CIA torture report: GOP calls release 'reckless and irresponsible'
WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) -- The CIA torture report, the result of a five-year Senate investigation into the "enhanced interrogation techniques" of the government agency, is expected to be released Tuesday. The 480-page document will detail the methods used by the CIA on prisoners accused of terrorism in post-9/11 America. Republican lawmakers have slammed the move as "reckless and irresponsible," saying it could potentially endanger American citizens overseas.
The White House is anticipating international backlash against Americans overseas after the report is released, with U.S. intelligence agencies warning of a potentially violent response. Thousands of Marines stationed across the Middle East have been placed on high alert in case a U.S. embassy is attacked. Republicans have joined with voices like Secretary of State John Kerry in questioning the timing and release of the committee's findings.
"We are concerned that this release could endanger the lives of Americans overseas, jeopardize U.S. relations with foreign partners, potentially incite violence, create political problems for our allies, and be used as a recruitment tool for our enemies," said Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch in a statement Monday.
The report is only a part of the total $50 million, 6,000-page investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The document is expected to say that "waterboarding, sleep deprivation, [and] stress positions" were used on about a third of the over 100 detainees "more frequently than was legally authorized at then-secret prisons known as 'black sites,'" the Los Angeles Times reported.
In one instance, a prisoner was sexually threatened with a broomstick, sources told Reuters. In another, al-Qaeda operative Abdel Rahman al Nashiri, who was suspected of the USS Cole bombing in 2000, was threatened with a buzzing power drill, though it was never actually used.
"Nearly all the intelligence gleaned through harsh techniques could have been obtained from more traditional intelligence-gathering systems," Democrats are expected to conclude. The file, which will have names of countries and operatives redacted, will cover 20 findings and 20 case studies, including the events that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
Former President George W. Bush authorized the "Rendition, Detention and Interrogation" program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He characterizes the CIA operators and staff of his administration's era as "good people," even though he has not yet read the report.
"We're fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots. And whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base. I knew the directors, the deputy directors, I knew a lot of the operators. These are good people. Really good people. And we're lucky as a nation to have them," he told CNN.
President Obama, who banned enhanced interrogation techniques not long after his inauguration into the White House, admitted in August that "torture" occurred because of the state of America at the time.
"In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong — we did a whole lot of things that were right, but we did some things that were contrary to our values ... I understand why it happened. It's important when we look back to recall how afraid people were," he told reporters.
Still, the Obama administration is supporting the release of the report.
"When would be a good time to release this report?" said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "It's difficult to imagine one, particularly given the painful details that will be included."
The CIA has since disavowed the program.