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. pete

    I say the CIA should make this a hands on experience for all of the politicians who doubt the effectiveness of their methods. I'd pay to see it.

    February 27, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. john

    95% of what i am reading from you people is just the lunacy of your idealogs. look at the ratings people of who and where you get your information. cnn is 12th,msnbc is is 32nd, but fox is 3rd. where do your ideals lie. get info from more than 1 source and maybe,just maybe you could think for yourself instead of someone else's idiology being forced down your throats!!!!!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. JOE KILOZ

    WATERBOARDING,,,,,,,,,,IS,,,,,,,,,,,INFORMATION,,,,,,,,EXTRACTION,,,,,,,,,,,

    BY,,,,,,,,,,HUMANE,,,,,,,,,,,MEANS,,,,,,,,,,,,WHICH,,,,,,,,,,,,,DON'T,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    PHYSICALLY,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ABUSE

    February 27, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Patty in the CA mountains

    Hopefully, review = investigation = criminal charges = jail time = key lost

    February 27, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Patty in the CA mountains

    Eric, do the anthrax letters = attacks? Just asking

    February 27, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. pete

    Obama is taking away my rights to the pursuit of happiness. He's robbing from me to pay you, and he is also causing the value of my investments to drop dramatically. He has managed to reduce my share of the pie, and has drastically reduced the size of the pie.

    February 27, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Kurt C.

    And the witch hunts begin.

    February 27, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. D

    In our country... at least 19 terrorist conspiracies thwarted since 9/11.

    February 27, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. worriedmom

    Like this stuff hasn't been going on with past presidents and wars. Heck, if you look at it, Clinton was responsible also. My question is why are you Libs always preaching love and fairness and equalilty but when you hear the word Bush or Republican you spew nothing but hate. How many of you Liberals have actually fought for your country. Until you have been there and had to defend your country,SHUT UP AND GROW UP! OR FORM YOUR OWN LIBERAL COUNTRY SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    February 27, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Southerner

    Senate Intelligence Committee? Isn't that an oxymoron?

    February 27, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. V.K. RAMAN, Sparks, NV

    Bring justice to Valeri Plame

    February 27, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Trollmaster

    The Senate really needs to look into how we were lied into the Iraq war.

    Lying to America about a threat, (and trying to say it was an honest mistake after no WMD were found) that got Americans needlessly killed and drained countless borrowed tax dollars is TREASON. It would be a stain upon this great nation if traitors were not rightfully punished.

    February 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Paris

    Scott Tucson: I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I never felt more insecure about our safety.

    February 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. To eric

    eric February 27th, 2009 11:41 am ET
    Maggie stop lying to the people on this page. You are a typical liberal. Too my knowledge I don't remember any attacks since 9/11. You live in a dream world.
    --------------------------------
    I do believe what Maggie is trying to say is that Bush helped to plant the seeds of hate-for-america throughout the world. Also, there have been attacks all over the world targeting American interests. Go back and look at the terror report. Since Bush took office it sky rocketed all over the world.

    February 27, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    BUSH DID NOT KEEP US SAFE. THE MEN & WOMEN OF OUR ARMED SERVICES ARE WHOSE KEEPING US SAFE. GET THE NOTION OUT OF YOUR MOND THAT HE WAS SOME GREAT PROTECTOR. MAY I REMIND YOU THAT WE WERE ATTACKED ON HIS WATCH. HIS ADMINISTRATION PUT THE PATRIOT ACT BACK INTO LAW AND ABUSED THE POWER WHICH THE PATRIOT ACT PROVIDES, IE(WARRANTLESS WIRETAPPING, TORTURE, ETC.). AND LET'S NOT FORGET MY ALL TIME FAVORITE; THE BUSH DOCTRINE. PRE-EMPTIVE WAR WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION.

    February 27, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. shoegazer

    Nothing shows such a cross section of ignorance more than a story like this.To those of you who actually do a little research into a subject,
    I applaud your efforts.To those of you who do nothing more than espouse the misinformation of your favorite talking head,I suggest you
    find another forum for which to blather on.

    February 27, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Trollmaster

    To all of you that scream "witch hunt" I have 2 things to say:

    1) The party of Joe McCarthy and going after Bill Clinton for something so minor, you're the experts at witch hunts.

    2) As your kind say when you trample on the 4th Amendment: If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide. You all should welcome this investigation so you can later on gloat how those that went after Bush were proven wrong.

    February 27, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. CNN moderation purgatory...

    Brian February 27th, 2009 11:52 am ET

    After their findings, I wouldn't be surprised if federal marshals show up and arrest him at his Texas ranch.
    --------------------------------
    They would need to go pickup the entire CURRENT pres and congress while they're at it.
    The charge, grand larceny.

    February 27, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. reggie

    We all miss Pres Bush, now. Obama is a great cheerleader, but no sign of any type of leadership, as of yet, with the exception of spend, spend, spend. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

    February 27, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Joe Independent

    Based on all these posts I read, I have to ask: who are the sheep now? You are all as blind as the far right.

    February 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Matt

    None of those who pushed for 'alternative interrogation' methods should have been able to unless they had it done to themselves. I doubt their reactions would cause them to continue to call them 'alternative methods' and would persuade them to call them what they are, torture.

    Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were put into place for a reason. When we go against these stipulations we are tearing away our national spirit and soul. What the Limbaughplican Party fails to realize is NO ONE is for releasing terrorists, but ALL humans should be against the detention of another human without evidence.

    February 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    I say waterboard Cheney. He doesn't believe it's torture and we might get a straight answer out of him.
    BTW: it's forgotten that we had plenty of intelligence about the impending attacks on 9-11 – the Bush administration just chose to ignore it (W was busy cutting brush at the ranch). You don't have to torture people, you just have to be smart enough to connect the dots.

    February 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Kevin in Ohio

    If the Bush administration goes to the hague as most of the left wing loons have suggested, I hope you are all prepared for the same exact fate for pelosi, reed, and, yes, even your Messiah Obama.

    February 27, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. ed

    The only thing that is proven by the comments on this article is that to many Americans still live in the fair tale land of their minds. You know nothing of suffering, you have never had your land trampled by ruthless, blood thirsty people. You think you have suffered because of a financial crisis.....it's your fault you greed people. You no nothing of discipline and sacrifice... You kill your babies so that you will not have to live with the consequences of your selfishness and immoral choices. You believe the lies of self centered ego driven men and women who are hypocrites, yet you bow down to the altar of fame and charisma and in doing so you become a slave to their system and their whims. Wake up America your land is about to crumble and all you can do is whine like little babies and try to chase after a man that will be judge according to his actions one day and he will be standing next to you.

    February 27, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. arithmetic is liberal

    Burton Kemp @ 10:18 am seems more concerned with what US foreign policy says about the size of our collective ding-dong than anything else.

    And that folks, is what the conservative ideology boils down to.

    It seems like right wingers get their manhood threatened if foreign policy includes things like "diplomacy" and "negotiations".

    Nope, not good enough. We have to take our phallic rockets and bombs into every country regardless of what the situation on the ground is.

    February 27, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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