Top Republican: Forthcoming report on CIA torture is "wrong"

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the top Republican the Senate Intelligence Committee, said a 6,000-page report from his committee that is set to be declassified and released in the coming weeks misrepresents how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) treated detainees and whether the information they provided helped stop terror attacks.

In an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Chambliss said Democrats have a "theory" that "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used against detainees both inside and outside of the Guantanamo Bay prison but that no significant information was gained during that process.

"That is absolutely wrong," said Chambliss, who plans to release his own report on behalf of some Republicans who have long disagreed with the committee's report. The decision to declassify it ultimately gained some Republican support in April when Maine's senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King, said they concluded that some detainees were tortured.

The Georgia senator said the minority report will show that the information gleaned from the interrogations "was in fact used to interrupt and disrupt terrorist plots, including some information that took down [former al Qaeda leaders Osama] bin Laden."

He said early on in the process the CIA went to the Department of Justice seeking clarification on what it was allowed to do in its detention and interrogation programs.

"They were given legal opinions as to what they could do and in their opinion they didn't violate that. There will be some allegations of going above and beyond," he said of the Democrats' conclusions.

He said the term "torture" is only used by critics of the program and said he believed it would be disputed.

On the subject of waterboarding, Chambliss said it was "one of the specific issues that was investigated by the Department of Justice from the standpoint of, does it comply with the Geneva convention, and they made a determination that it is authorized, that it is not torture."

On Friday, President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. tortured some of the al Qaeda detainees captured in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks but warned Americans from being too "sanctimonious" about judging the tactic from a world that seems safer.

Chambliss also indicated he does not believe that CIA Director John Brennan knew that his agency's employees had improperly searched Senate computers earlier this year. Brennan called both Chambliss and Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to apologize because he said earlier this year that it was "beyond the scope of reason" that the computers had been searched.

"This is very, very serious," Chambliss said. "If I thought John Brennan knew about this, then...we'd be calling for his resignation but the [Office of the Inspector General] made a specific finding that he did not."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for