The PJ Tatler

Kerry: Torture Report 'Marks a Coda to a Chapter in Our History'

Secretary of State John Kerry, who reportedly expressed concern to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) about the timing of the release of a report on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, said it “marks a coda to a chapter in our history.”

“Release of this report affirms again that one of America’s strengths is our democratic system’s ability to recognize and wrestle with our own history, acknowledge mistakes, and correct course,” Kerry said in a statement, lauding President Obama, who “turned the page on these policies when he took office and during week one banned the use of torture and closed the detention and interrogation program.”

“It was right to end these practices for a simple but powerful reason: they were at odds with our values,” he said. “They are not who we are, and they’re not who or what we had to become, because the most powerful country on earth doesn’t have to choose between protecting our security and promoting our values.”

Kerry said the report “sheds light on this period that’s more than five years behind us, so we can discuss and debate our history – and then look again to the future.”

“As that debate is joined, I want to underscore that while it’s uncomfortable and unpleasant to reexamine this period, it’s important that this period not define the intelligence community in anyone’s minds,” he continued. “Every single day, the State Department and our diplomats and their families are safer because of the men and women of the CIA and the Intelligence Community. They sign up to serve their country the same way our diplomats and our military do. They risk their lives to keep us safe and strengthen America’s foreign policy and national security. The awful facts of this report do not represent who they are, period. That context is also important to how we understand history.”

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed yesterday that Secretary of State John Kerry called Feinstein to discuss “the implications of the timing” of the release. The White House warned that U.S. interests could be at risk after the report’s release.

“He’s the secretary of State, and oftentimes, he makes proposals, and certainly he worked with Dianne – Senator Feinstein for decades,” Psaki said. “I’m not going to get into more specifics other than to convey that it was known he was going to make the call; it was a call to discuss, as I described, implications as the Secretary of State on our foreign policy priorities.”