Bush blasts CIA torture report even before its release
The imminent release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's so-called torture report will at last reveal details about the CIA's past use of enhanced interrogation techniques — which, according to George W. Bush, were performed by American “patriots.”
Speaking to CNN on the eve of the report's long-anticipated release, the former two-term United States president defended the actions of the CIA agents whose conduct will soon be revealed to the world. Following three years of work and months of debate in Washington, the executive summary of the $40 million report is expected to be made pubic as early as this week.
Now ahead of the report's release, George W. Bush is standing by the CIA.
“We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf,” Bush told CNN’s Candy Crowley for an interview on the “State of the Union” television program that aired Sunday. “These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”
Previously it's been alleged that the report will show the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded a years-long investigation into the use of harsh interrogation techniques by the CIA under President Bush in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as having not helped American authorities gather intelligence as intended.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), a chair of the intelligence panel, said already that the report "uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight.” The findings, Feinstein said, show the CIA undermined "societal and constitutional values that we are very proud of” through the use of tactics like waterboarding and sleep deprivation.
According to the New York Times, however, one former White House advisor confined this week that individuals involved in the Bush administration will defend the CIA's past policies nevertheless. The source, who asked the Times not to be identified, told the paper, “we’re going to want to stand behind these guys” once the report is released.
Late last week it was reported that the document's 600-word executive summary could finally be made available to the world as early as this Monday following months of debate in Washington between the CIA and Senate staffers that has involved allegations of spying and, at one point, required the White House to broker negotiations between the two sides. With the publication now believed to be imminent, though, Feinstein is again finding herself in the peculiar position of defending not just the report, but the decision to make it public.
"I think this is a terrible idea," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN over the weekend of the report's release. "Foreign partners are telling us this will cause violence and deaths. Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths."
“Anybody who reads this is going to never let this happen again,” Feinstein said Sunday.