US Torture After 9/11 'Indisputable': Nonpartisan Probe

Top officials to blame, says panel
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 16, 2013 10:05 AM CDT
In this photo reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, towers overlooking a US detention facility are silhouetted against a morning sunrise at Guantanamo Bay.   (AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool)

(Newser) – The news cycle might be focusing elsewhere, but a nonpartisan report out today offers a clear conclusion on US interrogation techniques following 9/11: "It is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture," the report says. What's more, the highest officials are to blame for the practices, it says, per the New York Times. In a move unprecedented in American history, President Bush and his administration held "considered and detailed discussions ... on the wisdom, propriety, and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody."

There's no "firm or persuasive evidence" that the torture—including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and throwing people into walls—resulted in useful intelligence that officials couldn't have otherwise learned, says the report, which is based on extensive interviews with officials and detainees. An appendix points to many cases in which the US prosecuted or condemned comparable techniques. But "as long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture," the report notes. The panel was led by a Republican and a Democrat, each of whom worked in the executive branch at some point. Click for the full article. (Read more torture stories.)

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