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. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Bravo Senate....By the way, what took so long?

    February 27, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. walleye

    Once we get the results from this committee I think we will see that Bush/Cheney should be sent up the river. I can understand being leaders, but we should lead by example.

    February 27, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Justice

    A very good start. Hopefully this will lead to charges of Crimes Against Humanity for the entire Bush Bunch.

    After watching Oprah's show on Walter Reed Army Hosp., and seeing interviews with the amputees, I feel that Bush & Cheney should be emptying bedpans, changing dressings, mopping floors, etc. WHILE the investigations proceed. SHAME ON ALL OF THEM.

    February 27, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Jimmy, Nashville Tn

    Bush and Cheney both need to be prosecuted as war criminals. I still can't beleive Bush wasn't impeached for the high crime of knowingly lying to the American people about the non-existant WMD's, his excuse for starting a war to profit his and Cheney's friends. It did NOT make us safer, quite the contrary it ignited the whole region and indeed the world against us. Not to mention the USA lost all moral high ground by torturing prisoners. From now on any captured American soldier can expect to be tortured, since that's what we do to our prisoners.

    February 27, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Truth Bomb Thrower

    Whenever the democrats start feeling the heat, they just hit the "BLAME BUSH" button. 🙂

    February 27, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. CMG

    Let the truth finally be known.....

    February 27, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Bill Austin

    How about everyone reread this and follow it.

    The United States Constitution

    February 27, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Bill, Bloominton IL

    Every liberal who thinks this is a good idea should watch 24. Agent Jack Bauer has done some very ugly things to protect people which is what the CIA is supposed to do. Terrorist do not play fair so how do you arrest them without playing their game on their terms? Why stop with Bush? I have no doubt this went on in the Clinton era as well as HW and Carter. We could throw them all in jail. Will that help all you democrats feel better? So much for liberals looking forward.

    February 27, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Mark

    The same liberals will be blaming the government for not doing enough at the next terrorist attack. Hopefully Pelosi is at ground zero!

    February 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Carl Justus

    It is a waste of time and money to investigate something just to see if you want to retain something.
    We do not need to retain torture programs in our interrogation process and that is what you will find.
    The idiot is gone and maybe the Lord will be good to us and never again give us a man even close to his views.
    If you want to something worthwhile, then investigate his war crimes activities and put him in prison.
    If any other country did what he did, we would be hollering for a war crimes investigation and prosecution.

    February 27, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. mike

    I really could care less if they tortured them. I would be 1st in line to turn the hose on for waterboarding. You people seem to forget who the enemy is. We'll be sure to fluff their pillow for them, too.

    February 27, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Yes, we need to know and their wrongs be exposed. Bush and Chaney have given us too much lies and spin while all the time engaging in the very thing that they denied.

    February 27, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. LIP

    Hey Stuffit,
    Not all men (to include women) are created equal. Some are more intelligent than others and some are not so intelligent.
    If you allowed this guy to lead you then I guess you qualify for being of the less intelligent portion and are more like the sheep you represent. Our President is merely someone filling a vacancy for a period of two years unless the "people " deem it wise to re-elect them, which they did, so they must have liked what he was doing. What they do is driven by the times we live in. Tough times need a firm hand, cowboy style if you will and other times require a different approach and who knows, maybe Obama's approach is appropriate for these times. If you don't like it just turn it off, you have the option.

    February 27, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Sniffit February 27th, 2009 11:34 am ET
    And we wonder why we were losing the ideological "war on terror" on this guy's watch? ------------------------
    It is because unpatriotic lunes like you and your fellow Dems in Holly-Weird committed treason against our Nation in a time of war by going to Foreign countries and undermining the efforts of our Commander-in-Chief.

    February 27, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Fan of Common Sense

    The PREPARATION for 9-11 occurred under Clinton. You all may recall that the Sudanese government offered to serve up Bin Laden on a silver platter and Bill said "no thanks."

    ....And don't forget all 19 terrorists were in the U.S. and training for their mission before Bush ever took office.

    February 27, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. mike

    Oh Pleaze stop thanking Bush,
    The USS Cole & the 1st World Trade Center, among others, happened during Clinton. This chain of events was set in motion LONG before Bush became President. Take off your partisan blinders off.

    February 27, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Larry from RI

    The big question is "What do those opposed to this review have to fear?"

    To turn a phrase too often used to justify illegally wire taping US citizens "If you have done nothing wrong then what are you hiding?"

    Ask this of anyone who is opposed to finding the truth!

    February 27, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. america first

    the republicans have NO problem giving iraq a BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH, but they can't bare for the American taxpayer to be helped when they are losing EVERYTHING THEY HAVE.

    February 27, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Pa Santigie

    What is there to review? They tortured people and these are crimes. If you are not going to hold these criminals accountable for their deeds, why bother reviewing anything, the laws must be respected.
    There is a reason laws were made, no one, INCLUDING and ESPECIALLY the President should not be above the law. This was what got us Watergate. Now we have the illegal invasion, occupation and senseless killing of tens at best and possinly hundreds of thousands of innocent people in a foreign land. Not to mention the tragic squander of young lives and the wasting of hundreds of billions of dollars. All these are criminal acts in any sense of the word. Get to the root of the problem.....the culture of impunity. It is not just the third world leaders that must be held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity any leader anywhere should be held accountable. The UN is spending money investigating the killing of one man in Lebanon and seeking to implicate Syria, yet they sit on their hands in the case of western leaders....so skip the small stuff and get to the heart of the matter ..WAR CRIMES.

    February 27, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Michael M. Noonan

    No attacks for 7 years. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to President Bush. Let's see how Obama profound suspicion of the military and overrelaince in aimles talk works.

    February 27, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. eric

    I think the lovable liberal(oxyMORON) was tortured by a lack of sleep and therefore makes stupid comments. Listening to you brainiacs rant about torture is comical

    February 27, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    I hope this administration has the guts to go after those who condoned the torture we all know happened. President Obama, while I think is the right President at the right time for our country, doesn't seem to me, to have it in him to prosocute any one in the former lie, cheat and steal administration and AG Holder, while wishing and wanting to go after and prosocute, may follow the Presidents lead. Don't get me wrong, I really admire the President BUT he really needs to get a little tougher attitude on many things including the past administration and its illegal activities. While he says he wants to look forward and not to the past, I think that's the cowards way out..

    February 27, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Felicia

    I hope they bring em down. The repigs have been terrorizing their own country for far to long. And it's about time we need justice anyway.

    February 27, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. ST

    I personally do not care about what Bush and his cronies did. I care about our economy and fixing the problems we are facing now. Let it go until that is done, then investigate until your hearts content.

    February 27, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Jon

    I'm an independent, but I find it hilarious how Rush Limbaugh makes so many liberals angry. Priscilla, Rush will never be silenced. hahahahaha

    February 27, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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