Categorized | Crime, National

Torture is ‘Top Secret’

 

The Senate Report on CIA Interrogations You May Never See

 

by Cora Currier
ProPublica, Dec. 7

 

A Senate committee is close to putting the final stamp on a massive report on the CIA’s detention, inter-
rogation and rendition of terror suspects.  Senator Dianne
Feinstein,
D-Calif., who heads the Select Committee on
Intelligence,
called the roughly 6,000-page report “the most
definitive
review of this CIA program to be conducted.”

But it’s unclear how much, if any, of the review you might get to read.

The committee first needs to vote to endorse the report.  There will be a vote next week.

Republicans, who are a minority on the committee, have been boycotting the investigation since the summer of 2009.  They pulled back their cooperation after the Justice Department began a separate investigation into the CIA interrogations.  Republicans have criticized that inquiry, arguing that the interrogations had been authorized by
President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the
investigation was being closed without bringing any criminal charges.

Even if the report is approved next week, it won’t be made public then, if at all.  Decisions on declassification will come at “a later time,” Feinstein said.

According to Reuters, the Senate report focuses on whether so-called “enhanced interrogation” tactics– including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other techniques– actually led to critical intelligence breakthroughs.  Reuters reported earlier this year that the
investigation “was expected to find little evidence” the
torture was in fact crucial.

Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and others have repeatedly said that such tactics produced important information.  They’ve also said waterboarding was used on only a handful of high-level detainees, a claim which recently came into question.

Feinstein has previously disputed claims that such interrogations led to Osama Bin Laden.  It is also still unclear what key members of Congress knew about the
program, and when they knew it.

Much about the CIA’s program to detain and interrogate terror suspects has remained officially secret, despite widespread reporting and acknowledgement by Bush.  Obama banned torture upon taking office and released documents related to program, including a critical report from the CIA’s Inspector General.

But the Obama administration has argued in courts that details about the CIA program are still classified.  As we have reported, this has led the administration to claim in some cases that Guantanamo detainees’ own accounts of their imprisonment are classified.

* * * * * * * * *

Some call it ‘enhanced interrogation.’  We see it as torture, plain and simple.

We’re also fully aware of the five findings the CIA Inspector General (IG) made of his own agency in his 2009 report as reported by Time magazine:

    • The CIA IG concluded that the public had been misled about the interrogation program.  While the report stops short of accusing any public official of lying, it makes clear that the public statements that the U.S. Government made about its conduct differed from what was actually happening, creating a liability for the CIA if the information ever got out.
    • The CIA IG found that the CIA used waterboarding in a way that had not been approved by the Justice Department, calling into question the legality of the technique.
    • The CIA IG repeatedly brought what it viewed as abuses or violations of law to the attention of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department, without any positive result.
    • The CIA IG concluded that while high-value detainees did produce valuable intelligence, the measurement of the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques “is a more subjective process and not without some concern.”
    • The initial harsh interrogation program, begun in 2002, was poorly managed, some interrogators were poorly trained and informed, and they used techniques that were substantially harsher than what had been approved by the White House and the Justice Department.

Laura Pitter, a counter-terrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch, welcomed the Senate investigation being concluded.

“We hope it will ultimately shed some light on what has been one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history and finally set the record straight on how ineffective the use of torture actually was in obtaining useful and accurate intelligence,” she said.

Well, Laura, don’t hold your breath.  We don’t expect too much light to be shed on this ‘dark chapter.’

In fact, we expect it will be locked away in the archives, kept from public view, and treated as if it never happened

Torture is an embarassingly dirty little secret that administration officials,
the CIA, Attorney General, Congressional Republicans and
neocons will ensure never sees the light of day.

 

(Images by the Humboldt Sentinel.  Posted by Skippy Massey)

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