Panel Faults C.I.A. Over Brutality and Deceit in Interrogations
By MARK MAZZETTI DEC. 9, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday issued a sweeping indictment of the Central Intelligence Agency’s program to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks, drawing on millions of internal C.I.A. documents to illuminate practices that it said were more brutal — and far less effective — than the agency acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.
The long-delayed report delivers a withering judgment on one of the most controversial tactics of a twilight war waged over a dozen years. The Senate committee’s investigation, born of what its chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, said was a need to reckon with the excesses of this war, found that C.I.A. officials routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained, and failed to provide basic oversight of the secret prisons it established around the world.
In exhaustive detail, the report gives a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects. Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”
....The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.
The Senate report quotes a series of August 2002 cables from a C.I.A. facility in Thailand, where the agency’s first prisoner was held. Within days of the Justice Department’s approval to begin waterboarding the prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, the sessions became so extreme that some C.I.A. officers were “to the point of tears and choking up,” and several said they would elect to be transferred out of the facility if the brutal interrogations continued.
....The committee’s report concluded that of the 119 detainees, “at least 26 were wrongfully held.”
....The program expanded, with dozens of detainees taken to secret prisons in Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other countries. In September 2006, Mr. Bush ordered all of the detainees in C.I.A. custody to be transferred to the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and after that the C.I.A. held a small number of detainees in secret at a different facility for several months at a time, before they were also moved to Guantánamo Bay.
Taken in its entirety, the report is a portrait of a spy agency that was wholly unprepared for its new mission as jailers and interrogators, but that embraced its assignment with vigor. The report chronicles millions of dollars in secret payments between 2002 and 2004 from the C.I.A. to foreign officials, aimed at getting other governments to agree to host secret prisons.
More Than A Quarter Of The World's Countries Helped The CIA Run Its Torture Program 12/09/2014
....According to several U.S. officials involved with the negotiations, the intelligence community has long been concerned that the Senate document would enable readers to identify the many countries that aided the CIA's controversial torture program between 2002 and roughly 2006. These countries made the CIA program possible in two ways: by enabling rendition, which involved transferring U.S. detainees abroad without due legal process, and by providing facilities far beyond the reach of U.S. law where those detainees were subjected to torture.
Senate report finds CIA torture produced ‘fabricated’ intel and thwarted no plots
After waterboarding, 9/11 mastermind told interrogators what ‘he thought they wanted to hear’ By Michael Isikoff 12/9/14
After days of brutal interrogations, in which he was slammed against walls, slapped in the gut, and repeatedly waterboarded — “near drownings” that caused him to vomit — 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his CIA interrogators he was “ready to talk.”
The story he told in March 2003: He had sent an al-Qaida operative to Montana to recruit African-Americans for terrorist attacks inside the U.S. The alarming new claim sent FBI agents scrambling to find evidence of the plot, but they came up with nothing.
And for good reason: KSM later admitted he had fabricated the story — that because he was being subjected to such rough measures, he “simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear,” according to an internal agency cable quoted in the mammoth Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Tuesday by the panel’s chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The invented Montana plot is only one example of multiple wild-goose chases and other false leads that were produced by the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — what President Barack Obama himself has labeled “torture” — in the years after 9/11, according to the 489-page Senate report.
“The methods in question ... regularly resulted in fabricated information,” the report states in its key findings....
Many of the techniques laid out in the report have been publicly known for years — forced nudity, sleep deprivation, dietary and temperature manipulation, wall slamming and, of course, waterboarding, a practice dating back to the Spanish Inquisition in which subjects are strapped down and doused with water to simulate the experience of drowning....
A CIA prison in Afghanistan (known as the Salt Pit but referred to as COBALT in the report) was described in CIA cables as a “dungeon” where hooded prisoners were kept in complete darkness and shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music — and only a bucket to use for human waste. One of the detainees died from hypothermia after being left naked from the waist down....
The committee report examined 20 “case studies” in which agency officials had claimed they had thwarted plots or rounded up suspects based on aggressive interrogations. These assertions, the panel found, were “inaccurate and contradicted by the CIA’s own records.”....