Report Likens Secret CIA Facility to 'Dungeon'

Site had buckets for waste and cold, isolated cells with shackled prisoners
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 4:53 PM CST
Report Likens Secret CIA Facility to 'Dungeon'
In this file photo, a worker slides a dustmop over the floor at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Reporters are picking through the details of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's use of torture, and the details aren't pretty. Some examples:

  • Dungeon: The Week highlights one passage comparing a CIA black site to a dungeon. "CIA detainees at the COBALT detention facility were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste. Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. The chief of interrogations described COBALT as a 'dungeon.' Another senior CIA officer stated COBALT was itself an enhanced interrogation technique."

  • Waterboard: The Daily Beast notes that the report "describes a photograph of a 'well worn' waterboard, surrounded by buckets of water, at a detention site where the CIA has claimed it never subjected a detainee to this procedure. In a meeting with the CIA in 2013, the agency was not able to explain the presence of this waterboard."
  • 'Tears and choking up': The Washington Post calls attention to a part about how CIA employees at a Thailand site were disturbed at the treatment of Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded as part of his interrogations. “Several on the team profoundly affected,” wrote an agency employee, “some to the point of tears and choking up.” Zubaydah was shot during his capture, and the CIA told personnel that his interrogations took precedence over his medical care.
  • Don't speak up: When CIA officers began questioning the treatment of Zubaydah, the New York Times notes that the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, wrote this: “Strongly urge that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, more precisely, judgment calls as to their legality vis-à-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic (email or cable traffic)." That kind of language "is not helpful."
  • 'Rectal hydration' might be the phrase getting the most attention in the report's release, notes Raw Story. At least five detainees got that or "rectal feeding," though no medical need was documented. "CIA medical officers discussed rectal rehydration as a means of behavior control," says the report.
(More CIA stories.)

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