Torture report release on hold for redactions
WASHINGTON — The public release of a long-awaited Senate report detailing the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques could be held up for weeks as the Senate Intelligence Committee and Obama administration negotiate what material can be included in the document, the committee’s chairwoman said on Monday.
The committee hoped to release its 600-page summary of the report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of tactics many label as “torture” before Congress left for its August recess, a target that was pushed to September as discussions continued.
On Monday, as Congress returned from its five-week break, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the document would not be released this week and might not come out before lawmakers leave this month to campaign for the Nov. 4 congressional elections.
That would push its release to mid-November at the earliest.
“Certainly, it won’t be this week,” the California Democrat said at the Capitol. “We’re still discussing redactions, and it won’t be released until we’re satisfied that we can have a comprehensive and understandable report.”
Feinstein and other members of the committee’s Democratic majority have complained that the administration’s redactions are excessive. Republicans on the intelligence panel, who largely boycotted the five-year investigation that produced the report, have drafted their own critique of it and are said to be happy with the redactions.
The document that would be released is a summary of a much longer committee narrative that will remain secret indefinitely.
In August, officials familiar with the report said it will conclude that the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation tactics after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks yielded no critical intelligence on terrorist plots that could not have been obtained through non-coercive methods.
Human rights activists and many politicians have labeled as “torture” some of the physically stressful interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding — or simulated drowning — that were authorized under former President George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, the CIA tortured al-Qaida suspects “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.
The paper quoted one security source as saying that the torture of at least two suspects — including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks — went far beyond the waterboarding admitted by the agency.