On Tuesday, the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the torture methods, or “enhanced interrogation techniques,” used by the Central Intelligence Agency on al-Qaida hostages following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
As previously reported, the committee’s Democrats were the only ones who approved this account, and the Republicans on the committee chose to follow-up the initial report with one of their own.
While the report from the Democrats accused the CIA of misleading White House officials about the effectiveness and the cruelty of the tactics being used on the hostages, the Republicans took a different angle.
The 100-page report from the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee claimed that the tactics used by the CIA weakened al-Qaida overall, and saved American lives:
“We have no doubt that the CIA’s detention program saved lives and played a vital role in weakening Al Qaeda while the program was in operation,” concluded the report.
The committee’s Republicans also alleged that Democrats had practiced “inadequate objectivity,” and had written their report with “political motivations” in mind.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, released a statement condemning the timing of the release, and saying that he believes the decision to release the report at this time was “politically motivated,” following the Democrats’ loss of control in the Senate.
“The timing of the release is problematic given the growing threats we face,” said Graham. “Terrorism is on the rise, and our enemies will seize upon this report at a critical time. Simply put, this is not the time to release the report.”
Some Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee viewed the release of the report as a way to degrade former President George W. Bush.
Richard Burr, a Senator from North Carolina, and the Committee’s incoming Chairman, insisted that “The only motive here could be to embarrass George W. Bush.”
According to USA Today, in the midst of the report’s release, Bush and his top aides have “remained low-key,” and have issued “few statements on the report’s claims that the agency exceeded its authority and lied about the results.”
Bill Harlow, the CIA’s Director of public affairs from 1997 to 2004, was in charge of the group that organized the website ciasavedlives.com, which was created shortly after the Democrats released their report.
“Our concern is that right now people are reporting the Feinstein report as if it’s true,” said Harlow. “We don’t think it’s true.”
In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, three former CIA Directors and three former deputy directors, who were part of the group that created ciasavedlives.com, concluded that the Democrats’ report was merely a form of “politicization.”
“As lamentable as the inaccuracies of the majority document are — and the impact they will have on the public’s understanding of the program — some consequences are alarming,” the former Directors wrote.