Foreign policy implications, including the ongoing war against the Islamic State and Americans held hostage, should be considered as the Senate prepares to release a report on CIA interrogation methods, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday.
Kerry raised the issue in a telephone call with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the State Department acknowledged in a statement following media reports about the call.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry’s call was to “discuss the broader implications of the timing of the report’s release, because a lot is going on in the world, and he wanted to make sure that foreign policy implications were being appropriately factored into timing.”
Any suggestion that the call was improper or unreasonable was a mischaracterization, she said. During the call, Psaki said, Kerry “not only reiterated the support of the administration for the release . . . but he also made clear that the timing is, of course, her choice.”
Senior officials insisted that the call, which was approved by the White House and first reported Friday by Bloomberg, was not an attempt to persuade Feinstein to delay the release of the report, which is expected early next week.
The document, a nearly 500-page summary of a 6,200-page report compiled by committee Democrats, has been the subject of lengthy sparring between them and the CIA. Those familiar with its contents have described it as critical of detainee treatment in secret CIA prisons in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It is also said to conclude that no significant intelligence was gleaned from the use of harsh interrogation methods.
President Obama has said that some of the treatment, including waterboarding and sleep deprivation, amounted to torture. Although he has supported the release of the summary, Obama also has said that the CIA should be able to redact classified information.
Republican members of the committee, who will assume the majority when the new Congress is seated in January, have objected to Democrats releasing the summary document.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Friday that diplomatic posts overseas have been asked to “review their security posture” in anticipation of the release so that “our facilities and our interests are prepared for the range of reactions that might occur.”