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. Jon

    Please don't be mean to any terrorists! Maybe we should behead them and post it on youtube.

    February 27, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Lisa B

    It is about time. I hope they are also preparing and cleaning up the jail cells where Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales and the rest of the criminals will be living for the rest of their lives!

    February 27, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. melvin

    "The Senate Intelligence Committee ...."
    Now there's an oxymoron if ever ther was one!

    February 27, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    This should have been done DURING the Bush Administration's disregard for the law or the Constitution, not later!

    The ones you really need to grill are Cheney and Rumsfeld, the architects of this chaos!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Don't you idiots have..........

    anything better to do? How about solving the economy's problems first before you go off wasting taxpayer money on witch hunts.

    February 27, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. JR

    Oh Oh .... here it comes.

    February 27, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Amy

    I respectfully disagree with Mr. Panetta. We prosecuted people at the end of World War II for some of the same things that he is now saying shouldn't be prosecuted. I think this is another case of us in the USA saying "Do as we say, not as we do." From what I understand we even prosecuted some Americans who waterboarded suspects in Vietnam during interrogations.

    This is just another example of the Bush administration thinking they are above international law/treaties that we signed! I think the UN needs to step in if the Obama administration won't step up to the plate.

    February 27, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. Instead of this......

    how about using the money to prevent the next 9/11?

    February 27, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. eric

    Typical BS from the left. Keep the attention away from their ridiculous pork barrel spending and put it back on BUSH. Heaven forbid we play loud music and use sleep deprivation while these terrorists are beheading our true heroes. If the democrats keep doing what they have been doing over the last month or so the republicans will make gains in 2010 and 2012 that will make the dumbocrats gains look minimal.

    February 27, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. carolflowery

    Oh yeah, by all means, let's investigate the only President that while in office, more than 3,000 american citizens and many others went to work one morning, and never returned home again. Yeah, let's investigate what we did to deserve the attach, wouldnt that be the proper way to think about it ummm, how many years later. Obama
    needs to let this dog lie, and investigate what Iran, NOrth Korea, and several other countries are up to. He needs to get his eye on what
    will protect this country under his Presidency...really, what will this get us, where will it get us, and why now. Do your job Mr. President.

    February 27, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. rbn alexandria, mn

    Skip looking into old prison policy- Rather lets lask what dollar for dollar was done with the 700 billion and then act on the prooff that zero trust should be given to any banks/ Investors that did not try and work with people in twisted mortagages when it could have helped.

    February 27, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. marty

    Isn't it amazing? We can spend a year in committee meetings for this past history, but not a single day debating the merits, or lack of merits, of the stimulus bill! Outrageous! Not that the investigation is going to happen, but that looking for dirt on a past President is more important than the economic situation right now. When will the Congress get it??? This ends up being the same old, same old. Where is the new, where is the change? GET THE ECONOMY FIXED, THEN PLAY YOUR STUPID PARTISAN GAMES!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Q

    I just don't wanna see this guy, Period!

    February 27, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. John Anthony

    Let's hope it's a deep, exhaustive, and revealing study. Then, they ought to run an equally thorough one on the entire Bush administration, indict them, try them, and convict them of war crimes so the world can see that we are indeed a nation of law and morality, not the corrupt kingdom Bush envisioned!

    February 27, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. fed up

    Waste of tax payers money!!! Nobody is going to jail. Do the work that you were sent there to do!!!!!

    The President has clearly said he wants no part of any witch hunt. When will you people ever learn?????????!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes, I voted as a Democrat!!!!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. Liz

    Bush please go away!

    February 27, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Angela Wynnhurst

    I do hope the committee understands that the US has been at war, and war combatants should be treated as POWs when caught. We did not behead the POWs, now did we? And, remember, we are in the 21st Century with all manner of ideals having changed all over the world, now haven't they?

    February 27, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. TRUTH

    Oddly enough, reports coming out of Gitmo allege that abuse has gotten worse since Obama took over the office of President than it ever was under Bush. These Liberals want to provide these terrorist scum with more rights than American babies.

    February 27, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. Ken

    Bush the decider. He really did. I lost my job of 17years. That is a real decider. CNN, please stop posting Bush Pictures!

    February 27, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Burton Kemp

    With the pansies now in the White House, the USA is ripe for attacks from many directions. Our enemies need never fear that they will be "mistreated". What in this world has happened to the old gung-ho feeling of protecting American first?

    February 27, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Kevin ST Pete, FL

    It's about time somebody started lookig into the Bush Administration for their bungling of this affair that has costed the taxpayer trillions of dollars, the lives of over 4200 of our honored servicemembers and the hundreds more of injured veterans. I hope criminal charges are coming down the pipe for the ENTIRE CABINET!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Maggie

    Stacy, Bush didn't keep us safe since 9/11.

    He's one of the main perpetrators for endangering us, our liberties, our way of life.

    I'm not a liberal or a conservative. I'm not a republican or a democrat. Never have been because I don't agree with most of what any party says regardless of what end of the spectrum they're on. What I am is an American citizen who saw rampant criminal activity going on in Washington for 8 years and a decidely eye-averting public who thought that it was perfectly okay for Bush and company to commit these crimes without anyone stopping them.

    I'm one person. I know for a fact there was nothing I could do to stop the criminals, but as an American citizen, I had a right and a responsibility to say "No, I do not agree with Bush and his cronies."

    And guess what? Crimes have nothing to do with party, party affiliation or which side of the spectrum their on. I blame the democrats as much as the republicans for allowing Bush and his crime family get away with they did.

    However, Bush did not keep us safe since 9/11. Anyone who thinks that is just spewing the same old rhetoric that is far, far from the truth.

    February 27, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Ross Pugentry

    This is just another way for a bunch of lawyers to get rich wasting taxpayer money to try to prove that Bush was overzealous in trying to catch "evil-doers" by eaves-dropping and snooping on their conversations, as the now stupidly labeled ex-prez. carried on during his terms. Bush carried out such ignorant activity, because he simply was too stupid to be talking with international leaders and keeping the now infamous whole-world-involved depression that we have from happening. You know, a lot of idle time is the devil's workshop. This sort of trying to do sleuth work by taxpayer funded lawyers is yet another waste of money because if anything can be proven as illicit and carried out by the Bush team...no-one will do anything about it as far as punishment is concerned....so why even WASTE THE MONEY??? Forget it and spend the money on developing hydrogen powered cars or something that will benefit mankind...

    February 27, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. George

    Why is CNN promoting republicans even by posting their pictures here. These people should be locked up and throw the keys away. Never seen or heard!

    February 27, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Witch Hunt

    Let the witch hunts begin. It was only a matter of time before the current occupant of the White House would start wasting tax payers dollars by trying to prosecute the Bush administration that kept this country safe after 9/11. But, that shouldnt surprise anyone coming from a guy that is friendly to the likes of Bill Ayers, and gives Hamas $900 million of our tax dollars. Terrorism is despicable and wears no uniforms or bears no flags so the Geneva convention does not apply. With that being said I would like to thank you Mr. President Bush for keeping us safe. May God Bless you and your family and I hope this ignorant witch hunt ends soon.

    February 27, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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