Washington: The US Senate’s intelligence committee has just voted to declassify crucial parts of a report on the CIA’s controversial post-September 11 "enhanced interrogation" program.
The documents will now be passed on to the White House, where President Barack Obama will consider arguments by the CIA for redacting elements of the declassified documents.
The declassification is the result of a push by Democrats on the intelligence committee who have reportedly concluded the CIA misled the Justice Department and Congress about the effectiveness of its use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the George W. Bush presidency.
Mr Obama banned such practices on coming into office, but has resisted investigating the allegations or prosecuting those accused of breaking the law.
The committee voted 11-3 in favour of declassifying the report’s 480-page summary as well as its findings and conclusions.
Speaking after the vote, the committee’s Democratic chairwoman Senator Dianne Feinstein said: "The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen.
"The release of this summary and conclusions in the near future shows that this nation admits its errors, as painful as they may be, and seeks to learn from them. It is now abundantly clear that, in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks after 9/11 and bring those responsible to justice, the CIA made serious mistakes that haunt us to this day. We are acknowledging those mistakes, and we have a continuing responsibility to make sure nothing like this ever occurs again."
Last month, Senator Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on the committee itself as it conducted the five-year investigation. If the allegations are true, the CIA would have broken laws and even basic constitutional principals by spying domestically and on the Senate body charged with its oversight.
She said the CIA had not only removed documents from the committee’s computers but also sought to intimidate it by calling for an FBI inquiry into the committee’s conduct.
CIA director John Brennan has denied the allegations.
According to The Washington Post, which has spoken with officials who have seen the documents, the report includes gruesome new details about the interrogations conducted in the year after the September 11 attacks. It concludes that contrary to the CIA's repeated claims to Congress, the Justice Department and the public, the interrogations did not obtain unique intelligence that thwarted terrorist attacks.
“These details - recounting filthy conditions and vicious interrogation techniques - will shock the conscience in the same way that the Abu Ghraib and waterboarding revelations did," wrote the Post’s David Ignatius in an opinion piece earlier this week.
Senator Feinstein’s tough line on the CIA has raised eyebrows as she has built a reputation of supporting the agency.
The story CIA interrogation tactics: controversial report to be declassified first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.