The leaked release [PDF] of the conclusions from the long-researched and much-debated U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's still-unreleased 6,600-page report on the CIA's Bush-era secret detention and
enhanced interrogation torture program reveals illegalities by the agency that include lying to Congress (and potentially the White House), the leaking of classified material and the misleading of federal investigators at both the CIA Inspector General's office as well as the Dept. of Justice.
The conclusions allege that the conditions for imprisonment and the torture that often accompanied it were "brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers." But that's not all.
The report finds the CIA was incompetent in their handling of the program, endangered national security in the process, and appears to have committed international war crimes. There is also the small fact that the interrogation techniques used by the CIA failed to reveal any actual intelligence and, as the report concludes, "damaged the United States' global reputation, and came with heavy costs, both monetary and non-monetary."
Other than that, the program worked great!
It's little wonder then that the CIA has gone to such lengths --- including spying on and attempting to sabotage the work being done by the Senate committee itself since 2008 --- to try and cover it all up. It's also little wonder that one of the program's most ardent supporters, Dick Cheney, has been working so hard to lie about it all for so many years. If you were likely a war criminal, wouldn't you do the same thing?
What may be considered more of an outstanding question is why the Obama Administration decided that it was okay to not prosecute the perpetrators of the blatant and broad swath of U.S. and international crimes detailed in the report as having been allegedly carried out by the CIA, its agents, its contractors, and any number of other high-ranking federal officials who knew about some or all of it.
The Senate Intel Committee has voted to release about 500 pages of the report, though those pages must be first redacted and then released by the White House (which may have its own complicity in a number of the crimes detailed.) The Senators have argued that the release is necessary to avoid this country ever going down this path again. But, in truth, only actual prosecution will deter that eventuality. As long as those who committed such vile and abhorrent crimes are not actually held accountable, all of this will almost certainly be repeated in the future.
Furthermore, if we fail to prosecute, we will also have little ground to hold other rogue countries accountable for the same crimes in the future.
The report should be released in full, even if it must be leaked to the media, and the perpetrators of the crimes detailed within should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If the U.S. won't do that, other countries are obligated to try and do so themselves under treaties that both they and we are a party to.
The twenty bullet point findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report, as leaked to McClatchy, which released them on Friday, follow in full below...
- The CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques did not effectively assist the agency in acquiring intelligence or in gaining cooperation from detainees.
- The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program.
- The CIA subjected detainees to interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.
- 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.
- 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 conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.
- The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
- The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
- The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA's Office of Inspector General.
- Numerous internal critiques and objections concerning the CIA's management and use of the Detention and Interrogation were ignored.
- The CIA manipulated the media by coordinating the release of classified information, which inaccurately portrayed the effectiveness of the agency's enhanced interrogation techniques.
- The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
- The way in which the CIA operated and managed the program complicated, and in some cases hindered the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
- Management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout its duration, particularly so in 2002 and 2003.
- Two contract psychologists devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and were central figures in the program's operation. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
- The effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques was not sufficiently evaluated by the CIA.
- CIA personnel who were responsible for serious violations, inappropriate behavior, or management failures in the program's operation were seldom reprimanded or held accountable by the agency.
- The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program ended by 2006 due to legal and oversight concerns, unauthorized press disclosures and reduced cooperation from other nations.
- The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States' global reputation, and came with heavy costs, both monetary and non-monetary.