WASHINGTON — The public will soon get its first look at a voluminous report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices during the George W. Bush administration, after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to declassify key sections of its report.
“The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and committee chairwoman, said in a written statement after the vote. “This is not what Americans do.”
The panel voted to declassify the report’s executive summary and conclusions — about 480 of its 6,200 pages. The next step is President Obama’s approval. Obama, who opposed the CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods as a presidential candidate and discontinued it once he took office in 2009, has said he wants the findings of the report made public.
The White House would not say how long it would take the administration to review the report for sensitive national security disclosures, but a spokeswoman said the process would be expedited.
“We urge the committee to complete the report and send it to us, so that we can declassify the findings and the American people can understand what happened in the past, and that can help guide us as we move forward,” said Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
“We’ll do that as expeditiously as we can, but I’m not going to speculate on the time frame for declassifying something we haven’t received yet,” she said,
People who have read the report, written by the Senate committee, said it offers the most detailed look to date on the CIA’s methods of interrogating terrorism suspects after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It concludes that the spy agency repeatedly misled Congress, the White House, and the public about the program’s benefits.
Republicans on the committee have been harshly critical of the report, calling it a one-sided attempt to discredit the CIA and the Bush administration. As a result, they have refused to take part in the inquiry.
Even so, the vote did attract some GOP support. “Despite the report’s significant errors, omissions, and assumptions — as well as a lot of cherry-picking of the facts — I want the American people to be able to see it and judge for themselves,” Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the committee, said in a written statement.
The panel, which met in a closed session Thursday, also approved the declassification of the Republican dissent from the report’s conclusions and the CIA’s response to the inquiry.
The outcome of the committee vote was expected after two members of the committee from Maine — Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent — said Wednesday they would support Feinstein’s effort to declassify parts of the report, giving her the votes she needed.