The still-classified report also says some US ambassadors who were informed about interrogations of al Qaeda detainees at so-called black sites in their countries were instructed not to tell their superiors at the State Department, says a document circulating among White House staff, which was accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter.
The 6,300-page Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation programme has been years in the making. The findings are expected to reveal additional details about the CIA’s programme and renew criticisms that the US engaged in torture as it questioned terrorism suspects after the 2001 attacks.
A congressional official who has read the report confirmed that it made the findings outlined in the document. A former senior CIA official said the secretary of state at the time, Colin Powell, was eventually told about the programme and sat in on meetings in which harsh interrogation techniques were discussed. But Mr Powell may not have been informed when the techniques were first used in 2002, the official said.
The former CIA official said it would be standard practice for ambassadors informed about a covert operation to be instructed not to share it with others who did not have a “need to know” as determined by the National Security Council. Ambassadors in countries in which the CIA set up black sites to interrogate prisoners were usually told about it.
It’s not entirely clear exactly which US officials knew about the practices at the time they began.
The four-page White House document contains the State Department’s proposed talking points in response to the Senate report. It’s not clear who wrote it or how influential it will be in tailoring the Obama administration’s response to an investigation that has been the subject of bitter disputes.