On Tuesday, Senate Democrats will use some of their last hours in the Senate majority to release the much-anticipated report about the CIA's methods of extracting information from terror suspects, called "enhanced interrogation" by some and "torture" by others.
The report is 6,000 pages long, but only the 480-page executive summary will be released. It is contentious, opposed by both Republicans and former CIA officials who argue that it not only is false, but that it will bring harm to American personnel abroad.
Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said she will release the report Tuesday morning around 11 a.m., and will not comment until that time.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the report would damage CIA morale by making the workforce "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 also said the information would motivate people to attack Americans and American facilities overseas, and making U.S. allies wary about cooperating with America in the future.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, warned of "violence and deaths" abroad in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" and called the report's release "a terrible idea.
The concern for U.S. personnel abroad prompted Secretary of State John Kerry to call Feinstein to discuss "the impact that the release" of the report would have on factors ranging from U.S. efforts to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the safety of American hostages around the world, State Department Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.
Both Psaki and White House spokesman Josh Earnest worked to show the administration as supportive of the report on Monday.
"The president believes that on principle, it's important to release that report so that people around the world and people here at home understand exactly what transpired," Earnest said. Noting that there would be limitations on how much of the classified program could be revealed, he said that the White House still wants to be sure "that we can release that report, be transparent about it and be clear about what American values are and be clear about the fact that the administration believes and that - in a way that's consistent with American values - that something like this should never happen again."
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Both Republicans and former CIA officials will challenge the report's accuracy. Just one Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, joined Democrats in voting to approve it in 2012. The ranking Republican on the committee, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, said when the report was approved in 2012 that, "a number of significant errors, omissions, assumptions, and ambiguities--as well as a lot of cherry-picking--were found that call the conclusions into question," partially because it was written without conducting interviews with people involved.
Both the Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans and the CIA will be releasing their own responses to the report Tuesday.
CBS News has learned that the report will say that the CIA routinely went beyond legal limits when interrogating suspects, including the use of waterboarding; that the enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in getting information from terror suspects; and that the CIA systematically lied to the White House, the Department of Justice and to Congress about the effectiveness of the program in order to keep it going.
Hayden rebutted those charges on "Face the Nation" Sunday, saying it "beggars the imagination" to say the CIA relentlessly lied to continue a program that wasn't working.
Another former CIA official, Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service who ran the interrogation program, said in a Washington Post op-ed over the weekend that the report is "a dishonest attempt to rewrite history" and noted he was never interviewed by the Senate committee staff who wrote it.
"We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. But we did the right thing for the right reason," he told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl in 2012.
Even former President George. W. Bush has weighed in on the report - which would largely be an indictment of his administration - telling "State of the Union" that if the report "diminishes" the contributions made by CIA employees, "it's way off base."
Democrats, on the other hand, have been insistent that the report see the light of day.
"What happened broke faith in the Constitution. It's made our challenge much greater when it comes to facing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. And it is morally repugnant," said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, who will be leaving the Senate after losing his re-election bid in November, in an interview with Esquire. "When this report is declassified, people will abhor what they read. They're gonna be disgusted. They're gonna be appalled."
Udall had told several reporters he would do whatever it takes to ensure the report was made public, and didn't rule out the idea of reading the report on the Senate floor to enter it into the official record as former Sen. Mike Gravel, an Alaska Democrat, did with the Pentagon papers in 1971.
Feinstein won praise from advocates for commitment to releasing the report before the end of the year. The call from Kerry "was tantamount to a threat that the blood of innocents would be on her hands," Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told CBS News.
It's unlikely the report would have come out once the GOP takes control of the Senate in January. The Republican who is expected to replace Feinstein at the helm of the committee, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, voted against the report in 2012 citing "factual inaccuracies" and what he believed was "flawed and biased results." But he ultimately voted to declassify the report this spring, saying he believed the American people would realize the report "cannot be an accurate representation of any program, let alone this one."
What remains to be seen, however, is whether the report has a lasting effect on U.S. policy. In 2009, Mr. Obama ordered the closing of the CIA's secret overseas prisons known as "black sites," and he ended so-called "extraordinary renditions" of terrorism suspects to certain third-party countries (i.e., those countries that the administration believes would torture suspects).
Attorney General Eric Holder also formally revoked the legal opinions and memos issued during the Bush administration that justified interrogation programs, but the Obama administration decided not to prosecute CIA officials who used the interrogation tactics.
Still, Goitein said, "I don't think the door has closed quite as firmly as it ought to."
She said she thinks Americans have largely forgotten about the use of torture. "The hope is that the report will remind them that this is not distant history, this is fairly recently, and its not even clear the extent to which we can be reassured it won't happen again. I don't think we can rest on President Obama's that we don't torture and this will never happen again," she said.