Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today praises Maine Senators Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) for their announced support of declassifying and publicly releasing the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the post-9/11 CIA torture program. The committee is set to vote on the report’s release tomorrow.
“Senators Collins and King join a growing list of bipartisan supporters for the report’s release,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “This report has the potential to put to rest years of speculation and misinformation about the CIA torture program. It seems clear that tomorrow’s declassification vote will pass in a bipartisan manner and that it will be up to President Obama to direct his staff to oversee the declassification process and ensure timely release of the report to the public.”
The intelligence committee study is the culmination of an oversight effort that the Senate intelligence committee began five years ago. In December 2012, The 6,000-plus page report on the former CIA detention and torture program was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 9-6. The report’s public release promises to formally set the record straight on claims that torture played a significant role in gaining actionable intelligence, such as the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the committee, has stated that torture or other abusive interrogation techniques did not play any such role.
Of the report, former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora has observed, “Despite the fact that this issue has been a controversy for almost 12 years, the American people don’t quite really know what happened yet. This is likely to be the authoritative investigation and analysis of the CIA’s torture program because the committee had full subpoena authority and had full access to all the participants, all the players, all the stakeholders involved in the program. The 6,300 pages of this report are likely to be authoritative for going forward. It’s important to declassify the report so the American people can understand what happened in the past and that can help guide us as we move forward.”
In a joint statement released this morning, Senators Collins and King said, “We do, however, believe in transparency and believe that the Executive Summary, and Additional and Dissenting Views, and the CIA’s rebuttal should be made public with appropriate redactions so the American public can reach their own conclusions about the conduct of this program. Torture is wrong, and we must make sure that the misconduct and the grave errors made in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program never happen again.”
“Senators Collins and King’s announcement puts them on the right side of history,” said Wala. “For too long, the public debate on torture has been bogged down by self-serving statements made by proponents who were instrumental in authorizing and carrying out this shameful program. Now the American people will finally have the facts to end the torture debate.”