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Fears of backlash as US to release CIA torture report

The US Senate will release a long-delayed report on Tuesday into the CIA’s brutal interrogation of Al-Qaeda suspects after the 2001 attacks, as American embassies went on heightened alert amid fears of a backlash.

White House officials confirmed Monday they expect the report to be published, even though US Secretary of State John Kerry warned late last week about the impact it could have around the world.

While heavily redacted, the report is expected to be a damning indictment of a secret program under the administration of former president George W. Bush to question dozens of detainees.

Since coming to office in 2009, President Barack Obama has sought to distance the United States from past deeds and outlawed harsh interrogation techniques which he has denounced as “torture.”

“We have heard from the committee that they do intend to release the report on Wednesday,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

“Prudent steps” had been taken to boost security at US facilities and diplomatic missions abroad in case the report triggers a wave of fury, he added.

The report is understood to cover the treatment of around 100 terror suspects rounded up by US operatives between 2001 and 2009, after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda which destroyed the World Trade Center in New York.

The suspects were subjected to waterboarding, stress positions and other harsh methods, in a series of interrogations either at CIA-run secret prisons or the Guantanamo Bay US military base in Cuba.

“We tortured some folks,” Obama said in August, talking about the contents of the report.

The CIA’s defenders insist the methods saved American lives by helping to uncover Al-Qaeda’s network, while critics say they ran contrary to US values and hardened anti-American attitudes.

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