April 3, 2014
The move, opposed by three Republicans on the panel, allows Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the head of the intelligence committee, to deliver the findings to the White House for review.
The vote is a blow to the CIA, which could be forced to declassify a document that delivers a scathing verdict on one of the most controversial periods in the spy agency’s fractured history.
“The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking,” Feinstein, said in a statement issued on Thursday. “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 6,300-page report prepared by the intelligence committee provides details of torture techniques, including water-boarding, wall-slamming and shackling, used by the CIA under the administration of George W. Bush.
The report, which cost $40 million and took nearly four years to compose, “uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight,” according to Feinstein.
In addition to detailing the CIA’s illegal practices, the report also reveals that the spy agency misled the White House, the Department of Justice, and Congress about the “effectiveness” of its controversial torture techniques.
The Senate panel reviewed more than six million pages of CIA documents and other records on the agency’s controversial programs in order to compose the report.
The CIA has not accepted some of the report’s conclusions and has resisted the push from some of the Senate panel’s members, like Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado), for the release of the report.
In a letter to President Barack Obama on March 4, Udall complained about the CIA’s efforts to block the de-classification of the report and its “unprecedented action against the committee,” referring to the agency’s alleged spying on the Senate panel.
“It is essential that the Committee be able to do its oversight work — consistent with our constitutional principles of separation of powers — without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today,” he wrote.