The Slatest

Senate Report on Torture Says CIA Misled Nation About Brutal, Ineffective Methods

Dianne Feinstein of California chairs the Senate committee that wrote the report.

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The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a long-awaited 500-plus-page executive summary of a 6,000-plus-page report on the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects after 9/11. The document says the intelligence agency employed methods (ranging from waterboarding to “rectal hydration”) that were both brutal and ineffective and misled the White House, Congress, and the American public about the extent of its malfeasance. From the New York Times:

Many of the most extreme interrogation methods — including waterboarding — were authorized by Justice Department lawyers during the Bush administration. But the report also found evidence that a number of detainees had been subjected to other, unapproved methods while in C.I.A. custody.


The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.


Former CIA directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss, and Michael V. Hayden “repeatedly inflated the value of the program in secret briefings both at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and in public speeches,” the report says, according to the Times. Hayden is specifically accused of telling a subordinate not to acknowledge that the CIA had kept 119 detainees rather than the 98 previously reported. The report also says 26 of the 119 detainees were held in error because of “mistaken identities or bad intelligence,” in the words of the Washington Post.

It’s been previously reported that the pair of psychologists who designed the torture program had no experience interrogating criminal suspects or working in intelligence.

The CIA, which says the Senate’s report is “flawed,” was found to have “improperly accessed” and monitored computers being used by Senate staffers during the researching of the document.

The Obama administration is not expected to prosecute any CIA employees or former employees for torturing or encouraging the torture of terrorism suspects.