Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who chairs the committee,
said the vote was 11-3 to declassify what she called the "shocking"
results of investigating the Central Intelligence Agency practices
under Republican President George W. Bush.
The vote to lift the blackout on the summary and recommendations of
the 6,200-page report follows an unprecedented clash by Feinstein
with the CIA, and would give the world its first official look at
its regimen of interrogation and detentions in the aftermath of the
September 11 attacks.
"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 be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do,"
Feinstein told reporters after the committee voted during a
It will still be weeks — if not longer — before any of the document
is cleared for release.
Some committee Republicans voted with the Democrats in favor of
declassifying the report, but it was clear there were bitter divides
within the panel. The investigation began four years ago but was
conducted only by Democrats. Republicans declined to participate
because they felt it was too biased.
The three no votes were all from Republicans — Senators Dan Coats of
Indiana, Marco Rubio of Florida and James Risch of Idaho. In a joint
statement, Rubio and Risch called the report "one-sided and
partisan" and said its release could endanger Americans overseas and
risk U.S. relations with other countries.
Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, the panel's vice
chairman, said he voted for declassification "to get it behind us"
and allow the public to make up its own mind.
He called the probe a waste of time and disputed assertions that the
interrogation techniques had not helped to track down Osama bin
Laden or others suspected of terrorism.
"There was information gleaned from this program which led not only
to the takedown of bin Laden but to the interruption and disruption
of other terrorist plots over a period of years," Chambliss said.
Congressional and intelligence sources said the report strongly
condemned now-abandoned interrogation techniques such as
"waterboarding" or simulated drowning, and concluded that they did
not produce significant counter-terrorism breakthroughs.
The report is at the center of a bitter dispute between Feinstein
and the spy agency over whether the CIA secretly monitored the
Feinstein, normally one of Congress' strongest supporters of the
intelligence community, accused the CIA in March of spying on
Congress as it conducted the probe and possibly breaking the law.
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And a top CIA lawyer complained to the Justice Department that
Senate investigators accessed privileged agency records without
On Thursday, Feinstein said the report
points to "major problems" with the CIA's management of the
interrogation program, and its interaction with the White House,
Congress and other parts of government.
The Senate panel will now ask the White House to declassify the
politically sensitive report.
An administration spokeswoman said President Barack Obama wanted
this to happen as expeditiously as possible. Obama halted the
interrogation program shortly after taking office in 2009.
"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," spokeswoman Caitlin
Hayden said in a statement.
Dean Boyd, the CIA's director of public affairs, said the agency
would act quickly. He said the agency had learned from the
interrogation and detention program's shortcomings and had taken
corrective measures, but indicated it would not sign off on an
The CIA has taken issue with some of the findings and has said the
report contains factual errors.
"We owe it to the men and women directed to carry out this program
to try and ensure that any historical account of it is accurate,"
Feinstein said she hoped the release would come quickly, perhaps in
as soon as 30 days.
"That may be wishful thinking, but I hope not," she said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball;
editing by Bill Trott, Eric Walsh, Jason Szep and Steve
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