Key findings of a still-classified Senate Intelligence Committee investigative report reveal that the CIA lied to lawmakers, the media, and the U.S. public about widespread torture as it concealed the brutality of its interrogation methods and the number of people subjected to them.
This is according to a Thursday report from McClatchy News Service, which obtained 20 main conclusions (PDF) of the 6,300-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. These conclusions are entirely new to the public record.
As stated in the document listing the Senate report's key conclusions, obtained by McClatchy, these findings include:
- The CIA inaccurately characterized the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques to justify their use.
- The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques was brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.
- The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
Shane Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Common Dreams, "There’s been a lot written about the CIA misreporting the number of detainees in the program. That also isn’t entirely new: several years ago Human Rights Watch did a report on ghost detainees that indicated two thirds of the CIA detainees were released from US custody. The question really is what became of them."
According to the Senate report's conclusions, the CIA wove a web of lies and deception to cover its tracks, impeding oversight and investigations from the Department of Justice, White House, Congress, and even the CIA’s own Office of Inspector General. The findings state the agency employed unsound legal arguments to justify the abuse and also "ignored" numerous internal critiques and concerns and "manipulated the media."
According to the McClatchy story—reported by Ali Watkins, Jonathan S. Landay and Marisa Taylor—the senate panel's investigation
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The techniques 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. The CIA held detainees in secret “black site” prisons overseas and abducted others who it turned over to foreign governments for interrogation.
McClatchy's latest article follows a Washington Post exposé released last month, revealing that the classified report shows the CIA lied to the U.S. Congress, Justice Department, White House, and public for years about its brutal interrogation techniques by hiding the extent of abuse and falsely claiming the torture was necessary to save lives.
The Senate report remains classified more than a year after its completion, despite calls from around the world for the full investigation—which took four years and $40 million to complete—to be released.
Earlier this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to submit the executive summary and conclusions of the report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program to the White House for declassification.
Yet, the CIA is expected to play a major role in the declassification process, including redaction of information, despite allegations that the CIA spied on the Senate staffers while they were creating the report. Human rights groups charge that CIA involvement in the release of the report would be a conflict of interest.