Senate Intelligence Committee Report Shows That CIA Lied About Torture & Torture Did Not Work

The Senate Intelligence Committee released their report today, providing documentation that the CIA was both brutal and dishonest about their tactics, and that torture did not work. The New York Times listed these seven key points:

  • The C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed.
  • The C.I.A. interrogation program was mismanaged and was not subject to adequate oversight.
  • The C.I.A. misled members of Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and extent of its brutal interrogation techniques.
  • Interrogators in the field who tried to stop the brutal techniques were repeatedly overruled by senior C.I.A. officials.
  • The C.I.A. repeatedly underreported the number of people it detained and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques under the program.
  • At least 26 detainees were wrongfully held and did not meet the government’s standard for detention.
  • The C.I.A. leaked classified information to journalists, exaggerating the success of interrogation methods in an effort to gain public support.

The Washington Post indexed the report by twenty key findings. See the articles in The Washington Post and New York Times for more specifics on each point.

1 “not an effective means of acquiring intelligence”
2 “rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness”
3 “brutal and far worse than the CIA represented”
4 “conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher”
5 “repeatedly provided inaccurate information”
6 “actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight”
7 “impeded effective White House oversight”
8 “complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions”
9 “impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General”
10 “coordinated the release of classified information to the media”
11 “unprepared as it began operating”
12 “deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration”
13 “overwhelmingly outsourced operations”
14 “coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved”
15 “did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained”
16 “failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness”
17 “rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable”
18 “ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections”
19 “inherently unsustainable”
20 “damaged the United States’ standing in the world”

The Daily Beast lists The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report’

Right-leaning Politico reports: Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture–The Senate report confirms it doesn’t work. As those of us on the inside knew.

Needless to say, there is commentary throughout the blogosophere. Andrew Sullivan wrote:

The US did torture many many people with techniques devised by Nazis and Communists, sometimes in former KGB facilities. The CIA itself admits in its internal documents that none of it worked or gave us any actionable intelligence that wasn’t discovered through legal means. The torture techniques were not implemented by highly-trained professionals, but by goonish amateurs who concealed what they were doing and lied about it to superiors. All the techniques were and are clearly illegal under US and international law.


  1. 1
    David Duff says:

    Of course torture works – if it is applied in the right way and for the right reason.  If I approach you with a welding torch and some very specific questions you will – WILL! – definitely answer them, probably in under five minutes.
    And it’s funny how well that Khalid Sheik Mohammed looks these days despite having undergone, er, ‘torture’!  If I had tortured him he’d be in a wheelchair and pissing through a tube!

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    True, you could probably get any information you want from me. But I don’t think the same as those who are willing to give their lives for a cause in the manner those tortured were.

    The important point is that they did not obtain valid information from torture. Torture only is shown as effective you watch Jack Bauer on 24 or the talking heads on Fox “News”. Of course both are works of fiction.

  3. 3
    David Duff says:

    No, I say again, torture (of the right sort) works in 9 cases out of 10.  You just need to ask specific questions, some of whose answers you already know, whilst keeping the blow-torch alight and within reach!
    There are plenty of people, starting with, say, your own  Marine Corps who are prepared to give their lives for a cause.  But most of them don’t reckon on being BBQed alive inch by inch over several days!
    The Gestapo in northern Europe rolled up plenty of allied resistance rings and they didn’t do so by just asking nicely!  Virtually everything that has been described by this one-sided report describes treatments that our (and your) special forces go through on their selection courses – before they’re even allowed in the field!  The fact is that none those Senatorial ‘soppies’ have the remotest idea of physical hardship.  If, in fact, the interrogation methods did fail to produce results then it only confirms my belief that they did *not* use torture!

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    It is not as if this is the only study to find that torture doesn’t work.

  5. 5
    David Duff says:

    Hardly surprising because there hasn’t been any ‘torture’!

    And there’s something else you and your know-nothing Senators fail to understand.  It is not necessary to break *every* prisoner.  Given the *non-torture* applied it is not surprising that some resisted or simply spewed forth falsehoods.  Out of, say, 10 prisoners you probably only need, say, three to break – or, more likely, to be *tricked* into talking.  Just one will often do but it’s handy if you can get corroboration from one or two more.

    And it’s no use repeating your mantra that ‘torture doesn’t work’, just read any history of the resistance movements in France, Belgium and Holland during WWII.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    You misunderstand the history of torture. Historically it has been used to obtain false confessions, not accurate information. Nazis and others before them could use torture to get large lists of names. Some would be true members of the resistance, or whatever group is under investigation, and others would not be. The Nazis hardly cared if they killed a bunch of innocent people along with those they went after. Using torture to gain specific and accurate information about future terrorist plans is a different matter. It hasn’t worked.

    Sometimes prisoners can be tricked into talking. Conventional interrogation over time has historically provided more meaningful information than torture.

    “Torture doesn’t work” isn’t my mantra. It is something which has been discovered after considerable investigation and agreed upon by those who have studies the issue.

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