Senate Review of CIA Interrogation Program “Nearing Completion”

04.24.12 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been reviewing the post-9/11 detention and interrogation practices of the Central Intelligence Agency for four years and is still not finished.  But the end appears to be in sight.

“The review itself is nearing completion — before the end of summer — but is not over yet,” a spokesperson for the Committee said.  “The release date should be not too far thereafter, but is not set.”

“This review is the only comprehensive in-depth look at the facts and documents pertaining to the creation, management, and effectiveness of the CIA detention and interrogation program,” according to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who was chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the review began in 2008.

Committee staff are said to have reviewed millions of pages of classified documents pertaining to the CIA program.

In newly published questions for the record following his confirmation hearing last year to be Director of the CIA, Gen. David Petraeus was asked by Senator Rockefeller if he would cooperate with the Committee review.

“I believe that a holistic and comprehensive review of the United States Government’s detention and interrogation programs can lead to valuable lessons that might inform future policies,” Petraeus replied.

“The best way to gain a common set of facts would be to reach out to the intelligence and military communities responsible for detentions and interrogations and for implementing future policies,” he added.  “[T]o gain the proper insights from a series of actions or decisions, we cannot separate the review process from the public servants undertaking the actions,” he said.

Gen. Petraeus also responded to questions concerning interrogation in the “ticking time bomb” scenario (he says “research is required now”), and the applicability of official U.S. government statements on the use of drones to CIA operations (which he declined to confirm), among other topics.

His responses to these questions were published earlier this month in the record of his June 23, 2011 confirmation hearing.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the current chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, provided a preview of the Committee’s findings on CIA interrogation practices in a November 29, 2011 floor statement during the debate on the FY2012 defense authorization act (also noted by Jeffrey Kaye in The Public Record).

“As chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, I can say that we are nearing the completion a comprehensive review of the CIA’s former interrogation and detention program, and I can assure the Senate and the Nation that coercive and abusive treatment of detainees in U.S. custody was far more systematic and widespread than we thought,” Sen. Feinstein said.

“Moreover, the abuse stemmed not from the isolated acts of a few bad apples but from fact that the line was blurred between what is permissible and impermissible conduct, putting U.S. personnel in an untenable position with their superiors and the law.”