Still Secret Report Accuses CIA of Fighting White House, Congress and its own Inspector General to Hide Torture Details

Monday, April 14, 2014
George Tenet, director of the CIA 1996-2004

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) misled the George W. Bush Administration and Congress about its use of so-called harsh interrogation techniques, or torture, according to the findings of a still-secret report that have been leaked.


The report, which was prepared by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, shows that the CIA mischaracterized the efficacy of the interrogation techniques they used and it impeded White House and Congressional oversight of the interrogation program. The agency also understated the number of prisoners it had interrogated, putting the number at about 30.


The CIA’s claim “is BS,” a former U.S. official familiar with evidence underpinning the report, who asked not to be identified because the matter is still classified, told McClatchy. “They are trying to minimize the damage. They are trying to say it was a very targeted program, but that’s not the case.”


Other findings of the report are:

  • The CIA impeded oversight by the agency’s inspector general.
  • The CIA manipulated the media by leaking misleading details about the interrogation techniques.
  • The CIA subjected prisoners to interrogation techniques not approved by the Justice Department or CIA headquarters.
  • The CIA’s use of torture techniques was “brutal” and far worse than the agency told policymakers.


The report found that because the agency gave incorrect information to the Justice Department, the analysis that the interrogation techniques were legal was flawed.


“This just reinforces the view that everyone who has said the torture program was legal has been selling a bill of goods and it’s time to revisit the entire conventional wisdom being pushed by those who support enhanced interrogation that this program was safe, humane and lawful,” Raha Wala, a lawyer with Human Rights First’s Law and Public Safety Program, told McClatchy.


The interrogation techniques used included waterboarding, which produces a sensation of drowning, stress positions, sleep deprivation for up to 11 days at a time, confinement in a cramped box, slaps and slamming detainees into walls, according to McClatchy. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said to be the architect of the 9/11 attacks, was waterboarded 183 times.


Last month, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein blasted the CIA for monitoring computers used by committee staffers in the preparation of the report. In response, the agency has asked the Justice Department to investigate Senate staffers for unauthorized removal of classified documents from the facility designated by the CIA.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

CIA’s Use Of Harsh Interrogation Went Beyond Legal Authority, Senate Report Says (by  Ali Watkins, Jonathan S. Landay and Marisa Taylor, McClatchy)

CIA And White House Under Pressure After Senate Torture Report Leaks (by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian)

CIA Spied on Senate Committee Investigating CIA (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Why is Obama Hiding 6,000-Page Report on Bush-Era Torture and Why is Torture Still Allowed? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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