Scott Shackford on How Torture Became Just Another Government Bureaucracy


Abu Ghraib

The appendix that concludes the Senate Intelligence Committee's 499-page report on the CIA's "Detention and Interrogation Program" during the early years of the Iraq War is a full accounting of the many "incorrect" statements made by former National Security Agency and CIA Director Michael Hayden to a Senate Committee during a single hearing in 2007.  For 37 pages the report measures the difference between the things Hayden said to the Senate with the actual documentation from the CIA itself.

According to the CIA's own records, Hayden's claims are simply not true. As Scott Shackford notes from examining both the Senate's torture report and the CIA's official response, despite the eye-opening descriptions of the torture inflicted on CIA detainees, much of the actual debate is similar to debates we see about other government scandals—the perpetuation of the tools of bureaucracy, and the power and control that comes with it. The CIA will no more willingly surrender any tool or authority it has been given than any other government agency and it will grasp at all available arguments to protect its power.