February 27th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
9 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. Mary J.

    At last we as a nation is seeing the real truth about how this country has lied to us and put us under and drown us. Wonder how Bushhhhhhhh will feel if he is caught in the middle?

    February 27, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. ouradoptionadventures

    Wow... this is amazing. How many of you folks are criticizing President Bush for trying to protect our country. I'm sorry but I don't have the same faith in Obama in keeping our country safe. I'm afraid that he's going to give in to the political correctness and make our country worse-off. We'll see.....

    February 27, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Had It

    It's about time the ROVE/CHENEY/BUSH sleeping dog gets woke up. If they find anything at all, I hope it's prosecutable.

    February 27, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. The Bunk

    Whats the point will Bush or any one from his administration be going to prison?

    February 27, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. rbn alexandria, mn

    Skip looking into old prison policy- Rather lets ask what dollar for dollar was done with the 700 billion and then act on the proof that zero trust should have been given to any banks/ Investors that did not try and work with people in twisted mortgages when it could have helped. Then even in the hell we are in we can remove the debris to get out.

    February 27, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. MN


    People were Kept by george bush safe. I remember 9/11 happened under GOP rule. 10months after they took power.
    Someone tell me before 9/11, when was American attacked....
    Some people will never stop to amaze me.....

    I think we are all loosers!

    February 27, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Its time for Jumpsuits and Handcuffs

    The drunks ran the greed bus off the road on purpose so the next President would be saddled with this mess.They knew exactly what they were doing.

    February 27, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Laura Moon

    DC Voting Rights Come With Heavy Price
    The DC Voting Rights Bill will overturn FCC guidelines in the District, thanks to DeMint's amendment, and it will abolish all gun control laws in the District, thanks to Ensign's amendment. I can't believe no else has noticed this, but i've heard nothing of it on the news.
    Worried in Baltimore

    February 27, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. JJ in NY

    Another Witch hunt by the hypocritical dems................

    February 27, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. JK

    Where is Karl Rove and Co. the architect....

    What a headache I had 7years of my lifetime...

    I am so glad no 1min of my life will be wasted by this moron.

    Go Obama!

    February 27, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Scott, Tucson

    Notice that the dems don't want to launch investigations into the housing meltdown since it would mean indicting Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and a few other notable democrats.

    February 27, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Obama 2.0

    Don't waste the money we know they were crooks, Forward not backwards. The money can be used to create jobs.

    February 27, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. John. Austin, TX

    i hope george bush is tried for war crimes. if not for his disregard for human rights, then for his sheer stupidity.

    February 27, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. JJ

    If u.s doesn't torture, how did we end up torturing?

    February 27, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. PJP

    Hey Witch Hunt: Very Well said!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. Witch Hunt

    Geneva convention rights do not apply to terrorists since they dont wear uniforms or bear flags. Terrorists have no civil rights internationally or domestically and are the lowest scourge of the earth. Maybe some of you thin skin liberals would like the head of your loved ones chopped off. Thank You President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Mr. Rumsfield for keeping us safe since 9/11. Our current occupant of the White House has been friendly with terrorist scourge so we can't expect anything different other than this witch hunt.

    February 27, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. American

    Bush the dectator!

    February 27, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Jason

    Bush is not evil. In order to be evil you have to be smart. THAT Bush is not. He is a pawn for a much more sinister game. And that my friend I tip my hat to Mr. Dick Cheney the most evil man of the 21st century.

    February 27, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Tom in S.A.

    My four older brothers tortured me worse than the terrorist's were treated. It's done and over, give it a rest and save us some $$.

    February 27, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Edith

    I would like to see a full fledge investigation on the Bush Administration CIA I beleve there is more senister and underhanded tactics than meets the eye. The way the whole Bush Administration was conducted raise RED flags we needs to know all that went wrong for future protection and how the economy was let go out of control.

    February 27, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Bill

    It is about time all I heard from the Republicans in the 1990's was no one is above the law or the Rule of Law.

    February 27, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Big John

    Orange jump suits for all who are found to be guilty. It's the only way to prove to the rest of the world we do hold accountable those in power who make their own rules and expect to get away with it. Go back to George Washington and follow his example of not torturing enemy troops.

    February 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. CF in Tampa

    Unlike John McCain, Obama and his administration are and need to be capable of doing more than one thing at a time. To say we should not look into possible war crimes in an effort to regain our moral standing in the world because the economy is in trouble is ridiculous and typical for narrow minded republicans.

    February 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Dan S.

    The economy is crashing , millions with out jobs and our leaders are wasting tax payers money on a witch hunt over the last administration ?? How about doing some thing about the present and move away from revenge YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS !!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Guitarjelly

    Clinton: Not a witch hunt because we had a republican congress
    Bush: Is a witch hunt because...?

    "We weren't attacked again because of Bush's policies". What do people not understand about causation and correlation? You are not taking into account any other variables and attributing X to Y without taking into account or controlling for Z. It's part of the statistical/scientific method. Seriously, we have this "series of tubes" that allow for knowledge. Well, I guess have the right doesn't believe in science so what's the point of preaching the scientific method...

    February 27, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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