The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to finish a long-awaited report on “enhanced interrogation techniques” this summer, reviving the debate over whether the United States has engaged in torture.
The panel’s lengthy report has been more than three years in the making and examines controversial interrogation techniques such as water boarding and sleep deprivation.
“We expect to finish the work and bring it to the committee this summer and the committee will act,” David Grannis, the committee’s Democratic staff director, told The Hill. “I wouldn’t want to speculate as to what the committee will do when it’s got a decision before it.”
The release of the report is likely to move the issue of enhanced interrogation to the forefront of the political debate as the parties vie for control of Congress and the White House.
President Obama banned the use of the controversial interrogation techniques as one of his first acts in the White House. But some Republicans and intelligence officials argue the president wouldn't have been able to order the killing of Osama bin Laden without the intelligence that the techniques produced.
Democrats have waged an extensive battle against the controversial interrogation methods. They said they were misled about the use of the tactics — approved under President George W. Bush — and argue they amounted to torture and violated international war laws.
The Bush administration argued that the methods, which were used on self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, among others, were within the law and helped U.S. intelligence officials disrupt terrorist plots against the United States.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came under fire in 2009, when it was revealed that CIA officials briefed her, and other members of the House Intelligence Committee, about the techniques in 2002 and 2003.
Around the same time, the Senate Intelligence Committee, under the direction of chairman Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFederal watchdog calls on Congress, Energy Dept. to overhaul nuclear waste storage process Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Republicans caught in California's recall trap MORE (D-Calif.), launched the first extensive investigation into whether the techniques were useful in gathering intelligence.
More than three years later, after analyzing millions of classified documents, the committee is expected to release a report that concludes the techniques did not produce any significant intelligence advances, according to Reuters.
The Reuters article cited anonymous sources familiar with the committee’s investigation and was timed to coincide with a series of interviews being given by a former CIA official who argued the interrogation techniques helped the United States find bin Laden.
“We got a lot of information from the detainees that eventually led us to bin Laden,” said Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA director of clandestine service, in an interview with Fox three weeks ago promoting his recently published book. “There is a clear trail. There was someone that we captured, a facilitator that we captured in 2004 that told us about bin Laden's courier.”