OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Senate panel votes to declassify CIA report

The Topline: The Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to declassify parts of the panel’s controversial 6,200-page report that is harshly critical of the CIA’s Bush-era interrogation program.

The 11-3 vote sends the report’s 400-page executive summary and findings and conclusions to the CIA, which will go through the report and make redactions before it is declassified.


Three Republicans, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Dan Coats (Ind.) and Jim Risch (Idaho) voted against declassifying the report.

All of the panel’s Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), as well as three Republicans — Sens. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — voted to declassify the report.

Democratic senators on the panel say the long-delayed report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration did not aid in tracking down Osama bin Laden.

“The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrasts to our values,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Calif.) said after the vote. “It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do.”

The CIA has disputed that conclusion and others in the report, and most Republicans on the panel have also opposed the thrust of the report’s findings.

Chambliss, the top Republican on the panel, said after Thursday’s vote that the report was a “waste of time.”

Nevertheless, Chambliss said he voted to declassify the report so the public could decide whether the report was done properly. A section written by Republicans that disputed some of the report’s findings will also be declassified.

Chambliss said that contrary to the report’s findings, the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding did aid in the hunt for bin Laden.

The panel’s report was also at the center of a heated dispute between the committee and the CIA, in which each side accused the other of lawbreaking activity in matters that have been referred to the Justice Department for review.

Feinstein said that she hopes the CIA will complete the declassification process in 30 days — though she said that was probably “wishful thinking” — and she wanted the redactions to be “minimal.”

“I would hope so,” she said Thursday. “That in itself will indicate, I think, where we are on this.”

White House vows quick turnaround: The White House said Thursday that it would ensure the declassification process is completed quickly.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama “would expect that the actions that are necessary to declassify a document like that be conducted in all due haste.”

“And I think he would make that clear to the agencies involved in that effort and the individuals involved in that effort,” Carney said.

After Thursday’s vote, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement that the CIA would lead the declassification effort, and that the review would be finished “as expeditiously as possible.”

The language echoed CIA spokesman Ned Price, who said that the agency would “carry out the review expeditiously” once it receives the report from the committee. 

Some lawmakers are skeptical of how heavily the CIA will redact the report. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who has been a vocal critic of the CIA’s interaction with the committee, said that the president should oversee the classification process “to ensure that as much of this important document as possible sees the light of day.”

Fort Hood shooter treated for depression: Fort Hood shooter Spc. Ivan Lopez had been seen by a psychiatrist a month ago, and was being treated for anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance, Army leaders said Thursday. 

"He was seen just last month by a psychiatrist. He was fully examined. As of this morning, we had no indication on the record with that examination that there was any sign of likely violence either to himself or to others, or any suicidal ideation," said Army Secretary John McHugh at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday morning. 

Lopez was prescribed “a number of drugs, including Ambien,” according to McHugh.

"So the plan forward was to just continue to monitor and treat him as deemed appropriate," he said. 

The Army released more details about the shooter, Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old Puerto Rican native who enlisted in the National Guard in 1999, and then enlisted in the active Army in 2008. He served one yearlong tour in Cairo, and for four months in Iraq in 2011. 

McHugh said there was nothing on his record to indicate that he had suffered any wounds or was directly involved in combat. 

Army leaders said deploying soldiers were screened five times — before, during and after deployments, but that “clearly” they had missed something. 

“Clearly we may have missed something yesterday,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. 

Military sends Pentagon a $36B wish list: The services outlined $36 billion in spending not included in the 2015 budget in a “wish list” sent to Congress, Bloomberg News reports.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) revived the unfunded priorities lists this year, after they had been halted by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The lists detail what that the services would buy beyond the $496 billion budget and the $26 billion of defense spending in the Obama administration’s “wish list” submitted to Congress with the 2015 budget request.

The Army listed $10.6 billion more that it received in the Pentagon’s budget, the Navy outlined $10 billion and the Air Force included $8 billion, according to Bloomberg.


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