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Obama: CIA's 'Harsh Methods' Inconsistent With Values, National Security

The Senate Intelligence Committee's summary of its report on the CIA's interrogation practices found that the agency "provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public." [The report is here.]

Reaction to the summary's release was swift.

Update at 5:41 p.m. ET U.S. Embassies In Bangkok, Kabul Warn Citizens

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, warned citizens that the report "could prompt anti-U.S. protests and violence against U.S. interests." The Associated Press reported that the embassy in Kabul issued a similar warning.

Update at 12:53 p.m. McCain On Report

You can read his full statement here.

Updated at 12:38 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Responds

Updated at 12:23 p.m. Republican Minority Report

The Republican minority on the Senate panel in its own report said, "Absent the support of the documentary record, and on the basis of a flawed analytical methodology, these problematic claims and conclusions create the false impression that the CIA was actively misleading policy makers and impeding the counterterrorism efforts of other federal government agencies during the Program's operation."

You can read that report here.

Update at 12:15 Report 'Shocking,' ACLU Says

"The administration's current position — doing absolutely nothing — is tantamount to issuing tacit pardons," ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said. "Tacit pardons are worse than formal ones because they undermine the rule of law."

The organization, among other things, urged the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to hold accountable those responsible. You can read the ACLU's other recommendations here.

Update at 12:10 CIA Fact Sheet

The CIA has issued a fact sheet on the Senate's study.

Update at 12:02 p.m. Ex-CIA Chiefs Rebut Report In Op-Ed

Former CIA Directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland and Stephen R. Kappes rebutted the Senate's report in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. Here's an excerpt:

"It's fair to ask whether the interrogation program was the right policy, but the committee never takes on this toughest of questions.

"On that important issue it is important to know that the dilemma CIA officers struggled with in the aftermath of 9/11 was one that would cause discomfort for those enamored of today's easy simplicities: Faced with post-9/11 circumstances, CIA officers knew that many would later question their decisions—as we now see—but they also believed that they would be morally culpable for the deaths of fellow citizens if they failed to gain information that could stop the next attacks."

Update at 11:47 a.m. Obama Responds

President Obama said the report reinforced his "longstanding view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as a nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interest." He added that he will "make sure we never resort to those methods again." Here is his full statement:

CIA officers who worked at the agency at the time the practices were used have set up a website detailing their version of events.

CIA Director John Brennan in a statement said the agency "acknowledge[s] that the detention and interrogation program had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes," but he said his agency's review of the interrogation techniques found they "did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives."

Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said the release of the study "will present serious consequences for U.S. national security."

"The fact that the CIA's Detention and Interrogation program developed significant intelligence that helped us identify and capture important al-Qa'ida terrorists, disrupt their ongoing plotting, and take down Usama Bin Ladin is incontrovertible," the statement said. "Claims included in this report that assert the contrary are simply wrong."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.

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