Secretary of State John Kerry has asked Senator Dianne Feinstein to “consider” the timing of the expected release of a long-awaited report on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques.
Kerry called Feinstein to discuss the broader implications of the timing of publicly releasing a declassified summary of her committee’s report “because a lot is going on in the world, and he wanted to make sure that foreign policy implications were being appropriately factored into timing,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday.
She said Kerry reiterated the support of the administration for the release of the report on detention and interrogation, but “he also made clear that the timing is of course her choice”.
These factors to consider “include our ongoing efforts against [Islamic State militants] and the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world,” Psaki said.
Tom Mentzer, a spokesman for the California Democrat, said he had no immediate comment.
The Senate intelligence committee is poised to release early next week the first public accounting of the CIA’s use of torture on al-Qaida detainees held in secret facilities in Europe and Asia in the years after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It will come in the form of a 480-page executive summary of the 6,200-page report by Democrats on the committee, who spent six years reviewing millions of secret CIA documents.
According to many US officials who have read it, the document includes disturbing new details about the CIA’s use of such techniques as sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning process known as waterboarding. President Barack Obama has acknowledged: “We tortured some folks.”
But the report goes much further than to simply condemn the brutal methods, which Obama banned in 2009 and were repudiated by the three most recent CIA directors. It alleges that the harsh interrogations failed to produce unique and life-saving intelligence. And it asserts that the CIA systematically lied about the covert program to officials at the White House, the Justice Department and congressional oversight committees.
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