By Alexander Bolton - 08/03/14 12:00 PM EDT
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel's multi-year investigation of CIA interrogation practices was a “mistake” and criticized its handling of the probe as a partisan exercise.
Chambliss, of Georgia, defended the agency Sunday by arguing that waterboarding is not torture under the Geneva Conventions.
“The term torture is being used by the critics of the program. I think that term is going to be disputed,” Chambliss said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“Waterboarding is one of the specific issues that was investigated by the Department of Justice from the standpoint of does it comply with the Geneva Convention and they made a determination that it is authorized, that it is not torture,” he said.
Chambliss noted that he was the only member of the Intelligence panel who voted against authorizing the Senate probe.
“I thought it was a mistake then, I still think it’s a mistake,” he said.
Chambliss said Senate Democrats were “the only ones who carried out this investigation” on what he described as the “theory” that harsh interrogation tactics did not yield any actionable intelligence.
Chambliss strongly disputed that premise and claimed that some of the methods that President Obama said Friday amounted to torture had in fact helped thwart attacks.
“The information gleaned from these interrogations was in fact used to interrupt and disrupt terrorist plots, including some information that took down [Osama] bin Laden,” Chambliss said.