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Report on CIA to be released within weeks -

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EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The head of the US Senate Intelligence Committee has told Lateline she believes a secret report into the CIA's actions post-9/11 will be made public within weeks. The report's believed to chronicle in unprecedented detail the extreme methods used by the CIA against terror suspects, tactics that critics have called torture. Senator Dianne Feinstein handed her report to the White House in April this year in the hope that it would be released within 30 days. She's now expecting it'll be released next month. And a warning: North America correspondent Michael Vincent's report contains images that some people might find very disturbing.

MICHAEL VINCENT, REPORTER: Crowds turn up every day to pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial. New towers have been built.

However, this nation remains conflicted by the actions it took in its search for answers after it was attacked.

But some secrets the CIA might prefer to stay secret are finally being brought out into the light.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do.

MICHAEL VINCENT: What the CIA did after 9/11, Senator Feinstein says, was commit serious mistakes that still haunt the US. It's reported agents went beyond waterboarding to simulating drowning of suspects in ice baths and other techniques, all the while concealing their activities from Congress and the White House.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report was expected to be released within 30 days. Senator Feinstein told Lateline she still hopes it will be made public soon.

Are you confident it will still come out this year?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't know that confident's the right word, but I believe it will. I have been assured by the Director of National Intelligence that they should finish the declassification some time around 4th July. Now, whether that's a moving target or not, I don't know. But I think it'll be this summer for sure.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Those who know their actions are recorded in this report are dismissive.

JOHN RIZZO, FORMER CIA HEAD LAWYER: I think it's essentially a political document.

MICHAEL VINCENT: John Rizzo is a 34-year veteran of the CIA. He was the top lawyer at the agency when he received approval for enhanced interrogation techniques.

Do you think this report will conclude that the CIA broke the law?

JOHN RIZZO: Well, yeah, I haven't seen it, but they seem to be heading in that direction.

MICHAEL VINCENT: He now regrets not informing more politicians and members of the Bush administration about the program.

JOHN RIZZO: If we had done that, we would've gotten, better or worse, the Congress on record as supporting this program. And (inaudible) didn't do that, I think was a huge tactical mistake for which I hold myself partly responsible.

MICHAEL VINCENT: The American Civil Liberties Union has been trying for years to expose the CIA's treatment of detainees at secret black site prisons across the world.

HINA SHAMSI, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: We know that the CIA went far beyond what was authorised and we've never grappled with what senior level officials do.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Hina Shamsi says the CIA is finally being called to account.

HINA SHAMSI: Among the lies that it apparently told those charged with conducting oversight was the CIA claimed that it had obtained information through torture which had actually been obtained using lawful interrogation before torture ever started.

MICHAEL VINCENT: After the twin towers fell, the CIA told Congress the gloves came off. The agency feared it would fail to stop another attack. Now it's being held to account for those actions and what it did to detainees.

COLLEEN KELLY, 9/11'S VICTIM'S SISTER: I understand that there were people in the CIA and other agencies who felt it was their duty and felt that it was the right thing to do to torture people.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Colleen Kelly's younger brother Bill was killed in the north tower while attending a work breakfast.

COLLEEN KELLY: I'm going to use that word: torture. It was torture. There's no question of what it was. It was torture.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Do you think there was any justification?

COLLEEN KELLY: Was torture justified? No.

JOHN RIZZO: A large number of 9/11 families of course who also partly endorsed the kinds of measure the CIA carried out to prevent future families from going through the same heartache and agony that they went through.

MICHAEL VINCENT: What do you say then to those people whose names are in this report who fear they may be prosecuted?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: The names are not in the documents. The names have been redacted.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Do they have anything to fear from potential ... ?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I said enough, I think. Thank you very much.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Senator Feinstein's opponents are already lining up to reject the report's findings as soon as it's made public.

Michael Vincent, Lateline.