A forthcoming report on the defunct CIA enhanced interrogation program "tells a story of which no American is proud," according to leaked State Department talking points.
The White House on Wednesday accidentally emailed The Associated Press the proposed "topline messages" the department prepared in anticipation of the declassification of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.
The executive summary of the committee's report on the Bush-era techniques — sometimes described as torture — is expected to be declassified in the next few weeks.
The talking points mention that some ambassadors in countries where the detention facilities were held were told about the program, but they were instructed not to tell their superiors.
A former CIA official told the newswire that Powell was eventually brought into the loop on the program, and ambassadors in countries that housed the interrogation facilities were usually told.
It is unclear when the former secretary was first told about the program that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The leaked memo says the report "leaves no doubt that the methods used to extract information from some terrorists suspects caused profound pain, suffering and humiliation. It also leaves no doubt that the harm caused by the use of these techniques outweighed any potential benefit."
That broad conclusion has been widely reported in the past. Republicans on the committee, who did not participate in the production of the report, and the CIA have taken issue with the some of the findings. The CIA issued a rebuttal in December.
The State Department talking points propose concluding that the whole process is a testament to U.S. democracy.
"American's democratic system worked just at it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values," according to the memo.
According to the AP, the memo also attempts to anticipate some questions from reporters including: Isn't it clear the CIA engaged in torture? Will the Justice Department reconsider prosecuting anyone involved?