02:11 - Source: CNN
FBI: CIA report may spark terror threat

Story highlights

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein defended her decision to release the torture report

CIA's tactics deserved to be made public, she argued

Feinstein said she "would feel very badly" if American lives were lost as a result of the report's release

(CNN) —  

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein aggressively defended her decision to release a controversial Senate torture report Tuesday, despite assertions from the CIA that interrogation techniques detailed in the report were effective in thwarting attack plans, capturing terrorists and saving American lives.

In a testy interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room,” Feinstein said she wasn’t going to get into whether CIA Director John Brennan was lying about the torture techniques’ effectiveness, but that “there’s a big difference of opinion.”

“If Mr. Brennan is making an argument that this kind of torture works, we can submit all kinds of experts to say it doesn’t work,” Feinstein said. “And we submit the record to say the record shows it did not work.”

The report, which details the CIA’s extreme interrogation techniques used on terrorists after the September 11th attacks, was released by Feinstein’s committee despite a last-minute pleas from Secretary of State John Kerry and members of Congress not to release the information to the public at this time.

Many opponents of the report’s release argued that the timing of the release could prompt global attacks on Americans – skepticism later exemplified with the FBI issuing a terror alert bulletin.

Asked if she would feel guilty if American lives were lost as a result of the report, Feinstein said, “I would feel very badly, of course. I mean what do you think?”

But Feinstein argued, “There’s no perfect time to release this report.”

“It’s possible that something happens even without this,” Feinstein said. “There have been beheadings. There have been attacks without this report coming out. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t clean our house.”

The California Democrat also acknowledged that the timing of the release is important for political reasons. Should the Republicans take control of the White House, Feinstein argued, “There’s some evidence” that the report would “never see the light of day.”

Feinstein says she and her committee stand by a 14-1 vote taken in 2006 to release the report’s executive summary once it was completed. She also said that she believes that the release of the report, which took five-and-a-half years, “will meet the test of time.”