February 27th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
5 years ago

Senate committee preparing to launch CIA review

CNN has learned that a Senate committee is going to review the CIA's interrogation practices under former President George W. Bush.
CNN has learned that a Senate committee is going to review the CIA's interrogation practices under former President George W. Bush.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing a review of the CIA's controversial interrogation programs under the Bush White House, a Senate Democratic aide told CNN.

The committee would look at how the agency carried out interrogation tactics and whether they provided useful information, the aide said. The review could be announced as early as Friday.

"The intention is not to find evil-doers or lawbreakers," according to the aide, but "the information will go where it goes." It was not immediately clear whether committee Republicans were on board.

Last month, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that calls for a review of the Bush administration's controversial interrogation program to see whether any of the harsh techniques used should be retained.

The "enhanced interrogation techniques" included waterboarding, a method that simulates drowning and is considered torture by the new administration and is widely considered that around the world.

Any Senate review is likely to look into the CIA's detention program and secret prisons, the aide said. At this point, no public hearings are planned. The review process is expected to take up to a year, according to the aide.

CIA Chief Leon Panetta said Wednesday that he cannot envision any circumstance in which he would consider asking the president for permission to use a coercive interrogation technique on a terrorist detainee.

Panetta said he would cooperate with any congressional reviews or inquiries.

"If those committees are seeking information in these areas, we'll cooperate with them," Panetta said Wednesday. "I think that we have a responsibility to be transparent on these issues and to provide them that information."

"I would not support, obviously, an investigation or a prosecution of those individuals" involved in the interrogation program, Panetta said. "They did their job, they did it pursuant to the guidance that was provided them, whether you agreed or disagreed with it."

The Bush administration repeatedly insisted that suspected terrorists were not tortured during their interrogations. Then-President George Bush said in 2006 that top al Qaeda suspects had been held in secret prisons overseas and subjected to "alternative" interrogation methods, which he called "tough" but legal.

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden admitted last year that the agency had used waterboarding on three detainees while they were in U.S. custody.

–CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report.


Filed under: Obama administration • Popular Posts • Senate
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. katiec

    Hopefully this is the beginning of many investigations launched.
    The ignoring and manipulation of our constitution, the don't do
    as I do, do as I say mentallity has gone on too long in Washington
    and ANY criminal act needs to be exposed.

    February 27, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Scott, Tucson

    "CIA Chief Leon Panetta said Wednesday that he cannot envision any circumstance in which he would consider asking the president for permission to use a coercive interrogation technique on a terrorist detainee."

    Would he if a captured terrorist is involved in a plot to Nuke a major US city?? Between him and Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security, maybe the only thing saving us from an would be terrorist attack for the next four years is Obama's middle name.

    February 27, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    Just one more in a long line of hate-filled attacks on the Bush administration so that the left wing can galvanize its power. By the time this administration is done, we will have terrorists sitting in the corner "taking a time-out".

    February 27, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    It's about time. Don't be shocked when you find all the dirt under the carpet. We know they tortured prisoners and someone has got to be held accountable. As presidnt Obama said Tuesday night, the United States does not torture. That even got a round of applause from John McCain.

    February 27, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. Baze

    What's done is done, leave it alone, and move on. There's no doubt that you will find some of the torture was effective, some ineffective, and most either overbearing or permanetly damaging.

    February 27, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    Do the right thing and indict and prosecute the guilty individuals who participated in this-INCLUDING those at the top. Why should anyone get off the hook, even if they are "top government officials"?
    Our country should be above torture of any prisoners of any type, and those that participate in this evil should be punished.

    February 27, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Jon

    Don't we have bigger problems right now for the Senate to deal with? Oh, maybe we could also have another hearing on sports figures that use steriods...that'd help the nation out a lot.

    February 27, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. Reid

    There certainly is a need for this investigation. I hope that Pelosi and other obstacles will not be able to interfer with this much needed investigation. The investigation is needed for the healing of this nation. There were far too much corrupt activities under the Bush/Cheney government. They need to be rectified now.

    February 27, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  9. america first

    if the bush administration is guility of torture to these prisoners, then they should be tried for war crimes.

    February 27, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. jw

    If they do this thoroughly, Bush and his cronies will be in prison.

    February 27, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. Bush did so many things wrong

    this is a good start

    illegal wire taping should come soon

    his failure to put the dots together for 9/11 should be looked at closer

    His direct involvement in the CIA operative outing

    His drumming up the Iraq war

    there are sooo many things that are just wrong and bad and hurtful to us in the U.S.

    what a nightmare he is and was

    February 27, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Stacy

    Instead of investigating Bush they should give him a medal. I'm a registered independent and I just want to say "thank you" to President Bush for keeping us safe since 911. I hope that Obama will have the same resolve when we're attacked again. All of the Bush haters need to get over themselves and move on. That’s one reason I had to quit watching Olberman…..his Bush obsession was killing me.

    February 27, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  13. BW

    I hope they do review this heavily, and find that the Bush administration used every "technique" available to extract information from anyone who had a vested terrorist interest in attacking the United States. What do you liberals expect? An Obama-style "sit-down" with terrorists to ask them what they did and are planning to do? Some of you people (mainly non-military liberals) think in a non-realistic way, and demand political correctness. Wait until it actually affects you or your family like it has mine. We need more strong "Pattons" and fewer liberal "pansies".

    February 27, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. BW

    I hope they do review this heavily, and find that the Bush administration used every "technique" available to extract information from anyone who had a vested terrorist interest in attacking the United States. What do you liberals expect? An Obama-style "sit-down" with terrorists to ask them what they did and are planning to do? Some of you people (mainly non-military liberals) think in a non-realistic way, and demand political correctness. Wait until it actually affects you or your family like it has mine. We need more strong "Pattons" and fewer liberal "pansies".

    February 27, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Brad

    "The intention is not to find evil-doers or lawbreakers," according to the aide, but "the information will go where it goes."

    So much for transparency and accountability I guess. Of course this IS coming from the Obama administration, and it's no secret that he voted for FISA. Not to mention that he recently blocked further investigation of "extraordinary rendition" under the guise of "state secrets" (sound familiar to anyone?).

    The sad thing about these policies is that even if they are still in place, we'd never know. Asking the government to investigate itself is a lot like leaving the fox in charge of the hen house.

    February 27, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Dark Wraith

    "At this point, no public hearings are planned."

    Secrecy, it would seem, shrouds even the quest for truth. Transparency must be reserved for all things less.

    Welcome to President 2.0: same authoritarianism, competence added.

    February 27, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. DOC

    Meanwhile...

    The Obama Justice Department continues to stand behind a Bush era law meant to prevent lawsuits against telecommunications companies accused of illegally sharing private customer information with intelligence agencies.

    AND...

    The spy shop that brought you the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program wants to expand its power under President Barack Obama, the nation's top intelligence chief told Congress Wednesday, in a little-noticed intelligence grab.

    February 27, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Llinda

    If Obama's daughters were taken captive and their lives threatened by terrorists and he had to use some means to extract information do you really think he would object to waterboarding, or any other method, to bring about the release of his girls? Get serious, folks, you know he would do whatever he could and you would to.

    It's about time the liberal yella-bellies toughen up, especially the men.

    February 27, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Don of Iowa

    Finally we are going to investigate the underhanded and criminal acts of the biggest criminal against human rights since Adolf Hitler, we are going to truly investigate the human rights offenses of Dick "I Shoot My Friends In the Face When I am Drunk' Cheney and GW ' I Drive The Country Into A Ditch When I Am Drunk' Bush, the two most ignorant and dumbest ever to have served as President and Vice President in this country's history. These two after this investigation should be held accountable and taken to trial in Criminal Court from the findings of these investigations and sent to prison for life where they truly belong. After this investigation next on the agenda should be looking onto all of the criminal offenses of the NSA criminal actions of wiretapping American citizens then the two of them should be tried on charges of treason and put to death. Only then will true justice be served in the US. The very idea these two most despicable criminals of our country's history should be allowed to walk freely on the streets is an abomination of everything justice stands for, put Cheney and Bush before a firing squad now so now more stupid GOP (Greedy Old Pigs0 get ideas of being facsist pigs like these two were!

    February 27, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. marquis

    CNN please stop with the " gotcha " news stuff!! For the record Joe Biden was CORRECT in his asking for a website "number" any half way decent IT person will tell you that ALL WEBSITES HAVE NUMBERS!! THEY ARE CALLED IP ADDRESSES. So technically Vice-President Biden is correct.

    The words that are typed into your browser(URL) are language translations to that IP address. But you can type in the IP address "number" in your browser and it works just as well. So please stop the madness.

    February 27, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. southerncousin

    Sounds like a return to the glory years of Frank Church and the Carter Administration. That got fixed by electing Reagan, just like the economy.

    February 27, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  22. Pepou

    Torture under the Bush administration is a deep stain on our country. I wish he and his gang would be tried for it and for the war crimes they committed.

    February 27, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. lovable liberal

    Who cares if the Republicans are on board? They have shown their support of torture over and over again. They're part of the problem. Of course, most Congressional Democrats weakly acquiesced in the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld torture policies, so they're to blame, too.

    February 27, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Independent Paul

    Really? We need to waste our time with this? Move on! There are bigger things to worry about then how the old administration worked.

    If congress keeps looking backwards, the American people are going to think it is because they aren't capable of looking forward, and good bye dem majority in 2010.

    February 27, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. tom

    enough already democrats. lets get on with leading the country!!!!

    February 27, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.