President Barack Obama called the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee's long-awaited report on CIA interrogation techniques "troubling" and "inconsistent" with America's values.
"The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests," Obama said in a statement after the release.
"Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners," he said.
The Senate report said the post-9/11 interrogation techniques did not reap effective intelligence and were far more brutal than the CIA let Congress or the public know. The report also said the CIA was dishonest in claiming that certain terrorist attacks were thwarted because of information obtained.
A senior administration official said 93 percent of the report’s executive summary was released, but some portions had to be redacted to protect national security.
While Obama vowed to "continue to use my authority as president to make sure we never resort to those methods again," the president also emphasized in his statement: "Our intelligence professionals are patriots, and we are safer because of their heroic service and sacrifices."
The Justice Department has previously decided not to pursue prosecutions of CIA personnel, which will likely remain the case, according to another senior administration official.
“No one is taking legal positions here, that is the purview of the Department of Justice,” the official told reporters. “They conducted multiple reviews of the conduct related to this program and a career prosecutor determined not to bring charges.”
Obama still has “complete confidence” in CIA Director John Brennan, a senior administration official said, even though Brennan has been supportive of the interrogation techniques.
Obama said he's long supported the declassification of the report, after formally ending the detention and interrogation techniques soon after he took office.
"We will ... continue to be relentless in our fight against Al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists. We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals," Obama said. "That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today’s report. No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better."
The U.S. government has maintained close communications with diplomatic outposts in anticipation that the report’s release could prompt violence abroad. The administration is also closely watching social media for hints of potential extremist group activity at home and abroad, a senior administration official said.
Because the report said the CIA did not release some information even to the Bush administration, administration officials were asked during a call with reporters if they were concerned the agency might keep secrets from the White House.
“I give credit here to Director [of National Intelligence James] Clapper, who has given priority to coordination and management of the community, which again helps assure there is not abuse, there is oversight within the government and there is that coordination that is taking place,” a senior administration official said. “I can’t account for every single activity in the government, but I think our general view is we think it’s a collaborative relationship and collaborative environment.”
This post has been updated.