A declassified summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's $50 million investigation of the CIA's torture techniques of captured militants after 9/11 was finally released today. As expected, the report describes methods used by CIA operatives that went beyond the scope of what was authorized by the White House, CIA officials, and the Justice Department.
The report reveals severe methods allegedly used by some CIA officers, who "deceived their superiors at the White House, members of Congress and even sometimes their own peers about how the interrogation program was being run and what it had achieved." From the Washington Post, emphasis ours:
A declassified summary of the committee's work discloses for the first time a complete roster of all 119 prisoners held in CIA custody and indicates that at least 26 were held because of mistaken identities or bad intelligence. The publicly released summary is drawn from a longer, classified study that exceeds 6,000 pages.
Per Bloomberg, one of those detainees apparently died of hypothermia as he lie shackled to a concrete floor; another was left in the complete darkness for 17 days "without anybody knowing he was there." Waterboarding, the report states, devolved into a "series of near drownings"; prisoners were allegedly forced to stand on their broken legs. Some were forced to stay awake for 180 hours—at least five endured forced "rectal feeding" and "rectal rehydration."
— Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya) December 9, 2014
Perhaps most insidiously, the report concludes, these methods of extreme torture proved ineffective in collecting actionable intelligence.
Republicans have signaled their wariness of the report's release, fearing the details of United States' gruesome torture techniques "could incite unrest and violence, even resulting in the deaths of Americans." Former Vice President Dick Cheney held firm Monday, telling reporters that the CIA's tactics following 9/11 were "absolutely, totally justified."
While White House officials have acknowledged that the torture report could create safety concerns for Americans overseas, they do not anticipate the document's declassification today to precipitate violence. From the New York Times:
The White House acknowledged that the report could pose a "greater risk" to American installations and personnel in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Iraq. But it said that the government had months to plan for the reverberations from its report — indeed, years — and that those risks should not delay the release of the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. "When would be a good time to release this report?" the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, asked. "It's difficult to imagine one, particularly given the painful details that will be included."
But even as the Obama Administration attempts to deflect fears of attacks on Americans, security has reportedly been upped at international American air bases and embassies—the Times reports the U.S. "will ramp up their monitoring of the communications of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State."
[Image via AP]