is complete and that portion of the report is released, it will remain classified.
The Senate Intelligence Committee initiated the study of CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program in March 2009. Committee staff received more than 6 million pages of materials, the overwhelming majority of which came from the CIA, but also included documents from the Departments of State, Justice and Defense. Committee staff reviewed CIA operational cables, memoranda, internal communications, photographs, financial documents, intelligence analysis, transcripts and summaries of interviews conducted by the CIA inspector general while the program was ongoing and other records for the study.
In December 2012, the committee approved the report with a bipartisan vote of 9-6 and sent it to the executive branch for comment. For the past several months, the committee staff has reviewed all comments by the CIA as well as minority views by committee Republicans and made changes to the report as necessary to ensure factual accuracy and clarity.