Dem senator calls on lawmakers to publicize notes on CIA briefings

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who pushed for a Senate report on harsh CIA interrogation tactics, says members of Congress should come clean about what they knew.

{mosads}Senior officials from the George W. Bush administration and the CIA said last week that congressional Democrats were briefed on the use of tactics such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and stress positions.

Whitehouse said he would not object to making public the notes members of the Senate and House Intelligence panels compiled during those briefings, but insisted the Bush administration should have to meet the same standard of transparency.

“I would certainly have no objection to that, but if we’re going to do it, we should also declassify the thousands of pages from the White House that are now held back,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Karl Rove, Bush’s longtime senior political adviser, said the administration’s documents would be made public eventually through the Presidential Records Act.

“My sense is those will be declassified in the normal course of things under the rules promulgated by the National Archives and Records Administration,” Rove said, appearing on the same program.

Rove said the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees were fully briefed at the time and “encouraged the CIA to take every step private.”

“In private, many of those people, some of those people were saying, ‘Why aren’t you doing these things on more of these detainees?’ ” Rove said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the former chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in 2003 he “wouldn’t take anything off the table” when asked about harshly interrogating Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Whitehouse said Rockefeller kept notes during the briefings to “protect the record” and supported committee action to expose and end the CIA’s controversial tactics.

“It is simply wrong and not fair to say the committee bought off on this until the last minute. From the instant we knew it was going on, people were starting to inquire further and draft legislation to end this torture,” said Whitehouse.

Tags CIA report Jay Rockefeller Sheldon Whitehouse Sunday shows

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