Idaho Sen. Risch Criticizes Democrats For Releasing CIA Torture Report

Dec 10, 2014

Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson on election night 2014.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch says the U.S. Senate should not have released a report on CIA interrogation practices following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report that became public Tuesday says the CIA tortured prisoners, did not get much valuable information from doing so, and lied to Congress about it.   

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Risch has had access to versions of this report for more than three years. Though he called the report one sided, flawed and partisan in a statement shortly before it was released, he did not dispute its content in an interview on CNN Tuesday.

“I think there’s no question that some of those people would fall, what they did to them would fall in the definition of torture,” Risch said.

In his CNN interview Risch focused his criticism not on the report itself, but on what he believes will be negative consequences of making it public.

He listed three ways it will hurt Americans.

  1. It will lead to reprisals on Americans living overseas.
  2. The report would hurt the United States’ ability to work with allies to fight terrorists around the world.
  3. Terrorist groups will use it to fuel anti-American sentiment.

“All future recruiting will include quotes from the report that has come out,” he said. “So we’re actually helping them [terrorist groups] with recruiting.”

Risch is strongly criticizing Democrats for voting to make it public. Much of his criticism has been directed at intelligence committee chairperson Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA.

“What was the purpose of releasing that report? I heard Dianne say it should be done so we never do this again,” Risch told CNN. “We’re never going to do this again.”

Risch says public opinion is now against the use of torture.

Not all Senate Republicans agreed with Risch that the report should have been kept secret. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, said the American people were entitled to know the truth.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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