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. JC

    Yes, let's worry about the "rights" of terrorists and illegals, so when the next 9-11 happens, we can pay for Civil Liberties lawyers to get them off the hook.

    February 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Me

    You people are aware that Bush followed the EXACT SAME policy of the Clinton Administration, right? Clinton was the one who STARTED the policy of rendition.

    The ignorant out there know no bounds.

    February 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. Proud Yankee

    Bush promised accountability in our government. Let's have it.

    February 27, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. chris24

    evil-doers?

    is this another bush leftover?

    February 27, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. dj

    war criminal echoes in the distance

    February 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. to witch hunt

    lets talk the Clinton impeachment

    huge waste of tax payer time, expense over who kissed who and what went on between two consenting adults behind closed doors

    lets stack that up against: torture, wiretaping, NOT keeping us safe before and after 9/11, outing a CIA operative, taking us recession

    what a CRIMINAL nightmare Bush was and is

    February 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. sherry

    Truth....Where are the fact's that the abuse has gotten worse since Obama has taken office?

    Oh, I know your messiah Rush Limbaugh told you.

    February 27, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Drew

    The majority of the responses are dishartening. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, do you think our fellow Americans were questionong the processes that kept the homeland safe like you are now doing? You peolpe should read "Lone Survivor", buy Marcus Luttrel, and get a reality check. It is no secret that our nation is crumbling before our very eyes. The democracy that our Founders established is no longer of relevance and no longer exists. Your own troops, who are defending your right to think the way you do, are disgusted at your actions and thought processes, as am I.
    -SSgt, USMC

    February 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. CNN moderation purgatory...

    Maggie February 27th, 2009 10:01 am ET

    When will the arrests start?
    ---------------------------------
    Never. The Senate does not have the power to arrest anyone.

    This is a waste of taxpayer money.
    Nothing but a witch hunt.
    And most of what they uncover will never be made public for national security reasons.

    February 27, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. sherry

    Many of you state that Bush kept the country safe........
    Well 9/11 should never have happened....They knew that the terroist's were going to use airplanes as weapons to crash into building's.

    Why did the Bush administration ignore these fact's and not heighten security at all airport's?

    February 27, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Gary

    I have no doubt if you turn over enough stones at the CIA, we'll find a few things we don't like. But given that we have been protected from terrorist attacks over the last 7 years and we need to keep the CIA focused on preventing attacks, I'm not sure that I want to distract them with an investigation. Given our economic problems, I'm not sure that a political "witch hunt" against the Bush administration by the Democrats would be helpful. I hate the idea of terrorism, but if put the CIA into a "24" like scenario where innocent lives can be saved by bending a few rules I would reluctantly agree the rules could be bent. I know the slippery slope that puts us on, I know costs/benefit, I know the world is not always black and white. Maybe these investigations could be done secretly so that they are not a political move rather a "lessons learned" tool.

    February 27, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. proud army navy mom

    The intention is not to find evil-doers or lawbreakers," according to the aide, but "the information will go where it goes."

    I hope it sends bush, cheney, rumsfeld, rice and others straight to jail!

    February 27, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Joanna

    To all of you that think investigating bush is wrong, tell me this.... Do you want Obama abusing our laws and constitution they way Bush did? Are you loyal to Bush and party or our country and constitution?

    February 27, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Minnesotan

    This must be part of the stimulus package spending money to review a program that is shut down and the information will not be used for anything. Like it or not it was within the duties of Commander/Chief to issues the orders in the first place.

    February 27, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Roy

    Perhaps they should interrogate Bush and Cheney using the same techniques that are being investigated here! Maybe not....Cheney might actually LIKE IT!!

    If anyon thinks this is a waste of monies...how about when the Republicans spent the money trying to impeach Bill Clinton....and over WHAT???? No one died, was imprisoned, was invaded, or was tortured over Monica Lewinsky. Chasing THAT trail was a waste of money.

    It is hysterical to me that some people here think Bush kept us "safe" by alienating the rest of the entire world over the last eight years......

    February 27, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Sniffit

    @ Witch Hunt

    Two words: Kenneth Star.

    February 27, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. Sniffit

    @ Maggie

    I agree with you 100%. Bush and Cheney are the posterchildren for terrorist recruitment and I'm willing to bet my left arm that you can find Al Qaeda brochures with their faces plastered all over them.

    February 27, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. lindomar Rodrigues

    Bush administration went way so far living on high styles and lying to the American people since the 9/11 . Mr. Bush never accomplished with his promises that was done during his political platform to become a Presient of USA. Instead created World conflict to hide himself from his lies to again American people and to the World. What was prove????? on his 8 years as a President???? Shame on you.

    February 27, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Sniffit

    That guy right there in that picture led this country in abandoning our ideals...the core principles that define us a people, a society and civilization. ALL men are created equal and imbued with fundamental inalienable rights.

    Funny...I've yet to see the terrorists waiver in their adherence to and pursuit of their ideals.

    And we wonder why we were losing the ideological "war on terror" on this guy's watch?

    February 27, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. ANGIE-OH

    when are people going to wake up. we were attacked on 9/11 BECAUSE OF bush.

    February 27, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Priscilla

    This is a good thing! Finally, Limbaugh and all of the other critical Republicans will be silenced for their stupidity!

    February 27, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. cheryl brooks from cali

    They all need to go to jail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They ran this country into the ground!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Perspective

    You people saying that congress should concentrate on something else like the economy. You do realize that congress has more than one committee right? Several in fact. Each one has a specialty. Like the one doing this investigation specializes intelligence. There is another that specializes in economics.

    I'm just saying that with hundreds of members of congress and 100 in the senate, it is possible that they can do multiple things at once.

    February 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. thomas

    A dose of their own medicine would do Bush/Cheney well.

    February 27, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Jack Carlson

    When we are attacked again because what we have for leaders now are idiots – some will wake up.
    We have serious issues and need to watch very carefully our Constitution being torn apart by our Leaders today – while they treat terrorists like petty criminals. Sent one back to England and now English Taxpayers have to pay 24 hr "watch" of this crum.
    Jack Carlson
    Seattle WA

    February 27, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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