U.S. diplomatic and military posts overseas are being put on alert over the potential backlash from a looming Senate report examining the alleged use of torture by the CIA, with one top lawmaker warning its release could cause “violence and deaths.”
An official from the State Department and another from the intelligence community confirmed to Fox News early Monday that an advisory has been sent urging U.S. personnel overseas to reassess security measures.
The message directs all overseas posts, including those used by CIA personnel, to “review their security posture” for a “range of reactions that might occur.” A similar statement is being sent to military combatant commands to assess their readiness.
In Washington, tensions grew over the expected release of the report, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., saying America’s allies are predicting “this will cause violence and deaths.” He said U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign governments have said privately that the release of the Senate intelligence panel report on CIA interrogations a decade ago will be used by extremists to incite violence that is likely to cost lives.
“I think this is a terrible idea,” Rogers said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Foreign leaders have approached the government and said, ‘You do this, this will cause violence and deaths.’ Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”
Rogers is regularly briefed on intelligence assessments. He questioned why the report needed to become public, given that the Justice Department investigated and filed no criminal charges.
The comments by Rogers came after Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the senator in charge of the report on CIA interrogations, to reconsider the timing of the release. Obama administration officials said they still support making the report public.
In addition, a U.S. intelligence official, who was not authorized to be quoted discussing classified intelligence assessments, told the Associated Press that Congress had been warned “of the heightened potential that the release could stimulate a violent response.”
The 480-page report, a summary of a still-classified 6,000 page study, is expected to be made public this week. It amounts to the first public accounting of the CIA’s alleged use of torture on suspected Al Qaeda detainees held in secret facilities in Europe and Asia in the years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
CBS News reported Sunday that the report contains evidence that the CIA went beyond what was “legally allowable,” and that the agency lied to the White House, the Department of Justice and Congress about the effectiveness of the program.
The CIA told Fox News it would not comment until the report is released, but former agency officials have told Fox News that the agency’s program provided it with foundational intelligence about the Al Qaeda network after the Sept. 11 attacks. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has previously told Fox News that it is not feasible to believe that three different CIA directors and three different deputy directors of the agency conspired over a seven-year period to lie about the program’s effectiveness. Hayden and former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo also have claimed that the program provided evidence that helped direct the 2011 raid that killed Al Qaeda Usama bin Laden.
U.S. officials who have read the report say it includes disturbing new details about the CIA’s use of such techniques as sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning process known as waterboarding.
President Obama has previously acknowledged, “We tortured some folks.” The report also says the alleged torture failed to produce life-saving intelligence, a conclusion disputed by current and former intelligence officials, including CIA director John Brennan.
A congressional aide noted to the Associated Press that the White House has led negotiations to declassify the report since April, and that both the president and his director of national intelligence have endorsed its release.
Feinstein has not responded to reports of the Kerry call, though she told the Los Angeles Times in a story published Sunday that “We have to get this report out.”
She told the Los Angeles Times that the harsh interrogations undermined “societal and constitutional values that we are very proud of. Anybody who reads this is going to never let this happen again.”
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Leave a Reply