7 Key Points From the C.I.A. Torture Report
- The C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed.
The report recently released by the Senate Intelligence Committee shows that waterboarding was used extensively on the detainees, and despite the CIA’s claim in the past to have only used waterboarding on three detainees the new report shows that claim to be false. The detainees were also subject to sleep deprivation, at times being kept awake for 180 hours, rectal feeding and death threats to innocent family members.
In addition to all this the conditions in the prison in which the detainees were being held was described as a “dungeon.” Conditions in the “dungeon” were so horrid that it led to the death of a detainee, and the cruel techniques that the detainees were forced to endure lead to "psychological and behavioral issues, which included: hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation."
- The C.I.A. interrogation program was mismanaged and was not subject to adequate oversight.
The report cites many cases of dissatisfaction among intelligence officers about the adequacy and training of interrogators. At times many interrogators would be found to have violated the policies in place by the agency, but were “rarely held accountable.” It is reported that the architects of the interrogations had never carried out an actual interrogation.
The report shows the C.I.A. denied the United States Congress oversight over the program, resisted access to information, declined to answer questions about the program and on a regular basis provided the United States Congress and the American public with false information.
- The C.I.A. misled members of Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and extent of its brutal interrogation techniques.
While the C.I.A. has attempted to persuade Congress, the White House and the American public that it’s torturous program which it enacted provided the C.I.A. with intelligence which it used to dismantle terrorist attacks, the report proves that in many occasions the C.I.A. provided false information in which it exaggerated the programs effectiveness.
In other words the C.I.A. has attempted to portray that through the torture of it’s detainees they were able to conduct counterterrorism work, which saved the lives of thousands. However, the C.I.A. has been unable to provide evidence of it’s effectiveness which is proven by it’s need to lie about the success of the program.
The image below shows Michael Hayden the former Director of the CIA giving a statement in 2007 to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in which he attempts to prove the point that interrogators had to use torturous techniques on Abu Zubaydah because of his lack of cooperation with the interrogators. However, C.I.A. records prove that Abu Zabaydah was in fact cooperating with interrogators, providing information on Al-Qaeda’s activities, leadership and training. Despite his cooperations the interrogators decided to put him in isolation for 47 days while the interrogation team traveled, and during future interrogations was waterboarded among other torturous techniques.
- Interrogators in the field who tried to stop the brutal techniques were repeatedly overruled by senior C.I.A. officials.
Some C.I.A. personnel on various occasions reported on being “disturbed” by waterboarding and concerned over it’s legality. However, their reports were overruled by senior C.I.A. officials stating that the “guidelines for this activity” had been “vetted at the most senior levels of the agency.”
- The C.I.A. repeatedly underreported the number of people it detained and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques under the program.
The report proves that the C.I.A. never provided anyone with an accurate count of those it had detained or those who were subject to torturous interrogation techniques. In fact C.I.A. director Michael Hayden instructed C.I.A. officials to keep the number of detainees at 98. Following orders the agency stated that it detained “fewer than 100 individuals,” but reports show that it held 119.
- At least 26 detainees were wrongfully held and did not meet the government’s standard for detention.
The report finds that out of the 119 detainees at least 26 were wrongfully held. Out of these 26 detainees one was “intellectually challenged” who was used as “leverage” to obtain information from a family member. Agency records were often incomplete and in some cases lacked sufficient information to keep the detainee in custody.
It can be concluded that if the C.I.A. cannot provide evidence as to why a person should be in custody the logical response would be to free the individual, after all by allowing a detainee to remain in custody while his guilt is still in question, and while he is being detained without evidence of his guilt is being tortured is beyond any logic and humane behavior.
- The C.I.A. leaked classified information to journalists, exaggerating the success of interrogation methods in an effort to gain public support.
The report found that the C.I.A. provided classified information to journalists but that the agency did not push to prosecute or investigate many of the leaks. C.I.A. officials asked officers to “compile information on the success” of the program to be shared with the news in order to shape public opinion. However, the information provided to the news in most occasions were filled with false or incomplete information. This information was designed to persuade the American public to support the use of torture on C.I.A. detainees, an overwhelming number of whom have not been found guilty of committing any crime.