Democrats Insist on Releasing CIA Report That Could Harm Americans

By Patrick Goodenough | December 8, 2014 | 5:06am EST

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) called Democrats' plan to release portions of a Senate committee report on CIA interrogation and detention programs “a terrible idea.” (AP Photo, File)

(CNSNews.com) – The imminent release of a Senate committee report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program could trigger violence against American citizens and interests abroad, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden are warning.

“This will be used by our enemies to motivate people to attack Americans and American facilities overseas,” Hayden told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

He also cautioned that the release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report would likely reduce the likelihood of partner countries cooperating with U.S. counter-terrorism efforts in future for fear of being exposed.

Rogers called the planned release -- backed by committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- “a terrible idea.”

“Our foreign partners are telling us this will cause violence and deaths,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Foreign leaders have approached the government and said ‘you do this, this will cause violence and deaths.’ Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”

Rogers recalled the furor after Danish newspapers in 2005 published cartoons satirizing Mohammed – scores of people died – and again after copies of the Qur’an were burned at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. More than 40 people were killed in violence following that 2012 incident, among them six American military personnel.

“We have seen what happens when other incidents are used in the propaganda terrorist machine to incite violence,” Rogers said. “Think of the cartoons in Denmark, and how many people died as a result. Think of the burning of the Qur’ans, how many people died as a result. They will use this [report release] to incite violence.”

Rogers noted that Secretary of State John Kerry had himself become involved, “because he believes this is dangerous to what they’re trying to accomplish overseas.”

Kerry spoke to Feinstein on Friday, "because a lot is going on in the world, and he wanted to make sure that foreign policy implications were being appropriately factored into the timing" of the report’s release, press reports quoted State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying.

‘So valuable … I couldn’t take it off the table’

A summary of the 6,000-plus page report on methods used by the CIA as the Bush administration pursued al-Qaeda after the 9/11 terrorist attacks is expected to be released on Tuesday. The inquiry, initiated by the Senate intelligence committee two months after President Obama took office, produced a report compiled by its Democratic staffers only.

Republicans on the committee plan to release their own report, disputing some of the conclusions, which reportedly include the claim that the techniques used by the CIA were ineffective in countering terrorism.

Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden says the release of parts of a Senate committee report on CIA interrogation programs could result in violence against Americans abroad. (AP Photo, File)

Hayden voiced concern about the effect the report’s release will have on CIA personnel.

“The CIA workforce will feel as if it has been tried and convicted in absentia since the Senate Democrats and their staff didn’t talk to anyone actively involved in the program,” he said.

“Second, this will be used by our enemies to motivate people to attack Americans and American facilities overseas, and I am genuinely concerned by that, as was the secretary of state and the director of national intelligence.”

“There are countries out there who have cooperated with us on the war on terror at some political risk that are relying on American discretion,” he continued. “I can’t imagine anyone out there going forward in the future who would be willing to do anything that even smacks of political danger.”

Hayden, who headed the CIA from 2006 to 2009, strongly denied claims allegedly contained in the report that the agency had lied to Congress and the administration about the effectiveness of the program, in order to be able to continue using the techniques.

“To say that we relentlessly, over an expanded period of time, lied to everyone about a program that wasn’t doing any good, that beggars the imagination,” he said.

Hayden said after he took the helm in May 2006 he reviewed the program, and recommended to President George W. Bush that the number of interrogation techniques being used be reduced.

But he had also told the president “that the program had been so valuable, that we couldn’t stop it altogether.”

“Even though now we had so much more intelligence on al-Qaeda from the detainees and other sources, even then the program had proven its worth,” he said. “In conscience, I couldn’t take it off the table.”

The report took three-and-a-half years to compile, and the Senate Intelligence Committee voted in late 2012 to approve it, along with 20 findings and conclusions.

It voted again last April to recommend that the report’s summary and conclusion be declassified. Since then the administration, CIA and senators have been negotiating over what information should be redacted for national security reasons before the release.

Late last month a Geneva-based United Nations committee urged the administration to speed up the public release of the Senate committee report, and “with minimal redactions.”

The call came from the U.N. Committee Against Torture, which examines the records of countries that have ratified the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture, which prohibits torture as well as “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Earlier in November, a U.S. delegation appeared before the committee, and told it that although the U.S. was proud of its record of upholding human rights at home and abroad, “in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values, including those reflected in the convention.”

“As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that,” a State Department representative told the panel.

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