WASHINGTON: The White House in the next few days is expected to declassify the long-awaited summary of a US Senate committee study of a CIA programme that used “enhanced interrogations” and secret prisons to extract information from captured militants, several officials familiar with the matter said.
Over the last two weeks, former directors and deputy directors of the CIA have been invited by the Obama administration to review a still-secret version of the 600-page Senate Intelligence Committee summary at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Officials familiar with its contents say it concludes that the CIA’s use of harsh “enhanced interrogation” methods such as waterboarding, or simulated drowning, on a handful of prisoners, and other stress tactics on a larger set of captured militants, did not produce any significant counter-terrorism breakthroughs in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
Human rights activists and CIA critics, including some US politicians, have described the CIA’s techniques as torture. The officials said the report also alleges that CIA officials misstated or exaggerated the results of the program by claiming such methods had helped to foil terrorist plots.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said the report points to major problems with the CIA’s management of the interrogation programme and its interaction with the White House, Congress and other parts of government.
Earlier this year Feinstein’s committee and the CIA exchanged accusations they improperly accessed each other’s data.
Former officials allowed to see the summary were also given access to a paper the CIA prepared in response to the Senate committee investigation, as well as a similar paper prepared by the Intelligence Committee’s Republican minority, according to officials.
The officials said both the CIA response and the Republican minority response are highly critical of the Senate committee investigation, which was conducted by the Democratic majority of the committee with little input from Republicans.
In April, the committee formally asked the Obama administration and the CIA to declassify the report summary as well as the CIA and Republican responses.