Sir Malcolm Rifkind has demanded that the CIA hand over sensitive parts of a US Senate report detailing the role Britain played in the abduction and interrogation of terror suspects after 9/11.
The move comes the week after the report, detailing the harsh interrogation techniques used by the US intelligence agency on Al-Qaeda suspects, was published.
Sir Malcolm, the head of the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, wants the US to provide Parliament with the full account of the UK’s involvement in the detaining and interrogating of detainees from the report.
Downing Street confirmed that some parts of the report were redacted at the UK’s request, for national security reasons, but said that no redactions pertained to British involvement in torture.
Documents show that since 2009 British officials, including Theresa May, met the US committee that compiled the report 24 times before the summary was published.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Malcolm said: “What needs to be discovered is whether they [British intelligence officers] were aware of what the CIA was doing; whether they were willing to accept intelligence obtained by waterboarding and other inhumane practices, and whether they volunteered questions to be put to detainees being interrogated by the CIA.”
CIA torture report: Who knew what?
CIA torture report: Who knew what?
1/6 GEORGE W BUSH
FORMER US PRESIDENT President Bush has stated in his autobiography that he discussed the programme, including the use of enhanced techniques, with then CIA director George Tenet in 2002, prior to application of the techniques on Abu Zubaydah, and personally approved them. A memoir by the former Acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo disputes this.
2/6 JOHN BRENNAN
FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND NOW DIRECTOR, CIA Among those who were sent an update on 26 July 2002, in which CIA officers were said to be involved in “sound disorientation techniques,” “sense of time deprivation,” limited light, cold temperatures”, and sleep deprivation. The plan was circulated to senior CIA officers.
3/6 CONDOLEEZZA RICE
FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER On 31 July, 2002, she said that, in balancing the application of the CIA’s interrogation techniques against the possible loss of American lives, she would not object to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques if the Attorney General determined them to be legal.
4/6 GEORGE J TENET
FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, CIA In late January 2003, in response to the death of CIA detainee Gul Rahman and the use of a gun and a drill in the CIA interrogations, DCI Tenet signed the first formal interrogation and confinement guidelines for the programme.
5/6 DONALD RUMSFELD
FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENCE Donald Rumsfeld was made aware of the CIA interrogation programme prior to recertification of the covert action for the first time in a 25-minute briefing on 16 September, 2003. It was Condoleezza Rice who ordered his briefing.
6/6 COLIN POWELL
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE A CIA email dated 31 July, 2003 states: “The [White House] is extremely concerned [Secretary of State] Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.” He was formally briefed for the first time on 16 September that year.
It will be for the US government to decide whether to release the relevant parts of the report.
Concerns have been raised that the Intelligence and Security Committee is investigating the role of Britain in torture and rendition. Seven years ago the committee produced two inaccurate reports on detainees, owing to the fact that intelligence agencies had not supplied all the relevant evidence.
Sir Malcolm claims that this could not happen again as all British intelligence agencies are compelled to hand over their files to the committee, following a change in the law.
The MP praised the bipartisan nature of his committee, in comparison to the Senate committee, which voted along party lines on the conclusions of the report.
The US Senate report summary, compiled by the committee’s Democrat members, was published last week, laying bare the “brutal” interrogation methods used by CIA operatives.
“Enhanced” methods of interrogation included waterboarding, beating, threats to families and extreme sleep deprivation. One man died and 26 were wrongfully held at black sites and the US paid contractors $180 million to interrogate detainees with little supervision.
Former directors of the CIA and George Bush’s deputy, Dick Cheney, have responded angrily to the report’s findings, calling it a “partisan attack” and claiming that the methods used saved thousands of lives.
The Independent has contacted Sir Malcolm for comment.Reuse content