US Republicans defend CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques

They plan to issue a minority report defending 'enhanced interrogation' after 9/11

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 August, 2014, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 4:57am

Republicans on the US Senate Intelligence Committee will soon release a minority report asserting the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques helped bring down Osama bin Laden and disrupt terrorist plots, the panel's top Republican said.

"Information gleaned from these interrogations was in fact used to interrupt and disrupt terrorist plots, including some information that took down bin Laden," Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday.

Democrats who control the Senate Intelligence Committee are expected to issue their own report that alleges the CIA techniques, such as "waterboarding", did not help yield valuable intelligence and were not necessary.

The two reports will come five years after the committee authorised a probe into the CIA's possible use of torture after September 11.

It is unclear when the Democrats' report will be released because Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, has said she may challenge some redactions made by the Obama administration.

President Barack Obama, who banned the practices after taking office, said on Friday the CIA had "tortured some folks" during the administration of former president George W. Bush.

"We did some things that were contrary to our values," Obama said.

Republicans on the committee have long disagreed with Democrats about the use of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, and largely boycotted the committee's probe.

"I thought it was a mistake then. I still think it is a mistake," Chambliss said on CBS.

The investigation has been plagued with difficulties. The CIA conceded last week it had improperly monitored computers used by committee investigators looking into torture allegations.

The revelation prompted two Democratic senators to call for the resignation of CIA director John Brennan, who took over the spy agency last year.

Senate committee members appearing on Sunday television news shows did not call for Brennan's resignation, but said the CIA had committed a breach of trust that must be addressed.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, a survivor of torture, said on the Fox News programme Sunday Morning Futures he was in some ways more concerned about the CIA spying on Senate staffers, and he called for an independent investigation.