Report Hits Hard at CIA's 'Brutal,' Ineffective Torture

Senate report says spy agency actively misled White House, Congress
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 11:29 AM CST
Report Hits Hard at CIA's 'Brutal,' Ineffective Torture
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is pursued by reporters on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Senate Intelligence Committee has dropped its long-awaited report on the CIA's use of torture, and it pulls no punches in its 528 pages, detailing a "brutal and far worse than the CIA represented" program that ultimately was "not an effective means of acquiring intelligence," reports the Washington Post. The report unveils tactics such as "rectal hydration" that were designed to gain "total control over the detainee," notes the New York Times, as well as waterboarding that was really a "series of near drownings." Some key details:

  • The CIA lied: The agency "provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media, and the American public," as per NPR. The Post notes that one memo ordered the program be hidden from Colin Powell, because he would "blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s going on."

  • The brutality: Detainees were subjected to "slaps and 'wallings' (slamming detainees against a wall) ... frequently concurrent with sleep deprivation" for up to 180 hours, nudity, and ice baths. One interrogator told a detainee he could never go to court because "we can never let the world know what I have done to you." Detainees exhibited "hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation."
  • The fallout: The program "damaged the United States' standing in the world," "created tensions with US partners and allies," and cost America its "longstanding global leadership on human rights in general and torture in particular," the report says.
  • The CIA's response: In a statement, Director John Brennan admits the program "had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes," but contends that it "did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives."
  • President Obama's response: He hopes we can now leave the tactics "where they belong—in the past," he says, per the AP. They "were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests."
The Washington Post highlights 20 key findings. (More CIA stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.