U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden explained today why he voted to declassify the Senate Intelligence Committee's apparently scathing 6,200-page report on the CIA's detention and brutal interrogation of overseas terrorism suspects.
"I believe the American people will be profoundly disturbed by the contents of this report," the senior senator from Oregon wrote in a news release. "Though I can't provide any details until that declassification process is finished, I can say that the American people will see that much of what CIA officials have said about the effectiveness of coercive interrogations was simply untrue."
The Washington Post reported this week that the Intelligence Committee's report concludes "that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques."
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein called out Director of Central Intelligence on what she perceived as CIA efforts to impede the Senate investigation, offering an excoriation of the agency's top lawyer. A boiled-down version of her floor speech can be found here.
"I have spoken about the intelligence leadership's culture of misinformation before and it continues to be a problem to this day," Wyden said in his news statement. "I have also been asking questions publicly for years about the role that outside contractors played in the interrogation program and I hope the American people will soon get some answers to those questions."
Wyden, a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, urged the Obama administration to declassify the Senate report swiftly.
"It is going to make many people uncomfortable," he wrote, "but getting the facts about torture out to the American people will keep these mistakes from being repeated and make our national intelligence agencies stronger and more effective in the long run."