"It is not surprising that members of the administration are raising an objection at the 11th hour, because there have been objections at every other hour," Sen. Ron Wyden, a member of the intelligence committee, said in a statement. "This report must see the light of day before Congress adjourns this year. And if the executive branch isn't willing to cooperate the Senate should be willing to act unilaterally to ensure that happens."
The request also represents just the latest roadblock in the winding, tumultuous, and often highly politicized saga behind the torture report, which has unfolded for years, mostly behind closed doors. Most recently, Feinstein had been wrestling with the administration over its desire to redact pseudonyms in the report. Earlier this year, the CIA also admitted to spying on computers used by committee staffers as they conducted their investigation.
Reports of the Kerry's phone call surfaced shortly after White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that the administration welcomed the pending release of the investigation's findings.
"The president has long advocated the declassified release of this report, so we certainly welcome the news from the committee that they are planning to do so next week," White House spokesman Earnest said.
The White House, the State Department, and Feinstein's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kerry's request reveals that the Obama administration may not be as open to releasing the report—at least at the moment—as it once indicated. Human-rights activists have repeatedly accused the White House of slow-walking negotiations over the report in an attempt to bury its release entirely.
"It's absurd for the State Department to claim that it realized this Friday morning that the world is a dangerous place," said Katherine Hawkins, national security fellow at Open the Government, a transparency advocacy group. "Our allies and enemies alike have known for a long time that the United States tortured detainees. When it comes to every other country, the State Department's position is that the truth needs to come out. It's long past time for a little consistency."
But Feinstein and others indicated earlier this week that negotiations had finally been sorted out and that its release next week was highly likely.
Further delays to the report's release could jeopardize its chances of ever seeing the light of day, as Republicans are set to take control of the Senate in January. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who voted against the report's release earlier this year, is set to take the Intelligence panel gavel from Feinstein and has indicated he would not permit its disclosure under his watch.
The Senate will adjourn later this month, although Feinstein can wait to submit the report until Jan. 3 by obtaining a consent decree allowing her to file it when Congress is not in session. Regardless, the window of opportunity on the study's release is quickly closing, and Kerry's lobbying further underscores the complications that for years have encircled the years-long, $40 million investigation.