– “We Tortured Some Folks”: CIA Lied To Congress, Senate Torture Report Reveals (ZeroHedge, Dec 9, 2014):
In what we are confident everyone will find to be absolutely shocking news, moments ago the Senate Torture report was released. The key finding, hold on to your hats, is that the CIA “misled” Congress. As for the timing of the release, which takes place at the same time as Jonathan Gruber (Ph.D) is being grilled in the House, it is hardly a coincidence that Obama does everything in his power to deflect attention to what took place under the Bush administration, commenting that “torture techniques did significant damage to America’s standing” in the world. So what did the droning of thousands of innocent civilians do to the same “standing”?
The drilldown from Bloomberg:
- CIA provided inaccurate information about effectiveness and scope of interrogations of suspected terrorists, and mismanaged a program that was far more brutal than represented, according to 6-year investigation by Democrats on Senate Intelligence Cmte.
- Interrogation techniques weren’t effective, didn’t produce key information that led to killing of Osama bin Laden and were significantly different from procedures authorized by Justice Dept, report says
- CIA provided inaccurate information to White House, Congress, DOJ, CIA Inspector General, media and the public
- “This document examines the CIA’s secret overseas detention of at least 119 individuals and the use of coercive interrogation techniques – in some cases amounting to torture,” Senate Intelligence Cmte Chairman Dianne Feinstein says in statement
- Agency lost track of 119 detainees and at least 26 didn’t meet standards for being held, according to executive summary of 6,000-page report
- In fall of 2002, detainee died of hypothermia while shackled to concrete floor; another detainee was held for 17 days in the dark without anybody knowing he was there
- Interrogation of terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded at least 83 times, was more brutal than previously known; at one point, he was put in a 1 1/2 meter box and knocked unconscious during waterboarding session, while water and bubbles poured from his mouth
- Other detainees with broken legs and feet were inappropriately forced to sit in stress positions
- No evidence CIA briefed former President George W. Bush about harsh interrogations, though former Vice President Dick Cheney attended meetings where tactics were discussed
- Report details actions taken on terrorism suspects during George W. Bush administration; Bush called report “way off base” in interview with CNN
- CIA Torture Report Set for Senate Release Over Bush Objections
- Full Senate Intelligence Cmte wasn’t briefed on techniques until September 2006
- While some members, including Feinstein and GOP Sen. John McCain, raised objections, CIA informed DOJ Office of Legal Counsel in a classified setting that no senators objected
Obama chimes in:
- The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects,” President Obama says in e-mailed statement on release of CIA torture report.
- Report “reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests”
- Says techniques did “significant damage to America’s standing” in the world
Odd: no comments by the Droner in Chief what droning thousands of innocent women and children around the world does to America’s “standing” in the world.
Some more from Bloomberg:
President George W. Bush was never briefed by the Central Intelligence Agency on the details of harsh interrogation techniques and secret detention of terror suspects for the first four years of the controversial program, and when he did find out the details, he was “uncomfortable” with some of the practices, according to the long-awaited report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The 500-page declassified executive summary of the majority staff’s 6,700-page investigation into CIA rendition, detention and interrogation practices after 9/11 states that despite agency efforts to keep the Bush administration informed about the program, top White House officials repeatedly resisted having the CIA brief cabinet-level figures about the details, and CIA officials were not permitted to brief Bush directly until mid-2006, more than four years after the president signed a broad executive order authorizing the program, according to Senate Democratic aides who briefed reporters ahead of Tuesday’s release.
When Bush finally heard the details of the harsh interrogation techniques that were used against CIA detainees, he was “uncomfortable” with some of them and expressed dismay that some detainees were required to remain in stress positions for long amounts of time, to the point that they had no choice but to soil themselves, the aides said.
The committee’s investigation will also state, based on CIA’s internal correspondence, that two intelligence directors, George Tenet and Porter Goss, admitted they never briefed Bush directly on the techniques, even though the CIA inspector general recommended they do so in 2004.
The White House also resisted CIA efforts to brief other cabinet officials in the beginning stages of the program, Senate Democratic aides said. The CIA acting general counsel at the time, John Rizzo, wrote in an internal agency e-mail that the White House had told the CIA not to brief cabinet officials in 2002 because they feared press leaks, but Rizzo said the White House’s clear implication was that if Secretary of State Colin Powell were aware of the details, “he would blow his stack.”
Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were briefed on the interrogation techniques sometime in 2003, the committee report states. Other top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, also eventually received briefings about the details of the program, but not the president himself. The committee report states the briefings that did occur were often misleading or incomplete.
In one instance, Cheney was not made aware of a specific country’s hosting of a CIA “black site,” which complicated his direct relations with that country, aides said. The names of countries that participated in the CIA program are not revealed in the declassified executive summary of the report.
“The CIA provided incomplete and inaccurate information to the White House regarding the operation and effectiveness of the detention and interrogation program,” a committee document on the report states. “In addition to inaccurate statements provided to other policymakers, there were instances in which specific questions from White House officials were not answered truthfully or completely.”
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Bush defended the CIA practices but didn’t mention he was kept out of the loop.
“Here’s what I’m going to say, that we’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots,” he said. “And whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”
Cheney told The New York Times this week that he was properly informed and the CIA program operated within the authority given by the Bush administration, a claim vigorously disputed by the committee’s report.
“What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation, and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” Cheney said. “I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program.”
In its response to the committee’s report, the CIA states that it is unknowable whether or not Bush was briefed on the details of the program prior to 2006 because CIA records are incomplete on the point. Rizzo, in his memoir “Company Man,” states that Bush probably wasn’t fully briefed on the details. The CIA points out that Bush claimed in his own memoir he was briefed on some details.
“The study asserts that the President was not briefed in a timely way on program details,” the CIA response states. “While the Agency records on the subject are admittedly incomplete, former President Bush has stated in his autobiography that he discussed the program, including its use of enhanced techniques, with then-DCIA Tenet in 2002, prior to the application of the techniques on Abu Zubaydah, and personally approved the techniques.” (Zubaydah is a Saudi citizen still held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.)
Regardless, according to the report, which outgoing committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein will speak about this morning on the Senate floor, the CIA not only went well beyond the techniques and practices authorized by the Bush White House and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the agency misrepresented the program to top officials and used false information to gain approval from the White House and Justice Department.
“The CIA provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media, and the American public,” a document provided to reporters by the committee states.
And so on. The full report can be found here
But before anyone gets too excited:
Innocent people were detained and tortured, including ones CIA knew were innocent https://t.co/IUx8YYoMra
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 9, 2014
… here is Mike Krieger with the best summary:
Obama’s Next Speech: “We tortured some folks.” “I’m calling for a DOJ investigation and a panel of experts to be formed.” #itsalltheater
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) December 9, 2014
Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.
“I’m talking of people being raped with broken bottles,” he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. “I’m talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I’m talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on.”