February 27th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
6 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. Phil

    I say we didn't do enough to get info out of these people. I'm glad President Bush had fortitude to take care of the situation to the best of his ability. Clinton lobbed a tomahawk cruise missile at an abandoned Bin Laden camp in reaction to his attack during his presidency. That accomplished a lot. I am sick of listening to the bleeding hearts whine about Bush. I am proud that our president took a firm stance and didn't care that he fell out of favor with the socialists in Europe. God help our country if something like World War II ever happened again because all the bleeding hearts will sit back and put their hands up like the French did so many times. Our forefathers would be rolling in their graves if they saw how Americans have become.

    February 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Ridiculous Hypothesis - Llinda

    Llinda February 27th, 2009 9:39 am ET
    If Obama's daughters were taken captive and their lives threatened....
    It's about time the liberal yella-bellies toughen up, especially the men.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That hypothesis is downright ridiculous. Lord Forbid anything would happen to the President's children or the First Lady, however The 'terrorists' most likely to be involved would be REPUBLICAN/CONSEVATIVE WHITE AMERICANS.

    You are utterly ridiculous, truly.

    February 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. Ridiculous Hypothesis - Llinda

    Llinda February 27th, 2009 9:39 am ET
    If Obama's daughters were taken captive and their lives threatened....
    It's about time the liberal yella-bellies toughen up, especially the men.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That hypothesis is downright ridiculous. Lord Forbid anything would happen to the President's children or the First Lady, however The 'terrorists' most likely to be involved would be REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVE WHITE AMERICANS.

    You are utterly ridiculous, truly.

    February 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Marc

    Baze, Scott, Stacy and all the others – So say that Obama makes a big mess with health care or the bail-out and is voted out in 2012 and a Republican becomes the 45th POTUS. By your statement this guy or gal wouldn't have the right to check on Obama's actions, no matter how illegal or even unconstitutional they might seem to be.
    That's the same thing happening here. GWB made a huge mess while 'Keeping US Safe', and now it's up to BHO to clean it. And to do that he has to know exactly how big was the mess left behind by GWB.
    It's called Damage Control folks, a huge damage on our safety made by hysterycal schizo maniacs with the belief that 'If it's for the country... ANYTHING GOES'.

    February 27, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Justice

    Several Americans understand the Obama administration does not want to go backwards and respect his position. At the same time, our country and world for that matter should ensure illegal torture and wars are never engaged again, especially on false pretenses. A precendent needs to be set.

    Our government will seemingly not prosecute, even with talks of immunity; however, Bush is planning a speech in Canada in March. While in international territory, justice could be served at a global level, leading to a debatably justified trial at the Hague. The same could be applied to Rumsfeld and Cheney whenever they might leave the country.

    It may sound harsh, but there are many of us who never want their misguided actions to ever happen to the America we love again.

    February 27, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Hispanic in Dallas, TX

    Just like the government to waste time and money on these "investigations". Please get to work on running this country and stop the witch hunt!

    February 27, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Jonathan

    I'm sick of all the thumb-suckers and bed-wetters (thats you Dems) crying about GWB. You need to start paying attention to what this idiot you loosers just elected is doing to ruin this country. I know why you people dont have jobs....you just want to sit on your butts, and wait for hand-outs. Loosers.....go to work!

    February 27, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Oh Pleaze stop thanking Bush

    Hey Witch Hunt

    9/11 occured during Bush's watch....

    February 27, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Di

    Another WASTE of taxpayers money. Lets look forward, the DEM need to STOP.

    February 27, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Phil

    While the Senate is doing some investigating...why not investigate all of Obama's appointees and the Senate and House. That is where the corruption and misuse of powers truly lie. Give me a break. I guess these investigating committees are part of ear marks from the stimulus bil! hahah! Where's your change at Obama??? The only change I see is Washington changing to Chicago style politics.

    February 27, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Ross Pugentry

    All I can add to my big earlier posted comment, is that I want to know why Bush was not impeached in 2005 or 2006, when all this illicit evasdropping was discovered amongst other ignorant behavior by Bush that was very detrimental to this country. Why was he allowed to continue as president for two WHOLE TERMS??? and what about all you idiots who are trying to get the idiot now investigaged after the FACT and ALL THE HARM THAT he did to the country...is it because everyone was scared that Bush attended church every Sunday...this country needs to be very ashamed of itself...it really deserves all it is getting for having allowed all this melodrama to have happened! End of Story!

    February 27, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. liden macoff

    Another waste of taxpayer money.
    Just think of the printing costs alone involved in this "investigational witch hunt" and to what purpose?

    February 27, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. still hoping

    As a democrat, I say we have mistreated the prisoners. We should pay them back for this by giving each one $1.0 million and a nice house, car, and let them bring some of their friends over so they can recouperate from our mistreatment.
    We don't want them to be mad at us afterall. Nor do we want the other countries of the world to think we are mean.

    Let's just let them think we're stupid. And let the terrorists know that if they kill americans they won't just have 40 virgins in paradise, they will have them right here in the US too! After all, if we treat them nicely they will stop trying to kill us every chance they get.

    February 27, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Rob

    Yippee!! The Senate's wasting money again on a worthless snipe hunt, while the country's crashing. Instead of doing the job of the people and working out ways (real ones) to get this country going, they follow these radical, lie filled rants about Bush doing illegal stuff.

    More proof that when the libs run the country, the country suffers.

    February 27, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. LIP

    Dam–d if you do and dam–d if you don't.
    Had it been the other way around Bush would have been condemned for not doing enough, like he was with Hurricane Katrina.
    When the enemy wears no uniform and has no country and beheads it captives and really tortures, not for the sake of gathering information, but simply because we are the enemy, then no rules need apply. When it is necessary to get the information required to save our citizens from religious zealots, then it is what it is and you do what is absolutely necessary.
    God bless George W. Bush and God bless America and thank you Geoprge W. Bush for keeping us safe and to hell with those that would like us to believe otherwise.

    February 27, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. RH

    Those of you defending Bush and defending torture absolutely sicken me. Your attitude is far more akin to that of the terrorists than that of principled, freedom-loving Americans. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I know I'm ashamed of you.

    February 27, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. Gary

    It is so sad to see our country split on this we are Americans, in America no one is above the law.

    February 27, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Jared

    Sure go ahead investiage. What you'll find is a president that was willing to go to any length to protect me and my children. Waterboarding is not torture; you don't get long lasting damage from it, it can't kill you, it just scares you. But you libs are to nice to see that. Lets hold hands and hope you say. Yeah that will work on a guy who's willing to kill himself to kill us. Good work libs, spend spend spend us into a 3rd world country, but cut spending for the military.

    February 27, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Big John

    You republican idiots.... Bush was asleep at the wheel which is why 911 happened in the first place. He was briefed in August of possible hijackings of airliners and failed to act on the information. Instead went on a "hard earned vacation". Torture of any prisoner regardless of Geneva Convention is still inhumane and those guilty should be held accountable ....HUMANELY

    February 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Steve(the smart one)

    Its time to put on that pretty orange jumpsuit little fellow.

    February 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. JB Cal

    Got news for you Pete in FL, the economy was ruined before President Obama got into office, by those idiots that you in all likelyhood voted for twice. But in time, I'm sure he'll clean up that mess that they left.

    February 27, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. California Gold

    A review of the CIA is appropriate. A review of government and military operations is fine. Our 43rd President (Bush) took the bull by the horns and was crystal clear: there is no torture. None. Therefore, a review should not be feared. Now how to square that with news reporting, photo journalism and statements of those involved? The problem will be what to do with the turds they keep finding when they look under the rocks.

    February 27, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Norom

    Llinda February 27th, 2009 9:39 am ET

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

    Llinda- it takes a lot more courage to stand up for our rights and civil liberties than it does to hand them over to the government in the name of fear. The ends do not justify the means, and NO ONE is above the law, even the president. I suggest that you take a look in the mirror to see what color your belly is.

    February 27, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Mark

    Does anyone actually have evidence of torture? Don't you think any real evidence would be all over the front page of the New York Times? Also, the warrantless wiretapping was NOT unprecedented. In fact, it was quite tame in comparison to what progressives have foisted upon us in the past. Please read your history folks, and you can start with liberal icon Woodrow Wilson's American Protection League. Of course, since Wilson was such a liberal icon, I doubt CNN will publish this comment. Wouldn't want to hurt his image now would we?

    February 27, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Al, NY NY

    @ Truth.....prove it. And don't use Rush/Shammity/skank Coulter or Levin as your source

    February 27, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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