Senate panel: CIA illegally interrogated terror suspects

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WASHINGTON -- CIA officers subjected some terrorism suspects the agency held after the Sept. 11 attacks to interrogation methods that were not approved by either the Justice Department or their own headquarters and illegally detained 26 of the 119 in CIA custody, the Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded in its still-secret report, McClatchy has learned.

The spy agency program's reliance on brutal techniques -- much more abusive than previously known -- and its failure to gather valuable information from the detainees harmed U.S. credibility, according to the committee findings in its scathing 6,300-page report on the CIA's interrogation and detention program. The agency also repeatedly misled the Justice Department while stymieing congressional and White House efforts to oversee the secret and now-defunct program, McClatchy has learned.

In all, the committee came to 20 conclusions about the CIA's harsh interrogation tactics after spending six years and $40 million evaluating the controversial program, which began during the Bush administration.

The committee voted 11-3 Thursday to declassify an executive summary and conclusions. The findings and summary now will go to the White House and CIA for eventual public release.

The finding that 26 detainees were held without legal authorization and confirmation that the CIA sometimes went beyond techniques the Justice Department approved might fuel legal challenges.

Most of the report and underlying CIA documents might remain secret.

The CIA pledged to cooperate. The agency has rejected some of the report's findings and has written a still-secret rebuttal.

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