- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2012

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has approved in a near party-line vote a classified report that is said to be critical of the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA on terrorism suspects during the George W. Bush administration.

“The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program, and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and committee chairwoman.

Mrs. Feinstein said the report would be presented to President Obama and “key executive branch officials” for review. After they have commented on it, the committee will decide whether to release the report “in whole or in part,” she said.

Sen. Olympia M. Snowe of Maine was the only Republican on the committee to approve the report in the 9-to-6 vote. Mrs. Snowe will retire from the Senate at the end of this year’s session.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican and the committee’s vice chairman, trashed the report in a statement, saying it “contains a number of significant errors and omissions about the history and utility of CIA’s detention program.”

The report was written “without interviewing any of the people involved,” Mr. Chambliss added.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and a strong critic of the harsh interrogation techniques, which he calls torture, supported the committee’s adoption of the report in a statement. He is not a member of the intelligence committee.

Mr. McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War, urged that the report be declassified “so that all Americans can see the record for themselves, which I believe will finally close this painful chapter for our country.”

“Our enemies may act without conscience, but we do not,” Mr. McCain said, “through the violence and chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss, we are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.”

The 6,000-page report has 35,000 footnotes, Mrs. Feinstein said. It is the result of a 3½-year investigation by committee staff who reviewed more than 6 million CIA documents.

“It is a comprehensive review of the CIA’s detention program that includes details of each detainee in CIA custody, the conditions under which they were detained, how they were interrogated, the intelligence they actually provided and the accuracy — or inaccuracy — of CIA descriptions about the program to the White House, Department of Justice, Congress and others,” Mrs. Feinstein said without disclosing any details.