The Senate Intelligence Committee (headed by Diane Feinstein) heading the investigation on CIA waterboarding (simulated drowning) techniques against suspected terrorists in the post-9/11 era and the CIA have come to a consensus over their dispute over redaction. The report concludes that waterboarding, used against terrorists to extract information, was not proven to have "produced U.S. counter-terrorism breakthroughs that could not have been obtained through non-coercive questioning" (Reuters).
The report covered 20 cases, and the "harsh interrogations were ineffective;" the information learned, in the vast majority of cases, could have been "found using other methods." Specifically, the information obtained that led to the discovery of Osama Bin Laden's compound through harsh interrogation were "not necessary." (LA Times). The report contains "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" (CBS News).
The White House sent Feinstein a declassified version with 15% redacted, causing Feinstein to quarrel over the obstruction of the "roles of key CIA officers," which she said would prevent the public from learning "how people inside the agency had made crucial decisions" (LA Times). Ultimately, 5% of the report was redacted, but against Feinstein's wishes, the names of agents were blacked out, not replaced with pseudonyms, because of the White House's argument that "identifying the agents, even by a pseudonym, would put them in jeopardy" (LA Times).
Kerry asked for a delay in the release of the report as he believed it would threaten the safety of "American personnel overseas," thus forcing Feinstein into a conundrum, in that releasing it now would cause her to bear the responsibility for the predicted endangerment of Americans abroad, but doing so would risk that Burr, her successor, would "block the report" after taking over in January (LA Times).
Questions for discussion:
1) What effect would releasing the report likely have in the current national and international climate?
2) Should Feinstein release the report now, and run the risk of endangering Americans on foreign soil, or delay the release and risk the blockage of information that provides a record of history that the country needs to learn from to live up to our values? In other words, is ensuring that we release to the public our moments of history which we regret, so that we can learn from it worth the projected risk?