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. Jon

    Can we say Political Witch Hunt?

    The "we are the most tolerant crowd" is some of the most mean spirited people in this country. Did you see the Wife Swap San Fran couple. Typical of the left today, look down on the "common people" while trying to show them "the way".

    CNN will not post this since it speaks the truth on the left without personally attacking anyone or trashing Pres Bush.

    February 27, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. bill

    i just hears bush was DEPRESSED.well he had better be looking over his sholder.AMERICANS HAVE WOKEN UP.JAIL IS TOOO GOOD FOR THIS LIAR.DICTATOR.SHOULD BE WITH SADAM HOUSAIN

    February 27, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Terry in NY

    Thank God all these goody 2 shoes aren't in charge of national security. Sometimes you do what you have to for the benefit or the greater number. Move on and quit wasting our money on this witch hunt.

    February 27, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Linda in MS

    Obviously, many of you did not bother to read the part that says the investigation intends to find out if these tactics actually worked, not to prosecute anyone. That being said, how can this be a "witch hunt"?
    Actually, the people who authorized these interrogation methods, Bush, Cheny, Rumsfeld, will never be prosecuted, and if they were, would never be found guilty by whatever body that tried them, so why hope for that. We should just be thankful that we have a man with a conscience in charge now, and let it go. ( By we, I mean the people on here)

    February 27, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. susan-fl

    What! Bush keep us SAVE! Are you Nuts, what a Stupid thing to say Look at us! Bin Ladin mission was to ruin us and our economy, well he sure got that taken care of with the help of these Jerks in office. People are losing their Jobs, Homes, Savings, Healthcare, We are in two WARS!!! And we are Arguing about this Clown that only Lied his way into office. What the Hell did he do that was so Great? What a CLOWN, He's Not a Hero, No Mission Accomplish, No WMD, He is the biggest Liar to this country,and to the United Nations. , Wow...Up until Now We Have the Rights to See our Fallen Soldiers come home.
    If our families desire to do so. Before everything was hidden so we don't see the Crimes these Clowns have committed.

    February 27, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. mike

    For all you people convinced that "torture" and "domestic spying" didn't work, How do you know?

    February 27, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Pete S

    HEY we are all Americans here, Don't be hatin.

    February 27, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Gerry in Va. for Obama.


    Steve, Iraq had a long history with the Bushes prior to W becoming President. The reason Daddy bush didn't go to Bagdad during desert storm was because at that time the Bushes were still trying to do business (oil of course) with Saddam. This oil relationship was going full blast during the Ragan era but when Saddam got bold and invaded their neighbor daddy bush had to push back to save the U.S. face, but just hard enough to not damage the oil deal. So comes along Halliburton and Dickie bird Cheney and the oil was on again. But, things got quite sour when W come on the scene and wanted to avenge daddy bushes image because Saddam had threatened W's daddy"s life.. Well ho hum... So 9 months into his first term the war was on.. He needed a reason to bomb Saddam off the face of the earth and 9/11 was the perfect time to do that... I guess bottom line is, Bush / Saddam history goes back much much many years prior to 9/11 and since Bush is out of office now, IF they come after him again, maybe it will be just big D thats blown up instead of New York/ D.C.

    February 27, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Roger

    9/11 attack was done by Al Queda.
    Al Queda and Taliban are supplied weapons and training by Russia.
    Saddam Hussain was not a friend of Russia. Iran is a friend of Russia.
    Bush attacked Iraq, for Oil, because Saddam Hussain was a nuisance for Bush in getting control over gulf countries an OPEC.

    February 27, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Stacy

    Do you Democrats’ want to start this kind of crap?? It's all smoke and mirrors to appease the nut cases. If they do this to Bush, then someone will suggest that they go back and look at all the crap that Pres. Clinton did (or didn’t go)…and there is a butt load. Somalia, letting our troops get stomped. The first Twin Tower bombing, the Cole bombing, knowing about Bin Laden and sitting on his butt. God only knows what else. If the Democrats do this….they had better be ready.

    Thanks President Bush for keeping us safe.

    February 27, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Larry Houston TX

    How he EVER got to be President of the U.S. is way beyond my comprehension........I guess I have to blame myself partly, because I
    "Figured" Gore was going to get it, and like MANY others, we "figured"
    wrong, and didn't Vote......The first 4 yrs.was bad enough, but when
    he got elected the 2nd time, it's like putting a 3rd grade "special needs" child in office....( Never Again ! )

    February 27, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Amy Pa

    @Pete in FL February 27th, 2009 9:51 am ET
    Anything to keep our minds off of how Obama is destroying the economy. Keep up the heat on Bush......Heat is on Bush and all his sheep BA BA ......The economy is Detroyed IDIOT!!!!

    February 27, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    It is too bad they cannot tell which cities and planes and trains and buldings were protected from a terrorist attack so those people can kiss the bottoms of the administration who saved their behinds. But America is full of ungrateful, selfcentered, who think everyone but themselves owes them a life. Baker a former CIA agent commented in an editorial that the Army Field Manual could not even break the average American Teenager and what is bad is he is probably right. The only civil right I felt was violated during the Bush administration was my right to life by the terroist!

    February 27, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. robert

    Bush didn't keep us safe before 911, 911 happened on Bush's watch. He had control of the governmental apparatus to stop it and failed. Let his Republican sycophants and rear end smoochers foam at the mouth all they want, it's a fact of history.
    Or perhaps Republicans want to put a new rule in place: whatever happens nine months into the president's first term of office is his predecessor's fault. By that rule, all of the ranting and raving about Obama until that date will be misplaced; everyhing will be Bush's responsibility. How about it, Republicans?

    February 27, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Steve(the smart one)

    @ (Steve the Dummy).He is responsible for allowing 9/11 to happen because he was warned about it and decided to read "My Pet Goat" instead,duh.

    February 27, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama has no choice but to deal with this now rather than later. People must understand this is all part of national security and we must be prepared.

    February 27, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. tag


    February 27, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. John T from SC 2

    And yet Pres Obama has left himself and others open to do the very same things. (nothing is off the table he said himself)

    For those who thought the Twin towers were attacked BECAUSE of GW Bush.

    Are you talking about the first time during Pres Clinton or when they tried again on 9/11?

    Go watch SNL weekend update or the daily show some more.

    (this is why they don't let people drink till they are 21 LACK OF JUDGMENT and REASON. (I saw it on the internet/TV/read it in a book it MUST BE TRUE because I can't think for myself)
    Soundbite generation.

    February 27, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Larry

    Democrats need to have these poor people move in to their homes with them,it is rude and bad manors to insult our guest from other countries.

    Why fight terrorism,if there is such a thing,we need to simply talk to these people and give them whatever it is that they want,just love each other and hopefully they will love back,now that just might work !

    February 27, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Amazed

    Oh, poor Eric and his ilk. Just because we haven't been attacked again yet, doesn't mean Bush made us safe. In fact it is the general agreement of actually KNOWLEDGEABLE people in situations to know these sorts of things, that Bush and his policies (ok, they weren't actually "his" since he was too moronic to think them up, they were Cheney's and Rumsfeld's, but Bush spouted them when told to do so) have actually made us far, far less safe. Maggie is right and if you think that everyone who actually looks at facts is a Liberal then it's a good thing there are at least a few of them out there. I guess this begs the question of how to define a non-liberal.

    February 27, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Pete East

    Please read the article before making judgement statements. As in the statement:

    "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."

    Sounds more like they are simply trying to figure out which interrogation methods are effective.

    February 27, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Loyal Democrat in MD

    Yes, any criminal activity by ANYONE including (maybe especially) "top government officials" should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This is not a "witch hunt" but an attempt to discover the truth about what happened.
    BTW...NO, even if a very loved family member were captured, I would NEVER support torture. And I'll bet that the President wouldn't either!

    February 27, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Viv, Utah

    . Let us have another investigation, that it what the left is good at. How many times did they try to prove Bush lied about wmd, (four I think).
    They somehow forgot that Clinton had same intel.

    February 27, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. The Voice

    Torture was the icing on the cake for the worst administration in American history. Is there anything the Republicans did right for the the last eight years??

    It's funny how they say Obama is for big goverment, yet the size of goverment doubled during the Bush Adm.

    Wow, how cynical. Now they are trying to scare us with the whole Socialist word. Hopefully these GOP crooks won't ever touch the White House for another 50 years. Maybe then then they will get it.

    February 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. LiLa, WI

    "When are people going to GROW UP? How in the world after just 9 months in office is Bush responsible for 9-11?"

    The Bush administration ignored intelligence on Al Qaeda with 9/11 the result. Read the 9/11 Commission Report and Richard Clarke's book on the topic – I have. Ignorance is dangerous.

    February 27, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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