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Republicans Had To Explain To Colleagues Why Torture Is Wrong

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WASHINGTON -- Ahead of the expected release of a massive, damning report on the Central Intelligence Agency's use of torture in the years after 9/11, at least two Republican senators felt the need to explain something to their GOP colleagues: Torture is wrong.

That was the message Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) relayed as Congress recessed until September, anticipating the possible release of a declassified version of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report of 600-plus pages on CIA abuses.

They felt compelled to speak out because several Republican members of the committee are believed to have written a dissenting section of the report that contends that torture helped save American lives.

McCain, a former member of the Intelligence Committee who knows the report's outline, and Graham, a military lawyer, dispute that the torture of terrorism suspects helped prevent attacks. But even if it did, they argue, any benefit was far outweighed by the damage done to America's reputation and the resulting boost to terrorists' ability to recruit new members.

Watch the clips above, but McCain summed up his argument simply: "It is a stain on America's honor."

McCain, who was held captive for more than five years during the Vietnam War and tortured to the point that he can no longer raise his arms, also brought up a practical issue about inflicting pain on a person to get information -- most of the information is wrong.

"They will tell you anything they think you want to hear in order to have that pain stop," McCain said.

Asked if he was speaking from personal experience, he answered simply: "Oh, yeah. Yes. Absolutely."

The release of the report was expected as soon as this week, but Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced Friday that so much of the declassified version has been redacted that she would delay the release indefinitely to find out why that much is blanked out.

The CIA has vigorously opposed efforts to expose its abuses and last week admitted to spying on the very Senate investigators who were tasked with doing the investigation. Several senators on both sides of the aisle have demanded that CIA Director John Brennan resign and that some sort of independent investigation be launched.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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