Torture

Senate Torture Report, Full Text and First Thoughts: Terrible for CIA, USA

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The "Senate Torture Report"—officially known as The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's "Study ofthe Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program"—is finally out after years of delay.

Over 500 pages long, it covers CIA actions toward prisoners in the war on terror from 2001 through about 2009 and it is, at first blush, a truly devastating document on every possible level. Not only did the CIA systematically and routinely lie to the executive branch, charges the report, it did the same with the legislative branch at essentially every opportunity. From the executive summary:

Much of the information the CIA provided to the media on the operation of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program and the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques was inaccurate and was similar to the inaccurate information provided by the CIA to the Congress, the Department of Justice, and the White House.

Lying to the media is the least of the problems the report lays bare. To make matters even worse (and really, it's hard to know when we've reached bottom with this one), the report notes that the CIA failed to consult either with its own experts or outside ones on the efficacy of torture:

The CIA did not review its past experience with coercive interrogations, or its previous statementto Congress that "inhumane physical or psychological techniques are counterproductive becausethey do notproduce intelligence and will probably result in false answers." The CIA also didnot contact other elements of the U.S. Government with interrogation expertise.

And then there's this. Between 2002 and 2009, says the report,

…the CIA made a series of representations to officials at the White House, the Departmentof Justice, and the Congress, asserting that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques were uniquely effective and necessary to produce otherwise unavailable intelligence that the U.S. government could not obtain from other sources.

That need was the moral warrant used to coax reluctant legislators and others to go along: Whatever you think of torture, it works and we're in a war for our very existence, don't you understand! A redacted 2003 email in the report spells out the way the CIA talked about its needs:

"Simply put, detainee information has saved countless American lives inside the US and abroad. We believe there is no doubt al-Qa'ida would have succeeded in launching additional attacks in the US and that the information obtained from these detainees through the use of enhanced measures was key to unlocking this information. It is our assessment that if CIA loses the ability to interrogate and use enhanced measures in a responsible way, we will not be able to effectively prosecute this war."

Yet in surveying 119 cases of prisoners held at various places and looking at the "Eight Most Frequently Cited Examples of Plots 'Thwarted' and Terrorists Captures Provided by the CIA as Evidence for the Effectiveness of the CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," a very different reality emerges: "The Committee found the CIA's representations to be inaccurate and unsupported by CIA records."

Among the "thwarted" plots were Jose Padilla's "dirty bomb" operation, the Karachi plots, and the captures of Iyman Farris and Hambali, among others.

Dick Cheney, who acknowledged he hadn't read the report, has already written it off as "a bunch of hooey," a banal epithet to characterize what reads like something approaching moral monstrosity.

Whether the report sparks violence in the Middle East and beyond—I'm betting that our actual foreign policy over even just the past few years is the likelier culprit—it is a terrible but necessary examination of what the United States has allowed to happen under the name of making the world safe from terrorism.

Most accounts have the Senate Republicans dissenting from the report's conclusions. By all means, bring on the debate over what actually was going on in an agency that has never been particularly respectful of either the Constitution or respect for any limitations placed upon it. We may well learn things that shed new light on some of the report's darkest passages.

But until that happens, it seems as if the Senate report is one more reason to deeply, deeply question the government when it tells you that it is being straight even with itself and asks that your surrender any aspect of your freedom or skepticism in the name of safety.

Read the full report here:

Senate Torture Report by NickGillespie

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106 responses to “Senate Torture Report, Full Text and First Thoughts: Terrible for CIA, USA

  1. Rush just mentioned that this is just a way to “BLAME BOOSHHHHH!” while diverting attention from the Gruber show.

    I think he’s right about that. I also think that anyone that’s surprised at this point is functionally retarded.

    1. At the same time, has there been any point in recent memory where the administration *didn’t* have something going on that they needed a distraction for?

      1. Not in my memory going back to Reagan.

      2. “has there been any point in recent memory where the administration *didn’t* have something going on that they needed a distraction for?”

        I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that “Slave”.

        Also, reports of a ‘raucous barbecue‘ at the White House are exaggerated. some redecorating may be required.

    2. Right, no one should be surprised that they lied about everything. It’s still very convenient to have everything related to torture summarized in one file.

    3. “Rush just mentioned…”

      Retard alert!

      1. Yup, listening to people makes you retarded.

        Full sarcasm intended.

        1. Yup, listening to Rush makes you retarded.

          FTFY

          1. Wow, you do realize the irony of you declaring that, right?

            You’re worse than Rush & Obama, combined.

          2. I bet you equate “listening” to “agree with,” which would still make you the retard in this exchange.

          3. Listening to “insert one of hundreds of retarded liberal talking heads” makes you retarded.

          4. I mean, I stopped listening to them in the ’90s, but Moving Pictures really was good and they had a few solid releases after that.

        2. Listening to People, no. Listening to Rush Limbaugh yes.

          1. ^Rasilio gets it.

          2. I maintain that I can listen to what anyone has to say, regardless of how much of it I disagree with.

            I also find anyone that doesn’t hold this philosophy a fool for not learning from the pitfalls others are so very willing to discover for you.

          3. In his defense At least he’s the most entertaining and interesting of the talk show radio crowd.

          4. I can’t stand it unless someone else is guest hosting it. And only if its Walter Williams or Mark Steyn.

            1. Basically, what I’m saying is Steyn needs his own radio show, with a Williams and Sowell Power Hour.

    4. I didn’t know rush read my comments?!

    5. ‘Years of delay’ to conveniently arrive just after the unforceseen Gruber-gate that just happened. Too neat, don’t buy it. I invoke Hanlon

      1. I invoke my +7 rancor
        /that’s right. I mixed Star Wars and D&D for an uber-nerd comment.

        1. You’re flirting with dangerous forces, Florida Man. The last time someone mixed references so wantonly the Star Wars Holiday Special appeared out of the void.

          Will you be able to live with yourself knowing what you’ve unleashed on the world?

          1. I heard Lucas officially denied that ever happened until a Laser disc copy was found. Could be an urban legend.

            1. I’ve heard similar stories. A friend of mine spent years trying to track down a copy, watched it, was horrified, and refuses to speak of the experience besides saying “it was awful, just so awful.”

    6. He must read my comments.

      See Shreeeeeek. We don’t follow the fat man, he follows us!

    7. He may be right about that. But he is trying to use it to diminish the impact oft he torture report, simply recycling his opponents techniques.

  2. OT: In case you weren’t sure how many guns you had just laying around the house. Help is here.

    http://hotair.com/archives/201…..-for-guns/

    1. You can call up the local police at the invitation of the chief and ask for them to come conduct a search of your house for weapons.

      I wonder what could -possibly- go wrong.

      1. They’ll even shoot your dogs for free while they’re at it.

        1. Sadly, I clicked the link just because I wasn’t sure how many guns I had around the house.

  3. Released right before all the college freshmen go home for the holidays! This is going to live up many Christmas dinners.

  4. They hate us for our freedoms.

    1. So by now they should love us.

      1. If “Freedom means nothing left to lose,” aren’t we actually going to be free pretty soon?

      2. That’s my thought too… Shouldn’t they be taking a step back right now and saying “shit… They’re just like us!”

    2. Yes they do and have said so many times.

  5. You can call up the local police at the invitation of the chief and ask for them to come conduct a search of your house for weapons.

    What the fucking fuck? Will they inventory your kitchen cutlery and cleaning supplies, too? What about power tools, and lawn care equipment?

    Dumber

    and

    dumber

    and

    dumber

    and

    dumber.

  6. Speaking of the arsenal, I picked up a couple of boxes of 9mm, yesterday.

    Just because.

    1. GODDAMNIT BROOKS, IT’S THE HAVES LIKE YOU KEEPING THE HAVE NOTS DOWN!

    2. Good man.

      I just found that Dick’s had three-packs of 9mm for some good price – picked up three sets.

      BAM! There’s another 750 rounds, just cuz.

      #GodBlessMurca

      1. 9mm….?

        Shouldn’t you be over at mylittlepony.com?

  7. …and nothing else happened.

    I know nobody will be tried/convicted over this, I know nobody will even lose their job over this, but can we at least get George Tenet’s Medal of Freedom back?

    1. I know nobody will be tried/convicted over this, I know nobody will even lose their job over this, but can we at least get George Tenet’s Medal of Freedom back?

      No. Because the negative political fallout of *any* censure is on the same order of magnitude as that would come out of a criminal prosecution.

      1. Admitting you were wrong might give people the impression that it’s possible for you to be wrong again in the future.

  8. Not in my name, damn it, not in my name!

  9. Bears repeating that there is nothing inherently wrong with torture. It is just a tool.

    1. It’s a tool for recruitment into various anti-American, including terrorist, organizations.

      When CIA tortures, it provides propaganda posters and martyrs for ISIS and AQ.

      1. Unsubstantiated bullshit.

        1. You don’t believe people get pissed when some foreigner kidnaps their neighbors and attaches their balls to the car battery?

          1. No, he doesn’t.

          2. Have you met my neighbors? Where can I sign up for this.

            1. Just contact the Beloit Chief of Police and have them do a full sweep of your neighbors house to search for guns. Leave some ammo in their house and the gun grabbers will be shocking their balls the very same day trying to get them to tell them where the guns are.

        2. I’d say the outrage after Abu Ghraib points to torture as a possible recruiting point for extremist organizations. You don’t think Americans wouldn’t be outraged watching the waterboarding and “enhanced interrogation” of Americans online? Wouldn’t it be reasonable that some of them might join the military to be a part of the fight against such actions? If you don’t think this is an unlikely scenario, what makes those in the Middle East different? When reports surface of us acting in a barbaric manner, it just provides those who wish to harm us with another level to try to win converts to their cause.

          Also, there’s a big difference between killing an armed enemy on a battlefield and beating a helpless prisoner. “Torture is just a tool” is bullshit. That’s kind of like saying that the types of human experimentation engaged in by the Nazis and Japanese in World War II, or by the United States in Tuskegee, is a tool to improve medicine. And yes, I just went Godwin, but it’s justified here because the behavior really isn’t any different. There will always be convenient excuses for slipping into barbaric behavior (Biggest threat of our lifetime! Terrorists in our cities! Communist infiltrators!), and we should be ashamed when we listen to them.

          1. Exactly right. Good luck getting a response out of CT, though. He’s too busy prancing around and talking about how much he’s dominating these threads.

          2. Good points.

            Also – I’m aware of many individuals who wanted/demanded the U.S. go to war against ISIS/the self-proclaimed Islamic State because of the videos depicting that organization beheading U.S. citizens, and these are some of the same individuals who vehemently deny the CIA’s torture program could ever possibly motivate individuals to attack us.

            I think your last point is well worth remembering.

            Regards,

            Charles

            1. My comments were in response to Contrarian P.

          3. You don’t think Americans wouldn’t be outraged watching the waterboarding and “enhanced interrogation” of Americans online?

            Look how many people took a ‘kill ’em all’ stand after ISIS beheaded a couple of journalists.

          4. If it’s actually torture. Congress passed a law defining torture, and water boarding doesn’t fall under it, but that doesn’t stop any on the left or the low information crowd from claiming, that in their opinion, water boarding is torture. Thing is, where the law is concerned, their opinion doesn’t mean anything (other than maybe the law could be changed.)

            That’s like when I was arguing with a guy about Trayvon Martin, who kept telling me that George Zimmerman should be found guilty based on this guy’s definition of self defense. I couldn’t convince him, that in a Florida court room, his opinion was meaningless.

    2. Cytotoxic|12.9.14 @ 1:11PM|#
      “Bears repeating that there is nothing inherently wrong with torture”

      You’re certainly welcome to your opinion, but it’s not shared by me.

    3. Fuck, bears are into torture? No wonder the homosexual agenda has been advancing so quickly. Who can endure being tortured by a large hairy gay guy?

  10. The shitstorm on Tweeterz is delicious.

    For the 1500-ish I follow, it seems about evenly split between “CIA MOTHERFUCKERS!”, “PUSSIES SUPPORT TERRORISTS!” and “Look, another cute puppeh!! SQUEEEEEE!!”.

    1. There are two things that matter here. One is that the CIA is employing forms of torture, with the effectiveness of that torture being questioned in this report. So you have moral and utilitarian arguments to be made, whatever the worthiness of those arguments.

      The other thing is the process. The CIA does not have the authority to withhold or misrepresent these things to the rest of the administration or to Congress, nor is there a rational argument that really can work in our system that says that we don’t have a voice (either directly or through Congress) in deciding a major policy question like “Is torture okay?”

      1. “YOU DROPPED US INTO A MEAT GRINDER”

      2. The CIA has always been rogue.

        It was originally intended to be a central clearinghouse of intelligence information, ie. the President’s newspaper.

        Unfortunately, it was originally staffed with the weirdos who had gravitated to OSS during WW-II, who wanted to continue the sabotage, assasinations and disruptions they got to do in WW-II.

        And those guys basically had carte-blanche and little oversight to create this weird self-perpetuating bureaucracy that effectively operates with no oversight. I think the last guys to try reining them in was Nixon – and IIRC there are hints that the whole Watergate fiasco was essentially the product of the CIA setting up Nixon to look like a stupid maniac (which is easy when your target is, in fact, a maniac 😉 ).

      3. I agree completely, ProL. However, with a 140 char limit, Tweeter’s mostly reduced to “FAAAAAAAAAAAAGS!!!11” from those who “support” using torture, and “MONSTERZZZZZZZZZZZ!!11” from those who don’t.

        And “OMFG, look at this Slow Loris!!! #TotesAdorbs” from those who don’t give a shit what their overlords are doing.

        And – personally, FWIW, I’m more concerned about the latter issue you note – the Utilitarian argument I can see both sides.

        The “we’re a secret fucking army doing what has to be done, and only some people can know” – uh, fuck NO, CIA. Fuck. NO. Stop.

        1. Yeah, to that last point, I don’t agree. What does rule of law mean when these national security agencies can do whatever the fuck they want to do? If torture is so groovy, then let’s enact laws that allow and regulate it. Or maybe it’s not so groovy?

        2. You know mentioning slow lorises on the internet without linking a picture is a punishable offense, no?

          I wonder how much of ‘the CIA is essentially a self-governing, rogue agency’ bit will be lost as everyone argues over the relative merits of waterboarding, and the objective cuteness of lorises.

          1. God bless you, jesse 🙂

          2. Well, count me on the lorises are cute camp. As well as the we shouldn’t torture camp.

            1. But, but, you’re a GOP shill, you must support the bushitler torture.
              / you know who

  11. It should be noted that the report explicitly states that Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.

    1. did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.

      Which ones?

      1. That’s classified

        1. Is the rule making it classified also classified?

          1. Catch 22 The reference that keeps on referencing…

            1. That’s some catch you have there.

  12. “Not only did the CIA systematically and routinely lie to the executive branch, charges the report…”

    The Executive being the “Tells Truth All the Time”-Branch, for the record.

    1. I expect a full fashion report from you re: the Gruber hearings, GILMORE.

      Everyone who’s anyone wants to know what you think!

      1. Unlike most interns, I don’t do politicians

        1. Ohhhhh SNAP!

    2. So, the Executive branch is a bunch of SJW rape victims?

      1. Its a Frathouse where they rape the truth until it apologizes for existing

  13. deciding a major policy question like “Is torture okay?”

    Well, hell. I thought that one had already been decided long ago in the negative. But if we’re going to argue over major policy questions like “how much can the government infringe your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” and therefore admit that “Congress shall make no law” really means “Congress can make a law if it needs to or wants to or just accidentally does”, I suppose we can argue over whether the supreme executive can do whatever the hell he feels like and you have no right to question it.

  14. I just wish the pro-torture people showed a little more honesty. Yeah, silly of me, I know.

    As I see it, pro-torture folks really don’t give a damn about whether torture produces useful intelligence. Their true motivation is to make the folks behind 9/11 undergo maximum suffering. They just can’t say so, because that rationale wouldn’t wash in court. Thus, they have to mouth ridiculous platitudes about the benefits of torture, no matter how foolish it makes them look.

    All the same, I still wish they could be honest about their reasoning. Yes, it’s inexcusable, but at least it’s understandable. I get where they’re coming from.

    1. As I see it, pro-torture folks really don’t give a damn about whether torture produces useful intelligence. Their true motivation is to make the folks behind 9/11 undergo maximum suffering.

      I see it that way too.

    2. Enh, I figure just as many people think that torturing them provides useful intelligence to prevent attacks as there are people that believe that banning guns would end gun violence.

    3. As I see it, pro-torture folks really don’t give a damn about whether torture produces useful intelligence. Their true motivation is to make the folks behind 9/11 undergo maximum suffering.

      If I was dumb enough to believe that torture doesn’t work and the case is so airtight that nobody can honestly disagree, then I’d buy that.

  15. The important thing is that all the torture and malfeasance ended in January, 2009.

    1. Now we just blow people up from the sky and murder their families along with them and destroy any possible evidence or possibility for intelligence gathering and WOW do we totally get so much more credit from former adversaries now for our More Moral Behavior and our cessation of practices that will now be outsourced to nations that don’t give a shit about transparency

      1. Please. If we did any of that, I’m sure I’d have heard about it from a reputable news source.

    2. ^ This. That is the same day the oceans began to recede.

      1. And the temperature began to drop!

    1. In reply to Counterfly

  16. If people knew how to read Government reports, they would understand this document has less to do with the CIA and everything to do with people in the Senate washing their hands of their own complicity. Because after any bender, the drunks will always find Jesus and denounce their former bartenders as the tools of Satan.

    Its about as likely to change anything as the Benghazi Report, which was far closer to actual “torture” (of the english language) than most of the ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques applied to the small group of terrorists we held (and in some cases, subsequently released).

    I’m not “pro torture”. I adhere to the Economist’s general view on the subject. We are signatories to the international convention condemning it. I believe we probably gain more from its prohibition than its use.

    That said, i’m not much impressed by moralist handwringing and tut-tutting while we maintain a fleet of Drone Mossad Agents on permanent dispatch. The pearl-clutching over a dozen people getting waterboarded is lame.

    1. *correction =

      3 people (acknowledged in the report) were waterboarded. Which i’d assume actually means ’12-15′, because i generally assume a factor of 400-500% bullshit in government work

    2. GILMORE,

      We can be against the CIA’s/Bush Administration’s torture program and the Obama Administration’s continued use of drones simultaneously.

      Or did I misunderstand you?

      1. I don’t recall the issue being one of “pro vs. con” but rather putting into perspective the relative outrageousness of “putting Abu Zubaydah in a box” versus “Blowing up American Citizens and their Kids Because The President Says So”

      2. Also=

        I’ve frequently seen the below-trope used…

        “Or did I misunderstand you?”

        … as a kind of ‘exculpatory caveat’ for people blatantly and egregiously attempting to re-state someone else’s argument in the most reductio-ad-absurdum manner possible.

        Millenials seem particularly fond of it.

        e.g. ‘Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man Straw Man’….Or do I misunderstand you?

        It was most-recently employed to humorous degree in Noah Berlatsky’s piece about the Shameful Treatment of Digital Prostitutes in Video Games.

        Suggesting that “digital stick figures dressed to represent caricatures of ‘whores’ that you accidentally run-over during your horribly violent virtual-Bank Robbery escape” are probably NOT THE SAME as actual abuse of real-live sex workers…. would result in,

        “SO YOU ARE SUGGESTING THAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS EVER ALRIGHT? OR DO I MISUNDERSTAND YOU?”

      3. Another point which i’m just going to throw out there as something to consider =

        People should be very careful about the debate whether ‘torture is effective’ or not.

        Often i see people arguing that the ‘enhanced interrogations’ techniques were morally wrong AND they don’t actually work.

        It suggests that they themselves find their own case on the the absolute morality of the issue to be insufficient on its own.

        It raises questions about what their argument would/should be when horribly-immoral things ARE demonstrated to be effective.

        Which is key to the point about ‘drones’.

        We countenance targeted murder of “suspects” in far greater number than we do ‘making evil murderers uncomfortable’. And we do so largely on arguments of Expediency and ‘reduction of risk’.

        There is a direct correlation between the vast increase in targeted killing and the abolition of ‘enhanced interrogation’. because ‘catching’ suspects became pointless and problem-ridden.

        At which point you have to really start to ask, “what should the War on Terror really look like, and why”. It amounts to a rehashed discussion of “did the atomic bomb save lives”?

  17. Much of the information the CIA provided to the media on the operation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program and the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques was inaccurate and was similar to the inaccurate information provided by the CIA to the Congress, the Department of Justice, and the White House.

    James Hacker: Well, obviously. It was the one question today to which I could give a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer.

    Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes. Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.

    James Hacker: Epistemological? What are you talking about?

    Sir Humphrey Appleby: You told a lie.

    1. Nice, Stormy Dragon.

  18. As soon as you define “we”, then you have an argument.

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