IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

CIA to Release Post-9/11 Torture Report From Senate Intelligence Committee

What you need to know about a highly contested report from the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Get more newsLiveon

A long-awaited report from the Senate Intelligence Committee on CIA interrogation tactics, including torture, in the years after the Sept. 11 attack is expected to be released Tuesday.

The full report is estimated to be 6,000 pages long. A 600-page executive summary from the Democratic majority, led by committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, has been declassified after months of disputes between the committee and the CIA over redactions.

A Republican minority report is also set to be released, as well as a rebuttal from the CIA. Here’s a look at what’s ahead.

What’s in the report?

The report is expected to conclude that the CIA repeatedly tortured around 20 detainees after 9/11, including three by the simulated drowning tactic known as waterboarding. It is also expected to accuse the CIA of repeatedly lying to Congress, the White House and the public.

“The report compares very carefully what the CIA told the Congress and the American people about interrogation, and the report compares that to these internal memoranda that came from CIA officials,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Monday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” “And the fact is, there’s a big gap between the two.”

The report is also expected to conclude that waterboarding and other interrogation tactics used on the three detainees — including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the United States identifies as the architect of Sept. 11 — produced no results.

Former CIA officials named in the report object vigorously, saying they repeatedly notified Congress of everything they did, that the program was authorized by President George W. Bush in an intelligence finding that was renewed annually, and that the report ignores the context of the post-9/11 intelligence warnings of another imminent attack.

Who objects to its release?

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that U.S. intelligence officials believe that the report’s release will cause “violence and deaths.” He told ABC News that it would be a public relations bonanza for ISIS.

Michael Hayden, who ran the CIA from 2006 to 2009, questioned the expected conclusions of the report.

“To say that we relentlessly, over an expanded period of time, lied to everyone about a program that wasn’t doing any good, that beggars the imagination,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Bush weighed in Sunday in an interview with CNN and came down strongly on the side of his own CIA officials.

“We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA, serving on our behalf,” he said. “These are patriots. Whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contribution to our country, it is way off base.”

There have been months of conflict between the CIA and the committee.

An infuriated Feinstein clashed with the CIA in March. She took to the Senate floor and accused the spy agency of searching Senate computers. She suggested that the CIA had violated the Constitution and undermined the separation of powers.

A CIA investigation found that the agency had indeed searched Senate computers. John Brennan, the agency’s former director, privately apologized to members of the intelligence committee.

What will the fallout be?

About 2,000 Marines have been placed on alert in and around the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea to respond to any threat against American embassies and interests after the report is released, defense officials told NBC News on Monday.

And the Pentagon on Friday warned combat commands around the world to take “appropriate force-protection measures” to guard the safety of American troops and installations.

The release of the report “potentially could cause unrest” in some “areas of responsibility” for the military outside the United States, said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. He would not provide details.

U.S. officials told NBC News on Monday that there had been no specific threat to any military installation and described the Pentagon warning as a precaution.

Wyden pointed out that plenty of people around the world are already angry at the United States because of torture.

“This report is about making sure people understand what happened and then how it happened, so it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

What’s the White House position?

Two days after he took office, in 2009, President Barack Obama reversed some Bush-era counterterrorism policies and ordered an end to coercive interrogation. He pledged to restore the United States to “moral high ground.”

Human rights organizations have objected to the United States’ continued use of solitary confinement for terrorism suspects, and other practices.

The intelligence committee report, five and a half years in the writing, was vetted by Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. The Obama administration worked with the committee on what to keep secret.

On Friday, though, Secretary of State John Kerry raised eyebrows by calling Feinstein, his former colleague in the Senate.

Sources told NBC News that Kerry did ask for a delay in the report. A State Department spokeswoman said Kerry wanted “to discuss the broader implications of the timing of the report's release because a lot is going on in the world.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that there will never be an ideal time to release the report.

“It’s difficult to imagine one, particularly because of the painful details that will be included. But the president believes that it is important for us to be as transparent as we possibly can be about what exactly transpired, so we can just be clear to the American public and to people around the world that something like this should not happen again.”

Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News contributed to this report.