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April 10, 2014

Senate Report Findings Confirm CIA Misled Congress, Administration About Torture

Washington, D.C. – Today, a McClatchy article released many of the findings and conclusions of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the post-9/11 CIA torture program. These findings indicate that the CIA provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice (DOJ) – information that formed the basis of the DOJ’s legal analysis of the torture program.

In response to these findings, former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora said, "The legal foundation for this program was always broken, but this also shows that it was resting on thin air.  These conclusions only reinforce that torture is a brutal, unlawful practice that is unnecessary for protecting our national security.  It’s important to have as much of the report made public as possible to put these findings in context.  The White House should lead the declassification process and ensure that the American people can understand the true costs of our experiment with torture.”

Last week, the committee voted 11-3 to declassify and release the findings, conclusions, and executive summary of its 6,300-plus page report detailing facts about the CIA torture program. The report is now with the White House, where President Obama has stated that he unequivocally supports its public release. Human Rights First has urged the president to direct his staff to lead the declassification process, rather than deferring to the CIA.

“It’s no surprise that the official documentary evidence calls into question the utility of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation,’” said Col. Steve Kleinman, a former senior intelligence officer with the U.S. Air Force. “The most skilled and experienced interrogators know that torture and other forms of coercion undermine, rather than enhance, your ability to effectively gather information from individuals held in custody.  It’s time now for the president to show leadership and oversee a process by which as much of the intelligence committee’s report can be made public so we can finally begin a process of putting this dark chapter behind us.”

Human Rights First’s Raha Wala noted, “The report’s findings appear to show that the CIA systematically mislead Congress, the White House, and the Department of Justice about its brutal and unlawful interrogation program.  How does it make sense for the president to allow the CIA to take charge of declassifying a report that shows unlawful and embarrassing conduct on its part?”

For more information or to speak with Mora, Kleinman, or Wala, contact Corinne Duffy at duffyc@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.

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