Press Releases

Washington—Contrary to repeated misstatements, no senators were briefed on the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques before they were approved and put to use in August 2002. And the full Intelligence Committee was not briefed until September 6, 2006, hours before President Bush acknowledged the program before the American public.

When senators were finally briefed on the issue, they were provided extensive inaccurate information and were repeatedly stonewalled by the CIA, which refused to provide documents or answers to questions.

The following is a timeline of the administration’s briefings to senators and the lack of transparency, which also identifies concerns raised by Senators once they were briefed:

  • August 2002: CIA begins using its “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
  • September 2002: Chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee are first briefed on the program. Senator Bob Graham requested more information in order to conduct oversight; CIA refused. (see pp. 48-49)
  • 2003-2006: Then-Chairman Rockefeller asks several times for additional information in order to investigate; CIA refused. (see, e.g., pp. 441-442)
  • 2005: Senator Levin proposes a commission to look into detainee matters; videotapes showing coercive interrogation techniques were destroyed days later. (see pp. 443-444)
  • September 6, 2006: Full Intelligence Committee is briefed on the program for the first time, hours before President Bush publicly reveals the program. (see p. 446)
  • 2006-2007: Senators McCain, Feinstein, Feingold, Wyden, and Hagel express concerns and opposition with the CIA program. (see p. 447)
  • 2007: Senator Whitehouse introduces an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Bill to ban “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Senator Feinstein introduces a similar amendment, which was adopted in the conference committee, then by the full House and Senate. The bill was vetoed by President Bush. (see Senate Report 110-75, House Report 110-478, and pp. 451-453)