US & Canada

US senators back release of CIA abuse details

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Senator Dianne Feinstein Image copyright AP
Image caption Committee Chair Senator Dianne Feinstein said that the government had a continuing responsibility to ensure that "nothing like this ever occurs again"

The US Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to recommend declassification of part of its report into "brutal" interrogation methods used by the CIA when questioning terror suspects.

But officials say it will be some time before the summary is made public.

Leaked parts of the report said that the CIA often misled the government over its interrogation methods when George W Bush was president.

The CIA disputes some of the findings, saying the report contains errors.

Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said that it had voted 11-3 to declassify what she called the "shocking" results of the investigation.

"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 be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do," the California Democrat said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The findings relate to CIA practices under former President George W Bush

Correspondents say that while some of the committee's Republicans voted with the Democrats in favour of declassifying the report, it was clear there were bitter divides within the panel.

Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss said that while he voted for the report's declassification "to get it behind us", it was still "a waste of time".

A statement released by Ms Feinstein said that the report highlighted "major problems" with the CIA's management of its secret Detention and Interrogation Programme, which involved more than 100 detainees.

"This is also deeply troubling and shows why oversight of intelligence agencies in a democratic nation is so important," the statement said.

"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."

The statement said that the full 6,200-page report - which took five years to compile - has been updated and will be declassified at a later time.

It said that the executive summary, findings and conclusions - which total more than 500 pages - will be sent to President Barack Obama for declassification review and subsequent public release.

Leaks of the report in the Washington Post on Tuesday said that the CIA used secret "black sites" to interrogate prisoners using techniques not previously acknowledged.

These included dunking suspects in icy water and smashing a prisoner's head against a wall.

Officials said that the CIA's interrogation programme yielded little useful intelligence and was not helpful in the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden or anything else of value.

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