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. liz

    President Bush kept us SAFE for 7 years–We thank him!

    February 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Chris Temple

    Good, let's set a new standard. Let's "investigate" outgoing officials. That way when the Republicans do take back control of congress we can investigate Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid...

    February 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Jess

    Let us all join hands at the airport on the day they load up George Bush , Dick, Donald, Conni Rice on to the plane bound for the Hauge
    These are criminals, little more.

    February 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. bailey

    Did anyone asked the terrorists before all those killed on 9/11 if they
    had "alternative and methods to accomplished their mission?

    What about do unto others as you would have them do unto you or an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?

    If your were dealing with people in this matter it might be different but you are dealing with beast who has no respect for life and their only goal is to destroy the US and and anyone who stands up for good. This is a battle against good and evil. It looks like the dictator from the USSR speech in the earlier years is correct when he hitting the table top with his shoe saying "we will burry you" the sad part is the burry part is taking place but it is by a different force and part of it is by Americans and their political campaigns within our own country and we as a nation is becoming a laughing stock on the international level. Because we are not standing for anything but falling for everything, What one generation starts to tolerate the next generations will carry to the extreme.

    IS THAT THE COUNTRY YOU WANT THE US TO BE?.

    I pray God wake us up and helps us to be the nation that you want us to be.. God a government that is ran by hearing from God and seeking God 's help for solutions. When you leave God out of your life you get a life that is driven by self and destruction. The same principle applies to a nation.

    February 27, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. Mike

    Big deal.. he kept the country safe.. thats all i care!

    February 27, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Boy of boy, ol Nobama sure is going to keep this country safe! I've got so much faith in him to keep me safe and to spend all of my money!

    WHAT A JOKE THIS MAN IS.

    February 27, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. j

    NO ONE should be above the law if we are a country of laws. President or not. Especially, if we have imprisoned even executed foreigners and former enemies ( WW II ) for torturing prisoners ("detainees") . It`s like we never heard of the Geneva Accords we agreed too !!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Oregon

    The majority of the American People – nay the WORLD population – will not rest until Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al., are in Prison serving life sentences.

    They Tortured people in OUR name.

    why is CNN afraid to post my comments?

    February 27, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Les Etats Rouges Theater

    There those unpatriotic terror lovin' Libs go again. I have people who don't look like me, because, man, to me, all of those Muslims Nation of Jihad extreme-Arabian like people are terrorists. Shucks, I'm sure glad there aren't any of them brown killer Muslim people in my town – we decent Christian Whites would take care of them. I've never been out of my town, so I don't care what happens outside of it. All that matters is that me and my kin is that I don't ever have to realize that there is an entire world out there and that Amurikka isn't the center of it. That Obama character would rather play basketball and throw Superbowl parties than send me my free money stimilus check...man I have socialists, browns & blacks and blues.

    February 27, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Pete in FL

    Anything to keep our minds off of how Obama is destroying the economy. Keep up the heat on Bush

    February 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Blame

    We have to blame ourselves for electing a president that was not intellect enough. let's not make the mistake again, America. It is true that we are all equal but among us are people who are more knowledgeable than the others. So for that reason let's not elect again the like Bush and Palin...not everybody can be a president...

    February 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. Les Etats Rouges Theater

    There those unpatriotic terror lovin' Libs go again. I hate people who don't look like me, because, man, to me, all of those Muslims Nation of Jihad extreme-Arabian like people are terrorists. Shucks, I'm sure glad there aren't any of them brown killer Muslim people in my town – we decent Christian Whites would take care of them. I've never been out of my town, so I don't care what happens outside of it. All that matters is that me and my kin is that I don't ever have to realize that there is an entire world out there and that Amurikka isn't the center of it. That Obama character would rather play basketball and throw Superbowl parties than send me my free money stimilus check...man I have socialists, browns & blacks and blues.

    February 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Waste of time and money, if anyone that knew anything is so far undercover it mite be easier to hit the moon with a rock.

    February 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. Kurt in Oregon

    Why not investigate? I have no excuse if I go to court.

    Why do laws apply differently for those in power?

    Justice blind? Give me a break.

    February 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Bud in NC

    Remember Bush's comments about the "Axis of Evil" Wow!! It turnes out that Bush was as the epicenter. He was a tin-type dictator who would use any means he wished. After all he was The Decider. He and Hitler can have quite a conversation and a few chuckles in the afterlife. And to think I actually walked by the white house two years ago. He might have been in there at the time, UUGH! I am going to take another shower to clean off anything that might still be on me.

    February 27, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  16. Fan of Common Sense

    As the economy worsens, the democrats will become more and more desperate. As a result, they will try to turn the spotlight back on Bush and Cheney in order to distract from their own corruption, incompetence, and failed policies. I wonder how much taxpayer money is going to be spent on this meaningless, stupid witch hunt.

    February 27, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Nick

    CNN try me again. You have tried so hard to put Obama and his administration irrelevant and Republicans the top banner here on the website, ticker and in the Television.......
    Thank you for putting my country behind republicans ideologies and control of our media.

    And by the way, you can ram Mr. Obama all you want because of budget figures, but what you are not reminding Americans is it is a 10+years budget and Projections.......It is American reconstruction and he has nothing to hide whether it is the cost of the war or the cost of healthcare........

    Again, CNN, Enough and just Enough!

    February 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. Joan

    One of the reasons why there is such a lack of confidence and faith in our government is that we've been lied to for years...while the Bush government enacted programs and procedures that were often believed to be illegal and immoral (torture, wire tapping, etc.). If his administration isn't called to answer for these crimes, it simply proves to us that Nixon was right when he said that nothing is illegal if the President does it.

    February 27, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. P. D.

    This should have been done years ago. Not only have these policies proved ineffective, they have damaged our reputation world-wide. The crafters of these abuses should be prosecuted.

    February 27, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. J.P.

    This is playing literally like a page by page rereading of the first days of the Clinton administration. The policies are identical. The result will be the same too... which building will fall? Sears Tower? Trump Tower? Empire State?

    Take your pick. The writing is on the wall and has been since 1993.

    To pretend your enemy doesn't exist doesn't mean they'll stop trying to hit you. It merely means they have an opportunity to hit hard while our guard is down, while we're celebrating at the altar of hope and change. May (fill in your diety of choice) have mercy on this former great republic.

    February 27, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. Maggie

    When will the arrests start?

    February 27, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. That Other Jerry

    Trying to determine if techniques were warranted or effective is a useful objective. Trying to dig up dirt for the sake of yet another cheap shot at Bush is a waste of this taxpayer's dollars in an economic crisis. Here's hoping the first objective is the real one.

    February 27, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  23. Kristen

    Finally, a president with REAL morals!

    February 27, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  24. Paul H

    We are so evil! I say we tickle the prisoners until they pee their pants!!

    February 27, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. reggie

    President Bush did wonders in keeping the US safe. If the Dems feel the need to "witch hunt" him at our tax dollars expense, shame on THEM.

    February 27, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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