On April 3, 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to send the Findings and Conclusions and the Executive Summary of its final Study on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program to the President for declassification and subsequent public release.
This action marked the culmination of a monumental effort that officially began with the Committee's decision to initiate the Study in March 2009, but which had its roots in an investigation into the CIA's destruction of videotapes of CIA detainee interrogations that began in December 2007.
The full Committee Study, which totals more than 6,700 pages, remains classified but is now an official Senate report. The full report has been provided to the White House, the CIA, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the hopes that it will prevent future coercive interrogation practices and inform the management of other covert action programs.
As the Chairman of the Committee since 2009, I write to offer some additional views, context, and history.
I began my service on the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2001. I remember testimony that summer from George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, that warned of a possible major terrorist event against the United States, but without specifics on the time, location, or method of attack. On September 11, 2001, the world learned the answers to those questions that had consumed the CIA and other parts of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
I recall vividly watching the horror of that day, to include the television footage of innocent men and women jumping out of the World Trade Center towers to escape the fire. The images, and the sounds as their bodies hit the pavement far below, will remain with me for the rest of my life.
It is against that backdrop – the largest attack against the American homeland in our history – that the events described in this report were undertaken.
- For information on the events at the CIA prior to September 11, 2001, see the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (9/11 Commission) and Office of the Inspector General Report on CIA Accountability With Respect to the 9/11 Attacks.
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