The US Senate Intelligence Committee has voted 11-3 to release hundreds of pages of its classified report on “brutal” CIA interrogations which details one of the most unsavoury periods in the agency’s history.
The move on Thursday allows Senator Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s chair, to send the 400-page executive summary – which sharply criticises the CIA’s controversial Bush-era interrogation program – to the White House for review.
If US President Barack Obama gives the green light, as he is expected to do, the Central Intelligence Agency could be tasked with declassifying parts of the document.
The review found that the CIA misled government and the public for years about parts of the program and overstated the significance of intelligence gleaned from detainees subjected to hard techniques at secret CIA-run “black sites” outside the US, officials familiar with the report told The Washington Post.
“The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking,” Feinstein said.
“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 again be allowed to happen.”
Feinstein said she hoped the redactions would be “as few as possible,” and believed the process would take at least a month.
“This nation admits its errors, as painful as it may be,” she added.
More than 100 detainees were subjected to the interrogation program, Feinstein said.
Senator Saxby Chambliss, the committee’s top Republican, said he opposed the exhaustive investigation in the first place, criticising it as “a waste of time.”
But he reluctantly voted to declassify parts of it so that the American people can assess the program’s legacy for themselves.
“The general public has the right to now know what was done and what’s in the report,” Chambliss told reporters.
“We need to get this behind us.”