The US Senate has voted to recommend declassification of part of its report into “brutal” interrogation methods used by the CIA when questioning terror suspects.
But the Senate Intelligence Committee officials say it will be some time before the summary is made public.
Leaked parts of the report showed that the CIA often misled the government over its interrogation methods when George W. Bush was president.
The CIA disputes some of the findings, saying the report contains errors.
Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said that it had voted 11-3 to declassify what she called the “shocking” results of the investigation.
“The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do,” California Democrat Dianne Feinstein said.
Senate report showed that the CIA often misled the government over its interrogation methods when George W. Bush was president
Correspondents say that while some of the committee’s Republicans voted with the Democrats in favor of declassifying the report, it was clear there were bitter divides within the panel.
Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss said that while he voted for the report’s declassification “to get it behind us”, it was still “a waste of time”.
A statement released by Dianne Feinstein said that the report highlighted “major problems” with the CIA’s management of its secret Detention and Interrogation Program, which involved more than 100 detainees.
“This is also deeply troubling and shows why oversight of intelligence agencies in a democratic nation is so important,” the statement said.
“The release of this summary and conclusions in the near future shows that this nation admits its errors, as painful as they may be, and seeks to learn from them.
“It is now abundantly clear that, in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks after 9/11 and bring those responsible to justice, the CIA made serious mistakes that haunt us to this day.”
The statement said that the full 6,200-page report – which took five years to compile – has been updated and will be declassified at a later time.
It said that the executive summary, findings and conclusions – which total more than 500 pages – will be sent to President Barack Obama for declassification review and subsequent public release.
Leaks of the report in the Washington Post on Tuesday said that the CIA used secret “black sites” to interrogate prisoners using techniques not previously acknowledged.
These included dunking suspects in icy water and smashing a prisoner’s head against a wall.
Head of the US Senate intelligence committee Dianne Feinstein has publicly accused the CIA of improperly accessing computers used by congressional staff.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said on the Senate floor that such activities “may have undermined the constitutional framework” of government oversight.
The Senate panel was investigating allegations of abuse during a CIA detention and interrogation program.
A CIA internal watchdog has been tasked with looking into the alleged hacking.
“I am not taking it lightly,” Dianne Feinstein said of the matter on Tuesday, adding that the CIA may have violated federal laws in its alleged conduct.
But CIA director John Brennan rejected the Senate allegations.
Dianne Feinstein has publicly accused the CIA of improperly accessing computers used by congressional staff
“The CIA was in no way spying… on the Senate,” John Brennan told MSNBC on Tuesday.
The CIA is accused of secretly removing documents from computers used by the Senate intelligence committee during an investigation into alleged CIA abuse.
Those computers were provided by the CIA to congressional members of staff at a secure site so that Senate investigators could review millions of pages of top secret documents.
The alleged CIA abuse stemmed from a detention and interrogation program under former President George W. Bush.
Dianne Feinstein has previously said that the committee’s 6,000-page “comprehensive review” – completed in 2013 and encompassing six million pages of records – found that the CIA program had yielded little or no significant intelligence.
On Tuesday, the Senate intelligence committee chairwoman reportedly said such improper access to congressional networks, if true, amounted to attempted intimidation of investigators.
Dianne Feinstein also said she had requested an apology from the agency and an acknowledgment that the search was inappropriate, but had “received neither” despite sending letters to the agency requesting information on January 17 and 23.
She noted that CIA inspector general David Buckley had been tasked with looking into the alleged actions.
Dianne Feinstein said he had already referred the matter to the Department of Justice, “given the possibility of a criminal violation by CIA personnel”.
The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
“Mr. Snowden violated US law. He should return to the US and face justice,” said White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.
Edward Snowden, 30, asked for international help to persuade the US to drop spying charges against him in a letter given to a German politician.
He fled to Russia in June after leaking details of far-reaching US telephone and internet espionage.
Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum, allowing him to live in Russia until July 2014.
In a surprise move last week, German Green MP Hans-Christian Stroebele met Edward Snowden in Moscow and revealed the former intelligence contractor’s readiness to brief the German government on NSA’s spying.
Edward Snowden set out his position in a letter, which Hans-Christian Stroebele showed to reporters at a news conference in Berlin on Friday.
The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden
“Speaking the truth is not a crime,” Edward Snowden wrote. He claimed that the US government was persecuting him by charging him with espionage.
On Sunday, the White House said that no offers for clemency were being discussed.
This view was echoed by the Republican Congressman Mike Rogers and Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein.
Dianne Feinstein said that if Edward Snowden had been a true whistleblower, he could have reported privately to her committee, but had chosen not to.
“We would have seen him and we would have looked at that information. That didn’t happen, and now he’s done this enormous disservice to our country,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said in an interview on CBS television.
“I think the answer is no clemency,” she said.
The scale of the alleged US espionage has provoked international concern and calls for tighter supervision.
Reports that the US bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone for years have caused a diplomatic rift.
The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations but the US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.
It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.
The Senate’s intelligence committee has ordered a major review of the US surveillance operations.
The committee’s chair, Senator Dianne Feinstein, said eavesdropping on leaders of friendly nations was wrong.
Dianne Feinstein said the White House had told her such surveillance would stop.
Senior US intelligence agency officials are to testify before the House of Representatives later on Tuesday.
Correspondents say pressure is growing on the White House to explain why President Barack Obama apparently did not know about the extent of the intelligence gathering operations.
Barack Obama has spoken publicly of his intent to probe spying activities amid claims of eavesdropping on US allies.
In a recent interview, Barack Obama said that national security operations were being reassessed to make sure the NSA’s growing technical spying capability was kept under control.
“We give them policy direction,” Barack Obama told ABC’s Fusion channel.
The Senate’s intelligence committee has ordered a major review of the US surveillance operations
“But what we’ve seen over the last several years is their capacities continue to develop and expand, and that’s why I’m initiating now, a review to make sure that what they’re able to do, doesn’t necessarily mean what they should be doing.”
An EU delegate in Washington has described the row over intelligence gathering as “a breakdown of trust”.
German media has reported that the US bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone for more than a decade – and that the surveillance only ended a few months ago.
Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence panel, called for a “total review” of US intelligence programmes in light of the Merkel revelations.
“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of US allies – including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany – let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” she said in a statement.
“It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002. That is a big problem.”
Dianne Feinstein said the White House had told her that all surveillance of leaders of countries friendly to the US would stop.
The US has had a “no spying pact”, known as Five Eyes, with Britain since just after World War II, with Australia, New Zealand and Canada later joining.
US Senate Democrats will ditch a plan to ban assault weapons, all but killing off a key part of a gun control campaign prompted by a recent school massacre.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said her proposal would be left out of the firearms control bill.
Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid made the decision, saying the proposal could not get enough votes.
An assault-type weapon was used in the December massacre that killed 26 at Sandy Hook primary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
The shooting shocked the US and revived efforts in Washington DC to prohibit such firearms.
While polls show most Americans back an assault weapon ban, influential pro-gun lobby groups such as the National Rifle Association have pressed lawmakers to oppose such a move.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said she might put forward the assault weapons proposal, similar to a previous one she sponsored that expired in 2004, as an amendment to the bill.
But she would need 60 votes from the 100-member Senate to succeed, a margin analysts say the amendment would be unlikely to reach.
“I very much regret it,” Dianne Feinstein said.
“I tried my best.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein said she might put forward the assault weapons proposal, similar to a previous one she sponsored that expired in 2004, as an amendment to the bill
The plan had only narrowly passed a Senate panel last week, underlining its poor chances of clearing the full chamber.
It was one of four gun control measures backed by the panel, including expanded background check requirements for people buying guns, harsher punishments for illegal gun trafficking, and more money for security at schools.
Meanwhile, the town of Newtown has seen a surge in applications for gun permits since the massacre at Sandy Hook primary school in which 20 schoolchildren and six teachers were murdered.
There have been 79 requests for gun permits in Newtown since the shooting on December 14, police say, although the town has only issued about 130 licences annually in recent years.
A police official said people were worried about new regulations.
The head of the House Intelligence Committee suggested on Sunday that President Barack Obama might have known about former CIA Director David Petraeus’ extra-marital affair before the November election, and said Attorney General Eric Holder should address this question soon before Congress.
U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican, said Eric Holder’s statement that the Justice Department had not informed the president before the election implied that Holder might have told Barack Obama privately.
Mike Rogers noted that the FBI investigation of the communications between David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell arose due to concern over a counter-intelligence threat. Both David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell have said they did not share any security secrets, and investigators have said they have found no security breach.
“It probably should have been brought forward earlier as a national security threat,” Mike Rogers said.
“I’m not sure that the president was not told before Election Day. The attorney general said that the Department of Justice did not notify the president, but we don’t know if the attorney general…[notified him],” he said.
Mike Rogers said Eric Holder should come before the intelligence committees to discuss it.
“We could resolve this very quickly with a conversation in the intelligence spaces if he did have that conversation with the president.”
Barack Obama may have known about David Petraeus affair with Paula Broadwell before election
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein disagreed, saying Holder had explained to the intelligence committees there was no notification while the investigation was under way. Justice and the FBI took this approach, she said, “so there is an ability to move ahead without any political weighing-in on any side”.
David Petraeus admitted to the affair and resigned his post at the CIA three days after Barack Obama was elected to a second term on November 6.
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham called the FBI investigation of the affair “the oddest story in the world” and doubted Barack Obama knew before the election.
President Barack Obama says he has seen “no evidence” that former CIA director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair compromised national security.
General David Petraeus’ resignation should be a “sidenote” to his distinguished career, Barack Obama added in his first public comments on the scandal.
The general will testify to Congress about September’s attack on the US consulate in Libya, a top senator says.
Republican senators have called for a joint committee to probe that attack.
Barack Obama declined to say whether the White House should have been informed earlier of the investigation into David Petraeus.
“I am withholding judgment with respect to how the entire process surrounding General Petraeus came up. We don’t have all the information yet,” Barack Obama said.
He added that he had a lot of confidence in the FBI and that they have a “difficult job” to do.
News of the scandal shocked officials in Washington in the immediate aftermath of the US election. Congressional leaders of both parties have said they should have been informed earlier.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said General David Petraeus, who stepped down on Friday, would give evidence only about the Benghazi attack, in which four Americans were killed.
He would not testify about his resignation over an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, she added.
Confirmation that David Petraeus will attend a committee hearing comes after days of reports focusing on the fallout from the revelation that he had an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell.
After the CIA director’s resignation, it then emerged that Jill Kelley, who filed a harassment report over emails she received that led to the discovery of the affair, was in contact with Marine General John Allen.
The link to General John Allen – currently commanding US forces in Afghanistan and nominated to be the top NATO commander in Europe – prompted the US defence secretary and the White House to stress they have complete confidence in him.
But Leon Panetta requested that Gen Allen’s nomination as Supreme Allied Commander of US and NATO troops in Europe be placed on hold, saying it was the “prudent” thing to do.
President Barack Obama says he has seen no evidence that David Petraeus’ extramarital affair compromised national security
General John Allen has denied any wrongdoing and has spoken to Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to emphasize he is innocent of misconduct, a spokesman for Gen Dempsey said.
David Petraeus could appear before congressional committees as early as Thursday, although no final date for a hearing has been confirmed.
Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the general would be asked about the Benghazi attacks, which took place while he was in charge of the CIA.
The attack – initially blamed on a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic film – remains a divisive issue in Washington and a focal point of Republican anger.
Arizona Senator John McCain led a group of Republican senators on Wednesday calling for the establishment of a special committee to investigate the deaths of the four Americans, which included the Ambassador Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi.
They said there was need to find out whether there had been a cover-up over the attack, which Senator Lindsay Graham referred to in the same breath as Watergate and the Iran/Contra scandal.
Republicans have also criticized UN Ambassador Susan Rice, after she cited the protests as the reason for the attacks in appearances on US media.
On Wednesday, Barack Obama said Susan Rice had fulfilled her diplomatic duties with “skill and professionalism, and toughness and grace”, and that it was “outrageous” to muddy her reputation.
The president suggested that Republicans had criticized Susan Rice “apparently because they think she’s an easy target”, and said he would co-operate with congressional investigations into what happened in Benghazi.
Meanwhile, acting CIA Director Michael Morell began meetings with legislators in the Senate on Tuesday to answer questions about David Petraeus’ resignation.
Legislators are concerned about a possible breach of national security after it was reported that classified material was discovered on Paula Broadwell’s computer.
However, FBI officials have said the agency concluded in its investigation that there had not been any security breach.
President Barack Obama has made his first public comments on the scandal at a news conference, before meeting business leaders.
His remarks concentrated on his economic agenda and plans for reaching a deal to avoid a package of spending cuts and tax rises known as the “fiscal cliff”.
While David Petraeus attempts to focus on Benghazi, Pentagon investigators are also examining as many as 30,000 pages of Gen Allen’s documents.
They are said to include extensive communication between the general and Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old, married Florida socialite.
The emails are now understood to have included pet names such as “sweetheart” or “dear” but were not sexually explicit or seductive, the Associated Press reports.
In May, Jill Kelley reported anonymous, harassing emails to the FBI. The agency launched an investigation that traced the emails to Paula Broadwell and revealed her affair with David Petraeus.
Jill Kelley has been described as a “social liaison” for the MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida. Home to the US Central Command, both generals have served at the base in recent years.
The Kelleys are said to have developed close friendships with General David Petraeus and General John Allen, both of whom wrote letters supporting Jill Kelley’s twin sister, Natalie Khawam, in a messy custody battle for her son.
Jill Kelley is known to have thrown extravagant parties for the officers posted there and in August was appointed as an honorary consul representing South Korea, ABC News reports.
It is reported that her Mercedes car displays consular license plates reading “JK1”.
In a recording of a phone call to police on Monday, Jill Kelley asked for diplomatic immunity to have media crews waiting outside her house removed.
“I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property. I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well,” Jill Kelley can be heard saying.