The report — the subject of a now-public feud between the CIA and the committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — contains the final rounds of administration redactions. The White House, which has been trying to mediate the bickering, is set to give portions of the report back to the committee early next week, multiple officials said. The committee will then have one more opportunity to protest any redactions they don’t agree with before releasing selected excerpts to the public. The release is expected to include a long executive summary, a CIA response, and a dissent by the committee’s Republican minority staff.
No official release date has been set, but several sources familiar with the discussion said the release would come in “very early August.” One official said the committee had an interest in releasing the report before Congress leaves for its August recess at the end of next week.
Several former CIA officials who could be implicated in the report for misleading Congress have been preparing for its imminent release, according to multiple officials and several news reports.
The White House arranged this week for several former senior intelligence officials — including Former CIA Directors Michael Hayden, Porter Goss and George Tenet and former acting directors John McLaughlin and Michael Morell — to read the committee’s long executive summary of the report in a classified setting, the Associated Press reported. Morell was spotted entering the headquarters of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday.
Other senior officials, including former CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo, who earlier had turned down the chance to read the executive summary, were told this week they would now not be given the chance this to review the report in advance of the imminent release, the AP reported.
“They are accusing people of misleading Congress, of misleading the Justice Department, and they never even asked to talk to us,” Rizzo told the AP. “And now they won’t let us read the report before it is made public.”
Behind the scenes, Tenet has “quietly engineered a counterattack against the Senate committee’s voluminous report,” according to The New York Times, reflecting the CIA’s belief that their interests were not protected during the Committee’s long investigation and the White House’s mediation of the feud, which spilled out into public view when Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on her investigative staff.
Feinstein took to the Senate floor to accuse the CIA of monitoring staff performing the investigation and then removing sensitive and incriminating documents from the trove that the committee had access to, in an attempt to thwart the investigation.
The CIA accused Feinstein’s staff of printing out classified documents and taking them back to their Senate offices. Feinstein said that was done to keep them safe and ensure they were not destroyed. Among them was a series of documents called the “Internal Panetta Review.”
“What was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not their classification level, but rather their analysis and acknowledgement of significant CIA wrongdoing,” Feinstein said on the floor.
In her floor speech, Feinstein also directly accused the CIA of misleading Congress about the harshness and effectiveness of interrogation techniques used in the years following the 9/11 attacks.
“The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us,” she said.