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Human Rights

US Senate votes to release CIA interrogation report

A US Senate panel has voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA's brutal interrogation methods under Republican President George W. Bush. The panel chair said the investigation results were "shocking."

Senators vote to release CIA report

The United States Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to release key sections of its report on the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) use of brutal interrogation methods in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

It will, however, be weeks before any of the document is cleared for release.

"The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation," committee chair and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein told reporters.

"It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This not what Americans do," Feinstein said.

Years-long investigation

The 6,300-page report, from which only a 400-page summary and its recommendations will be publically released for now, is the result of a five-year investigation by Senate staffers. The probe caused unprecedented clashes between the intelligence agency and its congressional overseers.

The Senate panel voted 11-3 for the report's release, with all three "no" votes coming from Republican Senators.

They felt the report was biased and feared that publishing it could endanger Americans overseas and put US relations with other countries at risk.

Congressional and intelligence sources said the report strongly condemned now-abandoned interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding," in which people are subjected to simulated drowning. It also concluded that the controversial methods did not significantly help counter terrorist activities.

Thursday's vote has been welcomed by human rights groups.

"The decision to embrace torture rested on the assertion that waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and other abuses were effective in gaining intelligence necessary to save American lives," Human Rights First president Elisa Massimino said.

"This report will show that assertion to be false."

tj/dr (Reuters, AFP)

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